What is in the fundraising DNA that makes a charity grow at a really rapid pace?

In 2014, the Growth in Giving Initiative (GiGi) will measure and rank the three-year GiG rates for several thousand nonprofits in the GiGi Database. We will break out the 500 fastest-growing charities for further analysis and determine what characteristics these high performers have that others do not.

Growth in Giving InitiativeThe GiGi founding sponsors are the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, and DonorPerfect at Softerware. GiGi is an outgrowth of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project.

GiGi’s gift transaction method for collecting giving data from participating on-line donor software firms consists of uploading to the GiGi secure server four anonymized fields for every cash gift transaction for every user in the firms’ on-line database: userID, donorID, Date and amount of gift. This gift-transaction method and the performance indicators used to evaluate the data were developed last year with assistance from the FEP Analytics Advisory Board.

For more information about the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, be sure to register for our upcoming webinar.

The “GiGi 500” concept will focus the nonprofit sector’s attention on the standout results of the fastest-growing charities. Enabling nonprofits to compare their fundraising against the GiGi 500 will promote better performance.

How Will the GiGi-500 Select the Fastest-Growing Charities?

To select the strongest giving programs within the GiGi database, we will use author–lecturer Jim Greenfield’s Cumulative Rate of Growth in Giving indicators from his “Overall 3-Year ‘Growth in Giving’ Analysis” (table 1).

GiGi defines the three-year cumulative GiG rate as the growth in giving — say, from 2010 to 2013 — divided by the amount raised in the baseline year (here, 2010). In this table, the far-right column shows the cumulative rate of growth for three indicators: number of donors, average gift size, and amount of gifts. In this example, the 3-year cumulative rate of growth is 66 percent for number of donors, 19 percent for average gift, and 98 percent for amount of gifts. Amount of gifts is the indicator used to select the GiGi 500.

Overall 3-Year Growth

In this example, maintaining a 98% increase in amount of gifts received is linked with the aggressive donor acquisition effort and its 66% increase in numbers of donors. Although average gift size declined slightly in one year, maintaining an average growth rate of 19% at more than $300 is commendable when combined with the 66% growth rate in numbers of donors. – Guidance for interpreting Table 1 provided by Jim Greenfield

With data providers submitting gift transaction information going back eight to ten years, rather than just three years, the GiGi 500 will be able to create a four-year or even five-year growth in giving rate.

GiGi 500 analyses and comparisons will have breakdowns by the size and age of development programs as well as by the number of donors and average gift size.

What Performance Characteristics Make the GiGi 500 So Successful?

The GiGi key performance indicators will include dollar and donor retention and attrition, upgrading retained donors, new donor acquisition and reacquiring lapsed donors. With detailed gift-transaction data, GiGi is able to sub-divide performance indicators by gift ranges such as under $100 and $5,000 and up.

The Growth in Giving Initiative uses information from thousands of nonprofit organizations and millions of anonymized gift transactions. For more information contact us at FEP@afpnet.org.

This post was co-wrriten by Bill Levis, Manager, Fundraising Effectiveness Project, Erik Daubert, Chair, Growth in Giving Initiative and Cathy Williams, AFP Research Council with insights from Jim Greenfield.

Bill Levis

Bill Levis

Affiliated Scholar at Urban Institute
Bill has been working tirelessly on issues of nonprofit financial reporting for nearly 40 years. He is a senior consultant with the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Prior to that, he worked at the National Charities Information Bureau and Baruch College of the City University of New York. He was a founding project director for the National Center for Charitable Statistics in the early 1980s.
Bill Levis

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