Fundraising Momentum Continued in 2011, yet Challenges Remain for Higher Education Fundraisers

April 18, 2012

Revenue is up, while reactivation of lapsed donors and new donor acquisition declines

CHARLESTON, SC – April 18, 2012 – Blackbaud, Inc. (Nasdaq: BLKB) announced the availability of the 2011 Index of Higher Education Fundraising Performance, a report that provides a summary of Key Performance Indicators of annual funds at more than 100 public and private institutions. The analysis is conducted annually as part of Target Analytics’ donorCentrics Collaborative Benchmarking service for higher education organizations. Metrics are based on historical transactional information and are standardized across institutions to provide the most accurate, unbiased comparative performance information available in the sector.    

Download the report at

“Most measures were in positive territory compared to 2010 results and there is evidence that the worst of the economic decline is behind us,” said Shaun Keister, co-author of the report, and vice chancellor of development and alumni relations at the University of California-Davis. “Programs are beginning to grow again, despite challenges with reactivating lapsed donors and acquiring new ones.”

Key findings include:   

  • Most KPIs experienced modest increases in fiscal year 2011. In some cases, this was a bounce-back year and in other metrics it was a second year in positive territory, which in general, indicates programs are recovering from the recession and benchmark lows experienced in fiscal year 2009.   
  • Revenue showed a median positive change of 6.1 percent and overall retention rates were up slightly as well, demonstrating a donor base that has stabilized.
  • Some key measures have not rebounded, mostly notably reactivation which continues to erode regardless of economic status, along with participation rates, which continue their decline.

“The Great Recession of the past few years dramatically impacted trends in higher education, and those trends are now, in general, reversing back to pre-recession levels,” said Jenny Cooke, director of higher education benchmarking for Target Analytics, a Blackbaud company. “Although, when it comes to participation rates and the ability to inspire lapsed donors, the economy has much less impact, and the trends continue in negative territory despite better economic news.”

To download the report, register for the free web seminar 2011 Index of Higher Education Fundraising Performance exploring the results on April 23 at 4 p.m. ET, or learn more about participating in future donor Centrics Collaborative Benchmarking groups, visit

About Blackbaud

Serving the nonprofit and education sectors for 30 years, Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) combines technology and expertise to help organizations achieve their missions. Blackbaud works with more than 26,000 customers in more than 60 countries that support higher education, healthcare, human services, arts and culture, faith, the environment, independent education, animal welfare, and other charitable causes. The company offers a full spectrum of cloud-based and on-premise software solutions, and related services for organizations of all sizes including: fundraising, eMarketing, social media, advocacy, constituent relationship management (CRM), analytics, financial management, and vertical-specific solutions. Using Blackbaud technology, these organizations raise more than $100 billion each year. Recognized as a top company by Forbes, InformationWeek, and Software Magazine and honored by Best Places to Work, Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina and has employees throughout the US, and in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.