Some Stats That May (or may not) Impress You

October 26, 2018

Every now and then I have to think that my Stats degree was useful for something. Below is a list of some interesting fundraising statistics (some are anecdotal and others are data-driven):

  1. The size of the donation is inversely proportional to the amount of work needed to keep that donation. How many of us have had to jump through umpteen (yes, that’s a number) hoops to satisfy a $100 donation? Don’t get me wrong, all donations are appreciated, but it seems that the $100 donor wants to split their donation into four different designations while the $100,000 donor feel very comfortable donating to the ’cause’.
  2. Ninety-five percent of the money comes from five percent of the people. This is an extrapolation of the Pareto principle (roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes). As a matter of fact, when I examined our fundraising efforts as of late, 74% of the revenue came from just 54 donors. Aren’t stats great!
  3. A capital campaign should see a pledge redemption of at least ninety-five percent. It has been my experience that donors truly wish to honor their pledges and if they know that they can comfortably pledge $10,000 but $15,000 makes them a bit uncomfortable due to uncertainty, they would rather pledge the $10,000 and increase it later rather than pledge the $15,000 and not fully honor it. I have also found that sometimes donors will take a bit longer to fulfill their pledge rather than having it written off. This is a good thing! Don’t give up!
  4. The average bequest for a Canadian charity is approximately $40,000. I have seen way too many charities budget for that amount. Please don’t do it! This is simply a number that one can use to determine the approximate magnitude of your deferred giving program.
  5. According to Stats Canada (for 2010), the average donation (annual, based on tax returns) is $446, while the median is $123. (The median means that half of the people gave more than $123 and half of the people gave less than $123. It accounts for outliers, like a $1,000,000 gift that would skew the results.) Your charity’s median gift is a number that you should be tracking and noting if it is moving up or down. I would surmise (based on #2 above), that the average (and median) gift is moving higher for your organization.

These are some interesting statistics and ones that may just have you looking at your ‘shop’ in a new light.

See you next week