The Blackbaud Institute Index – AUS/NZ
As 2021 unfolds, the social good community is navigating uncharted territory. As we become more hopeful about finding a new post-pandemic normal, uncertainty remains about what the future holds. Still, organisations who continue to focus on goals steeped in tried-and-true best practices can ensure success into the future. The time is now to ensure teams do not become stagnant by identifying and continuing to adapt operations and strategies to meet the demands of today.
Strong leaders can re-energize their teams by intentionally making space for exploring new ideas and concepts. Doing so will foster a sense of enthusiasm and help teams see their momentum toward progress. But leaders should also hold time for reflecting on the strategies that helped them weather the past year, such as digital, that will continue to work.
The Blackbaud Institute Index offers data trends to help you understand the current landscape, as well as the context you need to leverage this as a benchmark against your own efforts. Data can help crystallize your understanding and offer insights on what the recent several months illuminate. We hope you can use this Index to gain confidence in your own planning. These insights should help recalibrate and reinvigorate you in fulfilling your mission over the next few months and beyond.
Tracking nearly $550 million from approximately 150 organisations in AUS and NZ-based charitable giving, the Blackbaud Institute Index is updated each quarter and reports year-over-year percent changes and giving to date for the last 12 months. For even more in-depth insights on how current and long-term trends can help you on the path ahead, read the 2020 Charitable Giving Report published in February 2021, where you will find further unique data, information on how to benchmark yourself, and insights for many subsectors.
Giving trend data is an invaluable tool, but it is only a retrospective that shows us what has already happened. Remember that charitable giving data is one facet of the philanthropic prism. Always track trends across your full revenue portfolio and target a sustainable funding mix in your long-term plans.
Quarterly Overall Charitable Giving
- Q1 2021 vs Q1 2020-10.3%
- Last 12 Months-6.5%*
Navigating the Current Landscape
- Consider how your organisation has adapted to maximize digital engagement with supporters. As social distancing recommendations were enacted last year, organisations across all sectors were forced out of their comfort zones with digital marketing and engagement. Continue to embrace social media and digital platforms to connect with supporters. Staff should consider how they might continue to deliver and expand their newfound success across virtual programming and events, through such online platforms as Facebook Live. It is an opportunity to consider how you can continue to engage constituents across a myriad of channels.
- Remember that donor retention remains one of the most essential factors in fundraising success. Donors give because they believe in the organisation’s mission and believe their gift can make a difference. You should stay focused on communicating the continued value of your mission and stewarding your supporters. By this same token, supporters want to know how the organisations they care about are faring. You shouldn’t be afraid to be transparent with donors about challenges the organisation is facing. Earnest communication about challenges allows donors to engage and rise to meet the need.
- Stay connected across teams so you can respond with agility. While you may still be working remotely, it has never been more critical for all teams across your organisation to stay in sync. Your capacity for embracing innovative solutions to new challenges will rely on your team’s ability to stay connected. Now is the time for leaders to focus on transparency and communication. If it isn’t already part of your regular cadence, consider incorporating emails or video updates from leaders to keep staff engaged and on the same page. Continue to focus on strong data management practices so that all teams can access the information they need.
“The Australian charity market continues to be robust in-line with a strong economy and improving consumer confidence. As the sector matures, we’ve seen the long-term value of first-year and multi-year retention strategies. With increased online giving, diversified revenue streams, and improved donor retention, there is reason to be enthusiastic about the future. We can expect these trends to continue as organizations continue to leverage best practices and benchmarking to refine their strategies across all channels.”
How we create the Index
Each quarter, we draw actual giving statistics from the databases of approximately 150 AUS and NZ-based participating organisations using various fundraising systems to determine how much revenue was raised. We include giving from all sources of fundraising activities: direct mail, telemarketing, face-to-face fundraising, email, online, mobile giving, small- and large-scale events, and major and deferred giving.
We do not include the unfulfilled portion of pledge gifts, but we do include the donated value of in-kind and stock gifts. We include giving from individuals, corporations, and foundations but do not include giving by individuals or corporations to private and community foundations or other intermediaries. To include these gifts would double count the revenue when those organisations subsequently make grants to other non-profits. We do not currently exclude the value of goods and services provided in exchange for gifts (e.g., the cost of premiums). And lastly, we do include adjustments made to gifts (e.g., bounced checks and refunds) to provide a more accurate accounting of real revenues. As a result, you may find that indices values change slightly as we obtain newly-adjusted data from each organisation.
We report the Index as a three-month moving median of year-over-year percent changes in giving. We add up all giving for the prior three months and compare this total to the same three months one year earlier to calculate the annual percent change for each organisation in our Index.
“Economic conditions, natural disasters, and market fluctuations have made it extremely difficult for non-profits to make fundraising decisions informed by the latest donor behavior. That is why we created the Blackbaud Institute Index — to provide insight into what happened in the prior quarter and valuable analysis by leaders in the sector into what fundraisers can learn from it.”
Many organisations have big campaigns (events or mailings) that occur at roughly the same time each year. However, if an event was in late April one year but early May the next, the change in monthly giving might be significant while the change in giving over a three-month period might be the same. An index based on a moving median is less sensitive to these small timing issues and will serve as a more practical decision-making tool. However, one downside of a moving median is that it can dampen large fluctuations caused, for example, by disaster relief giving.
For more information
For more on these trends and additional insights, check out the Blackbaud Institute annual Charitable Giving Report.