The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP)
In 2006, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute established the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) to conduct research on fundraising effectiveness and help nonprofit organizations increase their fundraising results at a faster pace.
The following organizations guide and support our work through leadership, funding and more; we are deeply grateful for the many gifts these organizations provide to this important work:
FEP Annual Reports
The groundbreaking annual Fundraising Effectiveness Survey, piloted in November 2006, collects fundraising data from nonprofit organizations beginning with data for 2004-2005. The Fundraising Effectiveness Survey enables participating groups to measure and compare their fundraising gain and loss ratios to those of similar organizations. Participants can use this industry data, which AFP offers free, to make better-informed, growth-oriented budget decisions to boost donor revenue.
FEP Fundraising Fitness Test
In collaboration with PSI/Adventist, the FEP has developed the downloadable Excel-based FEP Fundraising Fitness Test that allows nonprofits to measure and evaluate their fundraising programs against a set of over 100 performance indicators by five donor giving levels. In addition, the seven GiG Reports in the downloadable Excel-based FEP Growth-in-Giving (GiG) Reports template (revised and simplified) provide concise, yet informative pictures of fundraising gains and losses-growth in giving and attrition – in a simple, reader-friendly format that the executive staff and board members can understand.
Donor Software Firms Facilitate Nonprofits’ Participation
A critical element in the success of this project has been the cooperation and support of numerous donor software firms. The following firms assisted with the design of the FEP survey and provided data from 2007-2013 for the annual FEP survey and report: Abila, Bloomerang, Donor2/Campus Management Corporation, DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, eTapestry(Blackbaud), GiftWorks (Mission Research), MatchMaker FundRaising Software, Metafile Information Systems Inc., PhilanthrAppeal (FundTrack Software), The Raiser’s Edge (Blackbaud), ROI Solutions, Telosa Software Inc. (Exceed!).
Growth in Giving Initiative
The Growth in Giving Initiative was introduced in the fall of 2012. It was based on a unique, real-time, detailed gift-transaction data collection and analysis process developed by Jon Biedermann, Vice President of DonorPerfect, with Bill Levis, Manager, FEP Project, in September of 2012.
The Growth in Giving Initiative was formally established in January of 2013 with funding commitments by the three founding sponsors, Association of Fundraising Professionals, DonorPerfect/Softerware, Inc., and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. A Growth in Giving Initiative Steering Group was formed, and Erik Daubert, Associated Scholar at the Urban Institute, agreed to serve on the Growth in Giving Initiative as Chair, and he has led the Initiative since that time.
Since then, the initiative has grown to attract leading thought leaders and technology companies across the philanthropic spectrum.
Founding Partner Organizations:
Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has inspired global change and supported efforts that generated over $1 trillion. AFP’s nearly 30,000 individual and organizational members raise over $100 billion annually, equivalent to one-third of all charitable giving in North America and millions more around the world.
The Urban Institute conducts sophisticated research to understand and solve real-world challenges in a rapidly urbanizing environment. Our work engages communities at multiple levels — city, state, and country — as we gather data and evaluate programs. Urban Institute’s scholars blend academic rigor with on-the-ground collaboration, teaming with policymakers, community leaders, practitioners, and the private sector to diagnose problems and find solutions. Our work environment encourages intellectual honesty, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect. Our analysis elevates debate, wherever it takes place.
Bloomerang helps nonprofit organizations to reach, engage and retain the advocates they depend on to achieve their vision for a better world. Their cloud based donor management application is rooted in principles of philanthropy, simple to use and focused on empowering your team to achieve remarkable results through enhanced donor loyalty.
DonorPerfect/SofterWare is based in Horsham, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. The organization was founded in 1981 with a mission to develop and support software that is easy to learn, easy to use, and adaptable to users’ unique needs. The company has grown over 30 years from a small entrepreneurial business to a $30 million+ company with over 10,000 nonprofit, childcare, camp, school and payment processing clients. We credit our longevity and success to our team’s dedication to providing complete customer satisfaction through outstanding products and services.
*charter member of the Donor Software Group
DonorTrends is on a mission to educate, equip, and inspire fundraisers to use mathematics to elevate their marketing strategies. Providing actionable intelligence to enable nonprofit organizations of all sizes, to focus on the right donors, at the right time, with the right message.
Nonprofit Organization Sponsors (in alpha order):
Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI) is the North American Division’s (NAD) internal consulting department, and is both a one-stop shop and a gateway to services. The institutions we serve are Seventh-day Adventist® universities/colleges, hospitals and other healthcare institutions, churches, schools, youth camps, community services, supporting ministries and other Adventist organizations which use the services we provide to instruct, inform and support their philanthropic programs.
The Y is a nonprofit like no other. That’s because in 10,000 neighborhoods across the nation, we have the presence and partnerships to not just promise, but deliver, positive change. We know that lasting personal and social change comes about when we all work together. That’s why, at the Y, strengthening community is our cause.
Data Partners (donor software firms currently providing data for the Growth in Giving database, in alpha order):
Abila is the leading provider of software and services to nonprofit organizations and associations that help them improve decision making, execute with greater precision, increase engagement, and generate more revenue. Abila combines decades of industry insight with technology know-how to serve more than 8,000 customers across North America.
NeonCRM provides technology with a purpose, so we understand that your data is more than just data — it represents your donors, the communities you serve, and the impact your organization makes. As a cloud database built for nonprofits, we’re honored to participate in this project to help your organization fundraise more effectively, retain more donors, and grow your mission.
Associations of Fundraising Professionals Endorsing the Project
- Association Foundation Group
- Association of Donor Relations Professionals
- Council for Resource Development
Other Creative and Engaged Organizations
The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is dedicated to improving philanthropy by training and empowering students and practitioners to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change in the world.
For 59 years, fundraisers, nonprofit leaders, donors and volunteers, scholars, and other individuals who work in or with the charitable sector have counted on Giving USA to provide the most comprehensive charitable giving data available. No other source provides the context for annual giving like Giving USA.
Our vision is simple; we want to develop extraordinary leaders in the world of philanthropy. Everything we do is designed to help elevate the fundraising consulting and nonprofit services industry and enhance the philanthropic sector, all while advancing your own career.
The Science of Philanthropy Initiative (SPI) is a research and outreach project that utilizes rigorous quantitative methods and partnerships with the philanthropic community to explore the motivations behind charitable giving.
Our goal is to continue to build up this section of the site so that we are listing a wide variety of partners that build our credibility; we consider this to be a beginning.
Steering Committee Members:
Erik J. Daubert, MBA, ACFRE – Chair, Growth in Giving Initiative
Erik J. Daubert is regarded as a leader in the areas of financial development and nonprofit management. In addition to a broad based career in nonprofits, he has also served as a consultant and founding partner in multiple nonprofit and for profit organizations. He has written several publications on fund raising and nonprofit management including books and articles on topics ranging from annual to capital to endowment as well as major gifts, donor cultivation,volunteer management, grant getting and more.
His latest book (Co-Authored) is entitled Strategies and Tools to Raise Money and is published through John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (2012). Erik currently serves as Chair of the Growth in Giving Initiative and is an Affiliated Scholar with the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at The Urban Institute.
Jon Biedermann has served the nonprofit industry for more than 20 years and was the founder of DonorPerfect Online, one of the leading fundraising software products used by thousands of nonprofit organizations across the world. Besides joining the Fundraising Effectiveness Project in 2006, he serves on the boards of The Giving Institute and local community nonprofit groups including baseball and basketball youth sport organizations. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Sue, their 4 children, and 3 cats.
Elizabeth Boris, Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, The Urban Institute
Elizabeth T. Boris is Director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute and in August 2015, she became the Waldemar A. Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, where she is a visiting professor of practice. In September of 1996, Dr. Boris became the founding director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. The Center conducts research on the role and impact of nonprofit organizations and the policy issues that affect them.
Randy Fox – Director, Fundraising Fitness Test
Randy Fox serves as Business Manager at PSI and is responsible for overseeing and handling all financial transactions. Randy also trains fundraisers to use the FEP Fundraising Fitness Test to analyze their performance. During his tenure, he has compiled and sold 27 of the 30 Editions of the Giving is Caring philanthropic quote calendar, helped plan nine Conferences on Philanthropy, and functioned in various key support roles under three departmental directors.
Nathan Dietz, who joined the Urban Institute in April 2013 as a Senior Research Associate in the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, leads the Urban Institute’s research for the Fundraising Effectiveness Project and Growth in Giving Initiative. He is currently serving as the Associate Director for the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), and is a member of the AFP Research Council and the Giving USA Advisory Council on Methodology. Prior to joining the Urban Institute, he held positions at the Partnership for Public Service and at the Corporation for National and Community Service, as well as an appointment as Assistant Professor of Political Science in the School of Public Affairs at American University. He earned an M.A. in 1996, and a Ph.D. in 1999, in political science from the University of Rochester.
Jon Durnford is principal consultant for DataLake llc, providing management, research, and information technology services to the nonprofit sector. Recent projects include public charity and private foundation research at the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) at Urban Institute, director of the National Analytic Database for the Growth in Giving/ Fundraising Effectiveness Initiatives (GiG/FEP), and contributing researcher for Giving USA Foundation’s Giving USA report.
Bill Levis – Manager
Bill is Project Manager of AFP’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) and an Affiliated Scholar in the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.He has a long history of investigation into fundraising costs and productivity with numerous articles, papers and projects going back to the 1970s, when he organized and directed the NSFR Fundraising Cost Study (1975–1981).
Jay Love – Chair, AFP Fundraising Effectiveness Project Website
Jay B. Love is CEO and Co-Founder of Bloomerang. He most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Avectra. Prior to Avectra, he was CEO of Social Solutions and Senior Vice President of the Arts and Cultural Division of Blackbaud. Jay is co-chair of the AFP Donor Software Group.
Terry Rauh, Association of Fundraising Professionals
Lilya Wagner, Ed.D., CFRE is director of Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI), a North America Division service of the Seventh-day Adventists. Her published writings include books, articles and book chapters on philanthropy, fundraising and the nonprofit sector, along with books and numerous articles on a variety of interest and professional topics. Lilya holds a doctorate in education from the University of Florida in Gainesville and has two master’s degrees in journalism and music.
Andrew Watt, FInstF, is President and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Andrew views nonprofits as a critical interface between the public and government and is an outspoken advocate and champion for philanthropy on Capitol Hill, in the Canadian Parliament and other legislatures around the world. He has been appointed to the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt Organisations (ACT) and has served on the Public Policy Committee of Independent Sector since 2012. He has been invited to speak in many countries about fundraising and philanthropy, working to bring charities and governments together to maximize the impact of philanthropy and help engage citizens with their communities and their world. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and is married with two children.
Cathlene Williams, Ph.D., CAE (ret.) – AFP Coordinator, Fundraising Effectiveness Project
Cathy Williams is a consultant specializing in curriculum development, project management and business writing. She is a former AFP staff member and is currently a consultant to AFP for FEP, ACFRE, research programs and other professional advancement projects.
Additional Members of the Project Work Group:
Alphonce Brown, ACFRE
James M. Greenfield, ACFRE, FAHP
Jim Greenfield’s 40-year fundraising career included three Universities and five hospitals on the East and West Coasts of America. He retired from Hoag Memorial Presbyterian Hospital in Newport Beach, California in February 2001 after 14 years as Senior Vice President, Resource Development and Executive Director, Hoag Hospital Foundation. The author and editor of ten books and more than 40 articles and chapters on fundraising management, he is among the first to tackle measuring fundraising performance for effectiveness and efficiency.
Benjamin Miller is a consummate entrepreneur drawing upon degrees in mathematics and systems engineering to advance database marketing in the non-profit industry. Ben Miller is the Chief Analytic Officer at DonorTrends, and has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars from millions of donors over his career.
Kristin Priest serves as a Senior Consultant and is lead strategist for Prospector Programs at Pursuant. With over fifteen years experience as a consultant, coach and fundraiser, Kristin has partnered with a wide variety of nonprofits providing consulting services and professional development training. Prior to joining Pursuant, Kristin served for nine years as the associate director of Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI). She began her career as a gift officer and annual giving director for Texas Christian University and Washington Adventist University.
Steven Shattuck – FEP Webmaster
Nick Ricci – AFP Webmaster