Welcome to The Blackbaud Index

 It can be difficult for non-profits to make fundraising decisions informed by the latest donor behaviour. Economic conditions, political changes, market fluctuations and a host of other factors can all affect fundraising. That is why we created the Blackbaud Index — to provide actionable insight into donor trends as well as valuable analysis by leaders in the sector as to what fundraisers can learn from it.


Blackbaud Index

About the Index

Blackbaud is the largest provider of software and services to non-profits in the world. Our software is used by more than 35,000 organisations in 60 countries. Each day we work with non-profits of all sizes and sectors, from charities working locally with their community to NGOs operating all over the world. The Index was devised by Blackbaud’s Chief Scientist, Chuck Longfield who launched the first Blackbaud Index in the US back in 2010. The Index has gone on to provide valuable insight to thousands of organisations and many more fundraising professionals. Now it’s launching in the UK, and to put it mildly, we’re really quite excited.

This sounds great – can I have some more information?

Yes, yes you can. We report the Index as a three-month moving median of year-over-year percent changes in giving. What exactly does this mean? Each month, we add up all of the giving for the prior three months and compare this total to the same three months one year earlier. Then we calculate the annual percentage change for each organisation in our Index. Why do we do it like this? Well, many organisations have big campaigns that occur at roughly the same time each year. However, if an event was in late April one year but early May the next, the change in monthly giving might be significant while the change in giving over a three-month period might actually be the same. An index based on a moving median is less sensitive to these small timing issues and will serve as a more practical decision-making tool.

What data is included in the Blackbaud Index?

Each month, we use the actual giving statistics of hundreds of UK organisations to determine how much revenue was raised in the prior month. We include giving from all sources of fundraising activities: direct mail, telemarketing, face-to-face fundraising, email, online, mobile giving, events, and major giving. We do not include the unfulfilled portion of pledge gifts, but we do include the donated value of in-kind gifts. We include giving from individuals, corporations and foundations, but do not include gifts to private and community foundations or other intermediaries. To include these gifts would double-count the revenue when those organisations subsequently make grants to other non-profits. Lastly, we do include adjustments made to gifts (e.g. bounced cheques) to provide a more accurate accounting of real revenues. As a result, you may find that previous months’ values change slightly with each release, as we obtain newly-adjusted data from each organisation.

How will the Blackbaud Index change over time?

We continually assess our Blackbaud Index dataset and review our potential to produce new indices either by sector or channel, in an overall effort to provide the fundraising community with more specific and meaningful benchmarks. Knowing how an organisation compares to similar cohorts by size, mission, techniques or other shared attributes can be invaluable when trying to determine if it was strategy, implementation, economies of scale, or donor behaviour that drove results.

We’re sure many of you who share our passion for the non-profit sector will have great ideas for other directions in which we can take these indices. We hope you find these initial indices useful, but if you have suggestions please do let us know at bbindex@blackbaud.co.uk.


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