We’re wrapping up our first 2023 Advancement Leaders Speak Survey. Prompted by RNL’s fundraising advisory board and discussions we’ve had with RNL partners, we launched the survey early this year to answer some key questions we’re being asked:
- Are you up or down on donors, dollars, compared to last January, as you begin to complete the fiscal year?
- What has impacted those results, from key strategy shifts, changes to events, the economy, and competition from other causes?
- What are your key FY23 priorities, and do your priorities match with your leadership?
- What holds the most promise and most challenge for fundraising in the coming year?
I encourage you to jump and add your insights to the 7-minute, anonymous survey.
With an initial group of 82 institutions responding, we’re ready to share some early results. We’ll release full results and our recommendations for donor engagement in FY23 in an upcoming webinar on February 9.
Donor growth is a priority for frontline fundraisers, but leadership lags on some of the key tactics
Many of the respondents to the survey indicated direct responsibility for core fundraising metrics such as donor count, total dollars, and budget-relieving support. Many are concerned about these key metrics, but when we look at specific factors that might influence this, fundraisers seem to be indicating that leadership is less attuned to what might help.
From your perspective, which of the following are a high priority for you as a fundraiser, and which are a high priority for your organization’s top leadership? (check all that apply)
|Goal/Strategy||High Priority for Me||High Priority for Leadership|
|Increasing the number of donors giving on an annual basis||95%||64%|
|Growing total annual giving dollars||91%||67%|
|Growing budget relieving or unrestricted dollars||71%||78%|
|Growing alumni participation||89%||75%|
|Improving our communications across channels like mail, email and digital||95%||35%|
|Improving the donor experience||93%||50%|
|Making it easier to give||97%||29%|
|Recruiting/retaining key talent on our team||66%||75%|
|Providing gift officers with better tools to increase their effectiveness/ productivity||53%||65%|
The most remarkable trend to me here is the responses on ease of giving and the donor experience. In a challenging economy, these are two things that deserve significant attention. Fundraisers agree, but they don’t necessarily feel supported by leadership.
Donors and dollars are under pressure for FY23 fundraising results
How is this year looking? That’s the question everyone is asking. What I can report from initial survey respondents is that both donor counts and dollars are not looking fabulous at many institutions.
How do you stand, for the current fiscal year, in regard to key metrics?
|Category||Up compared to this time last year||About even compared to this time last year||Down compared to this time last year|
|Total fundraising (all gifts and commitments)||35%||23%||42%|
|Total annual giving dollars||25%||30%||45%|
|Total unrestricted, budget-relieving dollars||25%||35%||40%|
|Total donor count||19%||21%||60%|
|Total alumni donor count (if applicable)||17%||26%||57%|
|Alumni participation (if applicable)||16%||35%||48%|
We also asked fundraisers what they think is contributing to results this year, and the economy, fundraiser/team turnover and competition from other charities all seem to be having a major impact.
There’s still time to impact FY23 fundraising results
We’ll release the full results of the survey first in our upcoming webinar, and then here on the RNL blog. We’re still compiling what fundraisers see as key challenges and what will make a difference for results. I can tell you that a common string is that better coordination on advancement teams, better use of data, and looking at underutilized channels are in the lead.
There’s still time to impact your FY23 results, with creativity and careful strategy. This can be accomplished even when budgets are tight, and it’s time to fundraise smarter, with a focus on the donor experience. This is key to sustainable, impact-driven fundraising, a topic you’ll be hearing about from the RNL team repeatedly in the coming months.
Join in on the survey before it closes, and if you’d like to talk with people who have been in your shoes about fundraising results right now, contact us and we’ll set up a time to talk. We’ve tapped into the pulse of hundreds of organizations, and we’re ready to share strategy that will work to close out your year strong.