Research & Reports

How Are Fundraisers Spending Their Week?

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A new report from global CRM leader,, finds that fundraisers spend, in any given week, the most time on major gifts, followed up by different kinds of grant writing, events and membership work.

The 2019 Nonprofit Fundraising Productivity and Effectiveness Report, conducted by Povaddo, a leading public opinion research agency, surveyed over 300 nonprofit fundraising professionals throughout the United States to understand current trends, opportunities, and challenges with respect to fundraising productivity and the role of constituent relationship management (CRM) systems.

The report dives deep into important data around how fundraisers can be more efficient and use technology to support their day to day. Top takeaways are:

  • Major gifts are the greatest source of revenue for nonprofit organizations, and if development teams had more time, 65% said they would spend it here.

    However, earned income was identified as the most productive way to generate revenue when looking at its proportional contribution to overall revenue as a function of the amount of staff time it requires. Just 43 percent of charities reported generating revenue through earned income.
  • Most fundraising professionals reported that their organizations exceeded their fundraising goals last year.

    The vast majority of fundraising professionals surveyed indicated that their organizations use a CRM system, and those that do not use a CRM system were significantly less likely to have exceeded their fundraising goals during the past year.
  • On average, nonprofits are raising funds via eight different methods.

    All fundraising professionals surveyed indicated that their organizations raised funds from multiple sources, with the most common sources being: online donations, annual giving campaigns, major gifts, corporate grants, events, and direct mail. Earned income, peer-to-peer campaigns, and membership are the three least common sources with less than 50% of respondents indicating that these are sources that their organizations rely upon.
  • Most fundraising professionals said their organizations would consider using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help with fundraiser productivity and achieving fundraising goals.

    While the willingness to consider AI transcends organizational size, ranging from 54% at the smallest organizations to 59% at the largest organizations, fundraising professionals at organizations that fell short of their fundraising goals during the past year expressed greater interest in AI than those who work at organizations that exceeded their fundraising goals (62% vs. 55%, respectively).
  • The degree to which CRM systems have been adopted beyond fundraising teams is completely mixed – from being widely adopted to barely adopted.

    Organizations in which CRM systems have been widely adopted throughout the organization (meaning 75%+ of the organization) are more likely to indicate they exceeded their fundraising goals last year compared to those organizations in which CRM systems are not as widely adopted.
  • CRM system usage beyond fundraising departments is somewhat limited.

    The report finds that while 97% of fundraising teams had access to a CRM system and data, only 47% of marketing, and a mere 36% of programs teams, had access.
  • Organizations that have more than four types of data living within their CRM system are more likely to have exceeded their fundraising goals last year.

    Furthermore, respondents who reported meeting or exceeding their fundraising goals during the past year rated the quality of the data within their organizations’ CRM system higher than those respondents who reported falling short of their fundraising goals.
  • By a wide margin, fundraising professionals said that the greatest benefit of CRM systems is data centralization.

    The study also finds, however, that many nonprofit organizations are not taking advantage of some of the latest productivity features that are available in today’s CRM systems (e.g., mobile, email connectors/trackers) which, in turn, may be adversely impacting overall user experience.

For more information on these top takeaways and other key findings, please download the full report at

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