The Fundraising Effectiveness Project – what is it and is it worth commencing in Australia? In 2006, the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute established the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) to conduct research on fundraising effectiveness and help nonprofit organisations increase their fundraising results at a faster pace. Now, 12 years later, the project has allowed 6,000 non-profits in the US to measure, compare, report, and analyse their growth in fundraising.
Australian charities are hungry for information to compare and contrast their organisations against others in the marketplace. Not all organisations can afford to participate in Pareto Benchmarking or Blackbaud’s donorCentrics. One way to gather this information is for an organisation to survey organisations seeking information about fundraising revenue and spend, staff size, and other metrics for use in fundraising strategic planning, budgeting, and other areas. The challenge with surveying colleagues is most fundraising professionals will say they are time poor and many will shy away from responding. Imagine if an organisation surveys 12 NFPs in a given year. Now multiple that times the number of us who survey colleagues wanting to know this type of information. That’s a lot of time spent on gathering and reporting information. Additionally, there is a great variance in how one organisation reports data compared to another organisation. So, we are often not looking at apples to apples and, instead, apples to grapefruit.
Enter the FEP
FEP provides nonprofits with tools for tracking and evaluating their annual growth in giving. Growth in giving is the net of gains in giving minus losses in giving. Nonprofits raise more money by investing more money in growth-oriented fundraising strategies that both increase gains and reduce losses. The FEP is focused on “effectiveness” (maximising growth in giving) rather than “efficiency” (minimising costs). FEP conducts an annual survey, provides useful growth in giving performance measurement tools and publishes gain(loss) statistics in a yearly report through a partnership between AFP, The Urban Institute and participating donor software firms. The FEP resources support growth-oriented fundraising programs.
In this day and age when we are being asked to measure results in a greater, smarter way and when the media and others are demanding we prove our worth, wouldn’t the Fundraising Effectiveness Project assist to provide the kind of data needed?
What do we need to get the FEP off the ground in Australia? An organisational body to coordinate the project (think of a fundraising body or a leading consultancy) and the key software suppliers to offer the FEP measurement tools in their software offerings. A key to the success of the FEP is the participation of a variety of donor software firms – many of them offering the same products in Australia. Most already have the FEP reporting mechanisms built into their software.
Read the 2018 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report here and judge its value yourself.