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Blackbaud Institute Reveals Key Factors Dramatically Transforming the Highly Competitive Donor Marketplace

New study provides research-backed insight on why social good organizations must
challenge the fundraising status quo and embrace today’s proven strategies to be successful

Charleston, S.C. (October 16, 2017) — To inform organizations on what influences sector growth and how to respond to an ever-changing donor marketplace, Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB), the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good, is proud to announce the release of a new report, “Vital Signs: Monitoring Giving Patterns in the Donor Marketplace.” Recent evidence has shown that fewer donors are giving to fewer organizations, and this latest report from the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact examines the drivers behind that momentous shift. The Blackbaud Institute’s in-depth analysis reveals key insight on how the donor marketplace is changing, why a donor-centered approach to fundraising is essential, implications for practices, and opportunities for further research and development.

Over the last 10 years, several factors have dramatically affected the sector’s overall endurance, forcing awareness of the external factors at play and the value of retaining an organization’s best donors. Taking into account significant disruptors like the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the Blackbaud Institute’s report focuses on what factors have influenced the trajectory of sector growth and how organizations can respond accordingly to the dramatically changing market.

“Vital Signs focuses on the changing behavior of donors and explains why these behavioral changes should, in turn, guide changes in our fundraising strategies and priorities,” said Roger Craver, author of the report’s foreword and editor-in-chief of The Agitator. “With the study’s major finding being that fewer households are supporting organizations, but are giving larger gifts, it is essential that organizations focus on retaining the active support of donors.”

Key Findings from the Blackbaud Institute Vital Signs Report

  • During 2010-2015, the total number of donor households making charitable gifts declined, with fewer households giving larger annual gifts.
  • The incidence of donor households adding new organizations to their giving portfolios declined as well. This signals an inevitable decline in available donor market if fundraising strategies do not improve.
  • Donors are more valuable to nonprofit organizations than the organizations are to donors. Donor retention is now the most important individual giving strategy to combat the competitive donor marketplace.

“It has long been believed that the health of the philanthropic sector is directly linked to the passion people have for organizations and their missions; to that end, there has been a great focus on communication and stewardship of donors to further increase giving,” said Chuck Longfield, author of the report and Blackbaud’s chief scientist. “Our findings cause us to look at the donor marketplace in new ways that have consequences for fundraising and organizational strategy, and present new hypotheses that we plan to further research and test.”

Download the report at

About the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact
The Blackbaud Institute drives research and insight to accelerate the impact of the social good community. It convenes expert partners from across the philanthropic sector to foster diverse perspectives, collective thinking, and collaborative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Using the most comprehensive data set in the social good community, the Blackbaud Institute and its partners conduct research, uncover strategic insight, and share results broadly, all in order to drive effective philanthropy at every stage, from fundraising to outcomes. Knowledge is powering the future of social good, and the Blackbaud Institute is an engine of that progress. Learn more, sign up for updates, and check out our latest resources at

About Blackbaud
Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) is the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good. Serving the entire social good community—nonprofits, foundations, corporations, education institutions, healthcare institutions and individual change agents—Blackbaud connects and empowers organizations to increase their impact through software, services, expertise, and data intelligence. The Blackbaud portfolio is tailored to the unique needs of vertical markets, with solutions for fundraising and CRM, marketing, advocacy, peer-to-peer fundraising, corporate social responsibility, school management, ticketing, grantmaking, financial management, payment processing, and analytics. Serving the industry for more than three decades, Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina and has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit

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Nicole McGougan
Public Relations

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