How To Set Annual Fund Donor Goals

How To Set Annual Fund Donor Goals


Digital Advisory

If you work in fundraising, you’re constantly challenged to increase donor participation. If you want to understand mathematically how to do that, keep reading.

By Theresa Lee

Non-Profit Consultant


To do that, you need to understand what data to pull and how to calculate retention, reactivation and acquisition goals. In this example, we’ll set goals for Fiscal Year 19 (FY19).

  • Retention: # of FY18 donors who also gave in FY17/# of FY17 donors = FY18 retention rate. Apply your retention rate to your FY18 total donor count and you’ll know how many donors you can expect to retain in FY19. If your retention rate is greater than 70%, you’re doing well.

  • Reactivation: # of donors who gave in any of the past five fiscal years except FY17/# of FY17 donors = FY18 reactivation rate. Apply that to the total of your FY18 donors to calculate the number you expect to reactivate in FY19. Your reactivation rate may range from 10-15%.  As your donor loyalty increases, expect your reactivation rate to decrease because there will be fewer lapsed donors.

  • Acquisition: How many were new donors in FY18? # of new donors in FY18/# of FY18 donors = acquisition rate. Apply that percentage to your total FY18 donors to calculate the number you expect to acquire in FY19.

  • DONOR GOAL: Add together your expected retained, reactivated and new donors to calculate your total projected donor goal.

Don’t be surprised if that total number looks a lot like your FY18 donor goal. In the climate of decreasing participation, holding on to donors and not decreasing your donor count could be a win. It’s likely your board or your leadership isn’t looking for status quo, so you now have to dig a little deeper into your data to understand your trends and how to reverse those that aren’t serving your donor count.

If you analyze the data for the past three to five years, you will see your trends and know if you should expect to retain, reactivate or acquire more or less donors this year. If your percentage rates have been going up steadily, apply a higher percentage. If the percentages have been in decline and you don’t plan to do anything different, apply a slightly lower percentage.

Contact Archetype to learn more about how to find trends in your data and for effective strategies to combat declining participation.