Recently, 21 Kennari Consulting clients shared results from their 2018 Year End Appeal. They represent organizations of various sizes and across several sectors. Though this data is not meant to be compared to an “official” study coming from Blackbaud or Network for Good, it can be a helpful guide in benchmarking among peers.

For analysis purposes, data was split into two categories: organizations that solicited OVER 1,000 people and those that solicited FEWER than 1,000 people. Below are a few takeaways that came as a result of the analysis.

  • Staffing levels will impact your results. If a development staff leaves shortly before or during the planning process, or there is a new staff unfamiliar with the process, you might see results that are lower than your typical return. On the other hand, if you hire new development staff with a role dedicated to managing your year end activities, you might see an increase in your results.
  • A well-defined list will optimize results. Sending your appeal to more people does NOT mean you will get more donations! Do not send to everyone in your database. It’s likely that you have many people in your database with very lapsed gift history or no previous giving at all. Focus on three to five segments of donors and customize your ask verbiage to each group, typically mailing to those who have activity in the last five years.
  • It’s not about flashy materials. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to design and print catchy materials for your appeal to work.
  • You shouldn’t measure the success of your appeal solely on how it does from one year to the next. Giving at events, to newsletters, and the timing of individual major gifts can skew numbers from year to year.  Numbers being up or down doesn’t necessarily mean it was good or bad, but you should be familiar with where and why the variances are.

In the included PDF document, you will see the Mean (Average), Median (Middle), Max (Highest), and Min (Lowest) values for eight key data points of the year end appeal. How does your year end appeal compare?

Download summary data: 2018 Year End Data Summary