National Center for Charitable Statistics
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Fundraising Effectiveness Project

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) goal is to help grow philanthropy's share of the GDP. It pursues this goal by providing nonprofits with tools for tracking and evaluating their annual growth in giving. Growth in giving is the net of gains in giving minus losses in giving. Nonprofits raise more money by investing more money in growth-oriented fundraising strategies that both increase gains and reduce losses. The FEP is focused on "effectiveness" (maximizing growth in giving) rather than "efficiency" (minimizing costs). It conducts an annual survey and publishes gain(loss) statistics in a yearly report through a partnership between The Urban Institute, Association of Fundraising Professionals, and AFP's Donor Software Workgroup.

Additional resources for this project are available at the Association of Fundraising Professionals' project page.


  1. Repeat donor retention rate: 70 percent of repeat donors in 2009 gave again in 2010
  2. New donor retention rate: 27 percent of new donors in 2009 gave again in 2010
  3. Overall donor retention rate: 41 percent of all 2009 donors (new and repeat donors combined) gave again in 2010

Historical Trends

In the FEP data the most salient trend from 2005 to 2011 is the extent that gains are offset by losses.  From 2005 to 2011 the average Net Gain in Donors was 4% and the Net Gain in Giving was a negative 3% (2012 Fundraising Effectiveness Factsheet).

THE FEP ANALYZERS FROM NCCS are at Gain-Loss Performance Analyzer
With these downloadable Excel-based Gain-Loss Performance Analyzers, respondents to the FEP surveys who use a participating donor software firm’s all-electronic FEP survey module can analyze and compare their gains and losses in amount of gifts and number of donors by gain/loss categories based on the growth-in-giving performance data they submitted.


  1. Annual FEP reports can help charities identify areas of improvement in their fundraising, such as donor retention, by comparing gains and loss in a number of different categories.
    1. 2014 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report
    2. 2013 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report
    3. 2012 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report
    4. 2011 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report
    5. 2011 FEP Donor Retention Supplement
    6. 2010 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report
    7. 2009 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report
    8. The announcement for the second annual 2008 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report
    9. 2008 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report
    10. FEP Pilot 2004-05 Survey Report (July, 2007)

2005 to 2008 ‘ANONYMIZED’ DATA

  1. The FEP ‘anonymized' 2005 to 2008 database of over 4,000 responses along with instructions and the confidentiality agreement are available for downloading.
    1. To download the FEP Anonymized Data Instructions and Confidentiality Agreement, CLICK HERE: Instructions&Agreement and chose [Save] to save this Word document on your computer.
    2. To download the FEP Anonymized Data File Specifications, CLICK HERE: DataFileSpecifications and chose [Save] to save this Excel document on your computer.
  2. Donor software firms and researchers interested in using the FEP ‘anonymized’ data on a confidential basis can email the FEP Project Manager at

TECHNICAL RESOURCES for participating software firms are at: FEP Technical Resources
FEP Tactics Benchmarking Survey - Rough Draft

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