Sustainer programs are growing, but still show room for improvement |

Sustainer programs are growing, but still show room for improvement |

Did you know that a sustaining donor is worth an average of $56/year more than a non-sustainer? Sustainer programs are a profitable, valuable part of any thriving fundraising operation. In fact, in data collected from CDP participating stations (TV, Radio, and joint licensees), the percentage of donors who are sustainers has risen to 10% on average, with the very top-tier stations achieving much higher than that. This percentage is up from just 2% (on average) several years ago and is a significant factor in improving the overall retention rate at stations. With the cost-to-acquire a donor being variably high, it makes good fiscal sense to put membership’s collective energy behind strengthening your station sustainer program.

The picture above is taken from Current’s website and is sourced from Greater Public’s Benchmarks for Public Radio Stations.

CDP has created a checklist of practices gathered from top-performing stations in this metric. The checklist is meant to be exhaustive and includes literally everything we have found to work toward improvement; don’t be overwhelmed by this. Making even just a few key changes will have a measurable effect. This, and all other checklists, is located on our blog behind a password and linked here. Do contact us if you need a password reminder.

Monthly File Delivery

Did you know that CDP is now delivering monthly preliminary reports in-between the quarterly ROAR reporting? The preliminary reports are two small .csv files that are sent to the designated data contact at your station two weeks before the end of each quarter. Now your station will receive these reports every month, not just in ROAR production months. Getting your files to us on or before the 25th of each month will ensure you’re included.

These files are a “sneak peak”, if you will. They allow you to check your 12-month revenue totals and file source coding ahead of time so that you can receive the most accurate ROAR report possible.

Should you see something that doesn’t look right in the preliminary reports, simply make corrections to the source coding in your station’s database – that way, the fixes are permanent. If you’re not sure how to do this, or have any other questions regarding what you see in the preliminary reports, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone on our team. Once corrections are made, re-trigger another file export to our FTP, and when the time comes we will use the most recent set of files to produce your ROAR report.

Living in a perfect world? Lucky you! These preliminary reports are for your review only, and if all looks well then you need take no further action.

If you’ve never seen these reports, it’s possible that they are being sent to the wrong contact at your station. Let us know, and we’ll be sure to update the CRM with the correct person.

How Charities Can Get More Out of Their Donors


An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal queried, “What gets people to give?” Ask and you shall receive – there is some new research out from Yale and Harvard Universities that help answer that very question.

One of the tests done leveraged the value of big-name donors, not as a Major Gift but as a gift that keeps on giving – literally. Mentioning a major donor or a foundation gift (in the test example the Gates Foundation was used) in direct mail to a potential contributor not only made them more likely to give, but also give more. Experts in the article said that big-name donors gave new donors the comfort of feeling that a charity had already been “vetted” and was a “safer bet” than others who made no mention of their major supporters.

Spotlighting donations publicly has always been popular, but the practice is typically reserved for those with, shall we say, a higher capacity to give. While most of us don’t have the kind of funds that puts our name on a wall, research shows we still benefit from positive strokes. Being acknowledged was a big motivation to give, and in a test run by Harvard University, the acknowledgement need not be grand. The promise of a simple newsletter mention was enough to raise the likelihood to give as well as the average gift amount significantly.

Read more about these tests and others at Be sure to watch the video content as well – the interview with TinyGive co-founder Clarence Wardell is 4 minutes of very educational content.

Four Issues That Get In the Way of Fixing Donor Churn

In the wake of last week’s Donor Churn webinar, Agitator has made a whitepaper available (for free). This paper outlines the four issues around donor churn and discusses the cure to each of them. The issues are:

1. Thinking churn can be addressed when they call to quit or with a reinstatement program.

2. Believing churn can be fixed by sending more communications dubbed “engagement” or “loyalty” touchpoints (i.e. no hard ask).

3. Only assigning value to transactional data and being forced to guess at the “why” of donor behavior.

4. Treating donor service as a cost center and a burden.

The contents of the entire paper are embedded below and can be read here or pop open into a new tab.


2014 Luminate Online Benchmark Report


The 2014 Luminate Online Benchmark Report is now available for download. And although this performance data in online fundraising is aggregated from 794 nonprofit organizations, the majority (80.7%) of nonprofits are raising less than $2 million per year online, suggesting that this is a fundraising segment in its fledgling stages.

Those of you who are familiar with the report will note that the delivery is quite a bit earlier this year, as it reflects a new approach Blackbaud is taking to examine the data from the fiscal year rather than the calendar year.

The comparison should make the metrics more relatable, at least for those running a July-June fiscal year. Also, the report is now published at a point when stations are fine-tuning their end-of-year giving efforts.

Check out key highlights on the colorful infographic available on this npEngage blog. Or download the full 62-page report for free by clicking here.

2014 Adobe Digital Index Report

Adobe PicOne of the key findings from this year’s report was the sharp rise in web traffic on large-screen smartphone devices. With smartphone screen sizes increasing to 4-inches or larger, tablet use is leveling out. Currently 30% of all web traffic is being viewed on a smartphone with a 4-inch screen or larger, up from 19% last year. Mobile carriers charge more for data usage, so consumers are depending more on Wi-Fi to connect. Over 50% of all web site visits were via Wi-Fi.

Mobile marketers are also viewing apps in a more serious light and investing heavily into developing apps that will better engage consumers. Using location-based awareness, monetizing the mobile experience, and overcoming something they call “fat finger syndrome” (which causes users to enter personal data incorrectly) are just some of the things developers consider.

Understanding what technology your donors are using to consume and share content via the web is necessary to boost engagement. Check out the full report by clicking here: Adobe Mobile Benchmarking Report.

How Much is Your $100 Worth?

Picture1Click Here to check out the results of a new study released this summer from the Tax Foundation that shows the relative value of $100 by state and some metro-statistical areas.

If your members live in Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, and South Dakota, their $100 is worth the most, where as if you are in DC, Hawaii. New York, New Jersey or California, you are not getting the most bang for your buck.

While the Tax Foundation is focused on the tax implications, it can be used helpful in fundraising when looking at Average Donation amounts at your station compared to National Averages and even help when developing appropriate ask matrices.

If your station has done any sort of adjustments or analysis based on information such as this or Cost Of Living Indices, please let us know.