We’re looking for a silver lining this January, and we’ve found it in this fact: From post-election passion to Giving Tuesday through EOY, our Springboard clients (like many worthy causes) raised more in the last quarter of the year than in the rest of 2016 -- or any other year-end, ever.
We are an intentionally small company that works with select, progressive nonprofits to help them craft digital-first engagement programs. So while we are thrilled with our clients’ 2016 year-end growth, this post represents our interpretation of fundraising trends in our little corner of the online space. Here’s a preview of what we’re seeing.
Springboard clients raised 86% more in total gifts in December 2016 than in December 2015, to the tune of $54.3 million.* Most notably, across our client base, 52% of year-end gifts came from new donors who were motivated to give for the first time.
In keeping with what we’re hearing from across the progressive space, Springboard clients with the most ambitious left-leaning missions saw astronomical spikes in giving, beginning on the day following the election, November 9th. More impressive than these single-day fundraising wins was that these successes were sustained, spiking again significantly on Giving Tuesday (which tripled last year’s results, with $4.1 million raised and average gift size up 36%) and continuing throughout the month of December.
Number of new donors is way up. Average gift size is (somewhat) down.
Half of Springboard clients saw EOY gifts come from more than 50% new donors, with most organizations seeing new-donor growth of 30-60% and some exceeding this range. Although post-election we’re watching new donor numbers skyrocket across the nonprofit sector, we still find it remarkable how many passive contacts and brand-new names have been galvanized to give.
Unsurprisingly, while more individuals are giving and overall totals are up, average gift size this December declined by 9%, with a few exceptions. The cross-Springboard-client average EOY gift was $128, down from $141 in 2015. Our interpretation of this phenomenon is that previously untapped donors have been inspired to give at smaller levels, or to spread their gifts among several organizations.
1 of every 4 gifts came from mobile or tablet devices.
Despite the inevitable annual predictions that 2016 (or 2015, or 2014) is the Year of Mobile, handheld donations have not yet overtaken the number of gifts made on laptops and desktops. Springboard mobile giving rose this EOY from the 2015 average of 14% to roughly 20%, with tablets representing an additional 6-10% of the gift pie. Although the mobile-giving revolution hasn't (yet) fully matured, device share is steadily rising, which means it's increasingly worth the time to craft targeted mobile campaigns and mobile-responsive donation forms, in addition, of course, to offering a compelling desktop experience.
The most progressive agendas raised the most at year-end, by a factor of 4.
For organizations without a(n explicitly) progressive agenda, fundraising gains were still significant over 2015. Our animal welfare, wildlife protection, arts & culture, and child welfare organizations saw year-end gains of 10-20% over 2015. One large, national animal-welfare organization saw 20% growth in dollars raised and 30% growth in number of gifts (while average gift size declined by 8%), with 56% of gifts coming from new donors.
Predictably, however, our clients with the most explicit social-justice agendas performed the best at year-end, as they head into the adversarial political climate of 2017 and beyond. Springboard clients who work on civil rights issues, public media, drug policy reform, and international relief saw incredible gains, raising an average of 85% more than December 2015 -- more than four times the year-to-year increase that other organizations experienced.
One large, national organization with a strong platform of Trump-accountability raised 487% more this year-end, building on a single post-election day that was their best giving day on record (by a large margin) and a Giving Tuesday increase of 1485% from 2015.+
2017 is looking to be an unprecedented year of fundraising, advocacy, and organizing opportunities. Our biggest takeaway from these year-end results is that more supporters than ever are engaging with a broader diversity of causes, and are looking for more meaningful ways to contribute. Our hope is that 2017 will be the Year of Sustained Support: the year that record numbers of new donors commit to monthly giving, to mobilizing their networks for repeated action, and to becoming fundraisers themselves through DIY and peer-to-peer programs.
Using Springboard to create sustained support, our clients will seek to reach these new supporters with more context-specific, personalized messaging. With flexible strategies and advanced methods like marketing automation, orgs can nurture prospects from their specific point of origin -- that first end-of-year gift, the petition signer who comes through Facebook, the organic newsletter sign-up -- to lead them through the series of actions that will be most meaningful to each individual supporter, growing their loyalty and deepening their commitment to the cause over time.
*Year-end results reflect averages across the Springboard client base for those organizations that have been using the platform for more than a year.