Why You Should Pay Attention to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project

As a fundraiser, I am always looking for ways to understand the effectiveness of various fundraising strategies and donor groups. Today, I came across a post about the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, and it reminded me of the useful analysis and resources it has made available. So, I thought I would share it with you!

In 2006, The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Urban Institute started the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (commonly called FEP) to gather data on nonprofit fundraising and to help nonprofits increase their fundraising results. Over the years, the data they have collected has helped thousands of nonprofits compare their fundraising gains and losses with other similar organizations.

One of the most useful resources from the FEP is the annual report called the Fundraising Effectiveness Survey. The first report came out in 2006 and each year the report looks at giving for the prior year. The thing I love about this report is the giving gains and losses breakdown by donor category – new, recaptured, upgrades, downgrades, lapsed new, and lapsed repeat. And, now that there is over a decade of giving history to report on, the trend reporting is super helpful.

Did you know you can participate in the report? In Raiser’s Edge™, it literally requires just a few clicks to submit your aggregate giving data and see your results. By participating you also gain the right to see how your organization compares to other similar organizations. Organizations I have talked with really like this easy way to participate while at the same time gaining the value and insight of benchmarking.

The FEP also provides some helpful tools, like the Growth in Giving (GiG) Fundraising Fitness Test. This enables nonprofits to look at your fundraising program against a set of over 100 performance indicators. More information can be found at

Finally, the FEP website provides resources from a variety of sources. Want to know more about donor lifetime value or learn more about why donor retention matters? Both of these—and much more—can be found here.

While the Year of Donor Retention is officially coming to an end, it’s critical for every nonprofit to continue focusing on showing genuine appreciate to donors each and every day. As you begin to think about next year, it’s a great time to do some analysis on your own fundraising program, starting with participating in the FEP survey. You will be enlightened through the results you get! Happy Fundraising!

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