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:

AFP and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy

Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has inspired global change—helping nonprofits and charities and supporting fundraising efforts that have generated more than $1 trillion. AFP advances effective and ethical philanthropy by providing advocacy, research, education, mentoring, collaboration and technology opportunities for the world’s largest network of professional fundraisers. AFP’s more than 33,000 members raise more than $115 billion annually, equivalent to approximately one-third of charitable giving in North America, with millions more generated around the world.

The AFP Foundation for Philanthropy enhances philanthropy and volunteerism through programs of education, research, and service that benefit those who lead, serve and support nonprofit institutions. The purpose of the Foundation is to generate resources for strategic initiatives that advance fundraising worldwide.

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
*founding data partner


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 and data consulting firms currently providing monthly data and analysis for the Growth in Giving database, in alphabetical order):

The Biedermann Group, led by 25-year industry veteran Jon Biedermann, is a consulting, fundraising software, and holding company for growth-oriented businesses, serving the nonprofit space and related stakeholders.

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.

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.

DonorPerfect Fundraising Software is one of the largest fundraising software companies in the world and consistently achieves the highest rankings and awards on independent review sites.

Neon One is the best in class software and services built to drive growth for nonprofits, foundations, and educational institutions of all sizes.

Associations of Fundraising Professionals Endorsing the Project

  • Association Foundation Group
  • Association of Donor Relations Professionals
  • CASE
  • National Association of Charitable Gift Planners

Other Creative and Engaged Organizations


BoardSource is the only organization focused exclusively on nonprofit board practices and inspiring board service.  It provides services to inspire and support excellence in nonprofit governance and board and staff leadership. Its “Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness” (MFE) project was endorsed by AFP in 2017 and is a cornerstone for the FEP Activity-Based Management project.

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.

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.

Greater Washington Society of CPAs 

The Greater Washington Society of CPAs serves more than 3,000 CPA and Non-CPA members in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.  Its activities are designed to help members in their professional practice and career advancement. A collaborative with AFP and Philanthropic Services for Institutions (PSI), and GWSCPA has developed the Excel-based FEP-ABM “Fundraising Net Analyzer (FNA)” (see Tools page).

Steering Committee Members:

Elizabeth Boris, Chair, Growth in Giving Steering Committee and member, Biweekly Work Group

Elizabeth T. Boris, Ph.D. is an Institute Fellow, a position she has held since 2016 at the Urban Institute where she was founding director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy from 1996-2016.  The Center, a co-founder of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, conducts research on the roles and impacts of nonprofit organizations and the policy issues that affect them and hosts the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS).  Dr. Boris has authored many research publications and served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees.


Jon Biedermann, Vice Chair, Growth in Giving Steering Committee and member, Biweekly Work Group

Jon Biedermann has served the nonprofit industry for more than 25 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 Giving USA Foundation, as well as local community nonprofit groups including baseball and basketball youth sports organizations.  He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Sue, their 4 children, 3 cats and one puppy.


Ben Miller, Secretary, Growth in Giving Steering Committee and Chair, Biweekly Work Group

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.

Tim Sarrantonio, Treasurer, Growth in Giving Steering Committee and member, Biweekly Work Group

Tim Sarrantonio oversees Neon One’s ecosystem of software, consultant, and institutional partners that can address any nonprofit need. Neon One provides best in class products with NeonCRM, Rallybound, CiviCore, Arts People, and an ecosystem that ensures that over 27 product integrations and over 90 consultants are working to solve problems specific to nonprofits.


Erik J. Daubert, MBA, ACFRE, Immediate Past Chair, 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 fundraising 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.

Thom M. Digman, CFRE, member, Bi-Weekly Work Group and Growth in Giving Steering Committee; 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 counseling 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 Dietz, member, Biweekly Work Group and Growth in Giving Steering Committee

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, member, Biweekly Work Group and Growth in Giving Steering Committee

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, member, Biweekly Work Group and Growth in Giving Steering Committee; Director, FEP 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.


James M. Greenfield, ACFRE, FAHP, member, Biweekly Work Group and 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, Biweekly Work Group and 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 Levis

Bill Levis, member, Biweekly Work Group; Manager, Fundraising Effectiveness Project

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, member, Biweekly Work Group and 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.

Lori Hunter Overmyer, MBA, CFRE, member, Biweekly Work Group and Growth in Giving Steering Committee

Lori Hunter Overmyer, who chairs the AFP Research Council, has more than 25 years of professional fundraising experience with a focus on the arts, and social and human service organizations. A consultant with Goettler Associates, Inc. since 2005, she has lent her knowledge of marketing research, proposal writing, personal donor cultivation, recognition strategies and volunteer leadership to some of the Columbus, Ohio’s most successful capital campaigns. An accomplished and successful speaker, she is frequently called upon to offer her take on topics as varied as major gifts, grants writing, donor metrics, and public-private partnerships.

Cathlene Williams

Cathlene Williams, Ph.D., member, Biweekly Work Group and Growth in Giving Steering Committee

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.