The Great American Donor Survey

Six years ago, Campbell Rinker founder Bruce Campbell came to a realization: While thousands of research reports are published each year on just about every for-profit industry in America, no firm was providing the same insight to nonprofits. Such reports can provide a wealth of information at a cost much lower than an organization would pay going at it alone.

Since then, Campbell Rinker has published about twenty-seven reports for nonprofits and the companies that serve nonprofits. In this seventh year of publishing syndicated research, we're starting a new chapter. Currently Campbell Rinker is surveying over thirty-five hundred donors across the U.S. We're gathering a staggering amount of information specifically for fundraisers. The results will detail donor opinions, perceptions, habits, and attitudes, establish new benchmarks and extend existing trendlines or for all charities.

We call this study DonorPulse. We've been publishing individual DonorPulse reports for years, but we've never published a comprehensive set of them. We’re planning to publish over a dozen DonorPulse reports in 2008. Each DonorPulse report provides a comprehensive look at a specific group of donors. Topics planned include…

  • High-dollar donors
  • Donors by generation
  • Donors by race/ethnicity
  • Donors by gender
  • Red vs. blue (compares liberal, conservative, and moderate donors)
  • Donors to health and hospital charities
  • Donors to religious charities
  • Donors to environmental and animal protection charities
  • Donors to international relief, development, and child sponsorship charities
  • Donors to human service and public benefit charities
  • Donors to arts, culture, and humanities
  • Donors to political organizations
  • Donors to educational institutions

Collectively, the reports provide one of the most extensive profiles ever assembled of the modern American donor.

With the reports, Campbell Rinker wants to take much of the guess-work out of fundraising, and provide information to nonprofits that they can use to make educated decisions. DonorPulse reports provide vital data on a wide variety of topics, including…

  • Donor perceptions of different types of fundraising campaigns and methods
  • Analysis of how donor attitudes and confidence have changed in recent times, and their stated willingness to continue support
  • Trends in donor perceptions of giving - by sector, by demographic group, etc.
  • The service factors that have the greatest impact on a donor's will to give, and the extent to which major charities exhibit these traits
  • Name awareness figures for major charities in every sector
  • Ratings of which organizations in specific sectors are seen as most effective, most efficient, and presenting the most compelling case for support
  • Segmentation analysis to reveal relevant variances between different ages, genders, education levels, income levels, charitable giving, etc.
  • Comprehensive geographic comparisons, including national regions, individual states, and major metro areas
  • Trend analysis of changes since the previous editions of many of the reports
  • Answers to other questions that are specific to each nonprofit sector

Visit here for more information about the reports.



Donor/Member Management Solution Study Results

This survey, one of our most popular, covers donor and member software and online solutions. Fundraisers want to know how the solutions stack up, and solution providers want a better understanding of the market. This is our third edition, with the first edition being conducted in 2002 and the second in 2004. For this most recent edition, in September of 2006 we surveyed 1,209 nonprofit professionals who are users of donor/member software and/or online solutions.

Not surprisingly, at the time of surveying, significantly more nonprofits were using online solutions to manage their donors and members than the last time we conducted this survey. Close to one in four nonprofits use an online solution (though not all as their primary solution). This compared to 77% using a commercial software product.

The same number are using online solutions for mass electronic communication with donors and/or members, but only 41% are using commercial software products for this.

We expect the trend toward online solutions to continue. With Internet connection speeds and bandwidth continually increasing, and online solutions becoming more robust and mature, the drawbacks of online solutions will continue to dwindle.

While these solutions aren't the best fit for every organization, we have seen this move happening in other software segments as well, including nonprofit accounting solutions and church management applications. Are we surprised by this trend?  Not really.  While it isn’t a blanket endorsement, Campbell Rinker benefits from using a handful of online solutions. We use an online solution to manage our contacts, deliver this newsletter, invite people to take our surveys, etc. The costs are relatively low, the services are feature rich and easy to use, and employees across the country can benefit from these web-based apps.

So how are people using these solutions? The table below shows this. Creating and using reports is the activity that the most fundraising professionals engage in.

The summary report for this study provides additional information about the landscape of choices available in donor and member solutions. DonorSpeak readers are welcome to CLICK HERE to download this report.  We'll be publishing an update to this report in about a year, so stay tuned.




Our mission is to provide insightful, actionable and economical marketing research to nonprofits and the companies that serve them. Feel free to call Dirk Rinker with your research needs or questions at (888) 722-6723. CLICK HERE to see a list of reports we publish for nonprofits.

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