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New Data Shows Why Donors Breakup With Nonprofits

Ever wonder why your nonprofit donors decide to stop supporting your organization? Check out this data by Bloomerang and the Rockefeller Corporation that compares why donors leave compared to why customers leave commercial companies. One of the reasons I appreciate research like this is because it demonstrates the importance of providing the best constituent experiences no matter if you work in the nonprofit world or the for-profit world. If we don’t alwas focus our attention on building these strong relationships, we lose people.

Thanks to Marc Pitman for finding this great gem of a graphic.

Reader Comments (5)

This infographic is being very sloppy with the numbers:

The right column adds up to 159%, because the survey allowed multiple selections. The infographic acknowledges this in small text, but ignores the implications: the concluding point ("53% of donors leave due to the charity's lack of communication") is completely unsound, mathematically. You can't just add them up, if they aren't mutually exclusive. The graphic also dropped 5 answers from the original study, accounting for "another" 17%, approximately.

Without the raw data, we can only speculate so much, but here's what we know:
1. The total is certainly less than 53%.
2. It's also certainly more than 18%, the percentage who checked the "poor service or communication" option.
3. So it's somewhere between 53% and 18%, and due to the natural overlap between the available choices it's likely on the lower end. I'd guess 25-30%.

None of this undercuts the point: in aggregate, among factors the non-profit can actually control, poor donor communication appears to be the largest cause of lapsed donors. But didn't we already know that?
April 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Great stuff, Allyson, thanks!
May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Fine
In addition to what the commenter pointed out above (or below?), is it my understanding from the small type at the bottom of the graphic, that this information (survey results) is from the year 2000?
I can't find anything useful in information from 13 years ago.....

Now, if someone could redo this survey using more recent data and accurate statistical calculations, I would be happy to share with my network!
May 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersondra
In what way is the data presented "new?" Notwithstanding the "sloppiness" problem Brad addresses, the source for the donor data is more than 12 years old! Bear in mind, Facebook was nothing but a glimmer in Zuckerberg's eyes when that survey was conducted.

@Allyson - please consider deleting or retracting this misleading and ill-informed posting. Maybe consider re-framing it as an case study of "infographics gone wrong" instead?
May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan
Thanks for the feedback folks. I appreciate it. You raised an excellent point about the data not being so new, though I did get your attention to spark a great discussion. :) In all seriousness, I'm actually less concerned with how old the data is because the point is many nonprofits aren't doing a very good cultivating new donors and sustaining them. I think this data points to that as well as very recent data from the eNonprofit Benchmark Report that shows how click through rates in online fundraising declined 27% from 2011 to 2012, and response rates declined 21%. That is a huge decline for the nonprofit community and shows nonprofits are not focusing on nurturing relationships with supporters and engaging them in meaningful ways.

In terms of the survey design that was highlighted in the infographic, it seems like people could pick multiple answers from the survey, which led to results to be over 100%. So the questions were probably framed - select all that apply. I don't have an issue with that type of survey design around this particular issue because there are many reasons that people stop donating to nonprofits. It's often just not one reason. Nonprofits are in relationships with donors. And as you know relationships are complicated. Relationships typically don't end for one reason. That applies here too. I think we often treat our donors as numbers on paper and forget that they are actual people who we are building relationships with.

And here is a link to the benchmark study I referenced
May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson Kapin

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