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Classy is a platform for non-profit funding and makes yearly reports on the trends of philanthropy and donations made throughout the year. Many will look to this report for signs and trends that will allow them to adjust their strategies and increase their funding. However, statistics are not always telling the full story, and they can be misread.


Take Statistics With a Grain of Salt


Classy found that a whopping 94% of return donors gave another one-time donation as their second interaction. This doesn’t mean that a one-time donation is almost guaranteed to happen after a year, but when people do donate again, it is very likely to happen within that timeframe. Some organizations will send an annual donation request to past donors, or inform them of upcoming anniversaries that they’re taking donations for in the hope that the donor will keep with that trend.


Donors starting at the donation page were 1.7x as likely to repeat than those found via peer-to-peer. Of the donors, 25% of those returning become recurring donors and give a one-time donation as a follow-up. It may be tempting to push your donation page to the front of your site, but think about this another way: if a person goes directly to the donation page, they are already interested in your topic. It may be more worthwhile to focus efforts on finding the demographic that is passionate about your cause.


Recurring donors often donate more than they promise; a quarter of recurring donors will add to their plans with more one-time donations. While it can be tempting to press donors to move to recurring projects, consider that recurring donors are already dedicated to you. It may seem like a small act to add to their current pledge, but courting recurring donors could result in more support.


Taking advantage of donor trends can be hugely impactful on the success of your organization. But it can be very easy to come to the wrong conclusion from your data. Whether internal or external data, it can always be beneficial to view your statistics from different angles and position yourself to make the most of every donation.