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: 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:

Association of Fundraising Professionals

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.

Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at The Urban Institute

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 - RGB largeDonorPerfect/SofterWare*

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

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 monthly data for the Growth in Giving database, in alpha order):


*founding partner

Additional Data Partners (donor software firms currently providing annual data extracts for the FEP annual report):

Data Management Services

Datalake, LLC

DataLake, LLC has a long history of excellence in the field of nonprofit research; offering unique insight and evidence-based solutions that strengthen charities and communities since 2002.

Associations of Fundraising Professionals Endorsing the Project

  • Association Foundation Group
  • Association of Donor Relations Professionals
  • CASE
  • National Association of Charitable Gift Planners
  • Council for Resource Development

Other Creative and Engaged Organizations

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

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.

Giving USA

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.

Giving Institute

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.

Science of Philanthropy Initiative

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:


Elizabeth Boris, Chair, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

Elizabeth T. Boris is former Director and current Fellow 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.

Erik DaubertErik J. Daubert, MBA, ACFRE – Chair, Growth in Giving Biweekly Work Group and member, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

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-BJon Biedermann, member, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

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.

Thom M. Digman, CFRE member, FEP Fundraising Fitness Test and Growth
in Giving Bi-Weekly Work Group, Chair—FEP-Applying Activity-Based
Management (ABM) to Fundraising Study Group

Thom M. Digman is a Principal of The Digman Network—an advancement advisory and counselling firm focusing on assisting mission-driven non-profits. He has over thirty years of progressively responsible mission advancement experience. An AFP Master Trainer, he loves talking about Fundraising Fitness, Donor Retention, and Measuring What Matters in fundraising.

Nathan-DietzNathan Dietz, member, Growth in Giving Biweekly Work Group

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-DurnfordJon Durnford, member, Growth in Giving Biweekly Work Group

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.

Randy Fox

Randy Fox – Director, FEP Fundraising Fitness Test and member, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

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.

Jeff Gordy, member, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

Jeff Gordy is the CEO & Co-Founder of Neon, and a nature and animal loving entrepreneur that loves to help nonprofits. Jeff previously served as the IT Director for the Kidney Cancer Association and had the goal of creating the best CRM and fundraising system specifically built for nonprofits. Neon has been one of the fastest growing companies in the US for the past few years and has been listed on the INC 5000 multiple times. He has worked with many nonprofits for over 15 years and currently serves on the board of The Giving Institute.

Jim-GJames M. Greenfield, ACFRE, FAHP, member, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

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.

Lori Gusdorf, CAE, member, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

Lori Gusdorf is the Executive Vice President of the AFP Foundations for Philanthropy located in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.   The philanthropic arm of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Foundations provide funding for scholarships, educational programs, research, diversity and inclusion and leadership development.  Prior to taking on this position in December 2016, Lori was the AFP Vice President of Membership and Chapter Services for 26 years.

Bill LevisBill Levis – Manager, Fundraising Effectiveness Project and member, Growth in Giving Biweekly Work Group

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

Jay Love – Chair, AFP Fundraising Effectiveness Project Website and member, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

Jay B. Love is is the chief relationship officer and co-founder of Bloomerang. He has served this sector for 35 years.   He has been the CEO of four companies serving the nonprofit sector. He is currently a member of the AFP Ethics Committee and former member of the AFP International Board. He 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.

Ben-MBen Miller, member, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

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.

Heather McGinnis, CNM, CFRE, member Growth in Giving Biweekly Work Group

Heather R. McGinness, CNM, CFRE, is a seasoned nonprofit executive and AFP Master Trainer, experienced in several areas of the philanthropic sector, including higher education, human services, associations, faith-based and international relief and development organizations. She currently serves as Vice President for Advancement at Concordia College-New York.

With over 19 years of nonprofit experience, she has an extensive background in leadership and management; fundraising; marketing and communications; grant seeking; strategic planning and analytics.

Michael Nilsen, member, Growth In Giving Biweekly Work Group

Lori Overmyer, member, Growth in Giving Biweekly Work Group

Lilya-WagnerLilya Wagner. Ed.D., CFRE, member, Growth in Giving Steering Committee

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.

Cathlene WilliamsCathlene Williams, Ph.D., FEP Education Coordinator, and member, Growth in Giving Biweekly Work Group

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.

Steven Shattuck – FEP Webmaster

Nick Ricci – AFP Webmaster