Insights and Trends - Public Media Fundraising
Three trends within public radio fundraising are the significant growth in the number of donors, the increasing percentage of donors who become sustainers, and major gift donors who are accounting for an increasing percentage of revenue. The information about and supporting data for those trends within public radio fundraising is included below.
THREE TRENDS WITHIN PUBLIC RADIO FUNDRAISING
1. SIGNIFICANT GROWTH IN NUMBER OF DONORS
One trend within public radio fundraising is the significant increase in the total number of annual donors. From 2013 to 2016, the number of annual donors differed by a maximum of 1,000 donors. However, in 2017 the number of donors rose by 3,500. Furthermore, 81% of public radio stations experienced an increase in the number of donors in 2017. Of that 81% of public radio stations, approximately 50% have incurred double-digit increases in the number of donors.
2. PERCENTAGE OF DONORS WHO BECOME SUSTAINERS
A second trend within public radio fundraising is the percentage of donors who become sustaining donors of public radio stations. Data shows that the percentage of donors who are sustainers of public radio stations ranges between 27% and 82% across such stations. In fact, that 82% figure marked the peak record for such and was the second consecutive year that such peak value was achieved. This is an important trend because at the 24-month mark following their acquisition as radio station donors, sustainers' value is 26% greater than "single-gift donors."
3. MAJOR-GIFT DONORS ACCOUNT FOR INCREASING PERCENTAGE REVENUE
A third trend within public radio fundraising is that major-gift donors are accounting for an increasing percentage of "revenue from single-gift donors." In 2017, "revenue from major-gift sourced donations accounted for 18 percent of all revenue from single-gift donors." That percentage has increased six percent since 2013 when its value was 12%. Furthermore, the percentage of total public radio station donors in 2017 who contributed at least $1,000 annually was 1.5%.
Additionally, in both 2017 and 2018, there has been a record-setting donation to a public radio station. In 2017, a $10 million donation was made by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation to New York Public Radio. In 2018, "a $10 million donation . . . [was made by] an anonymous donor known as 'Suzanne' to Seattle's KEXP" public radio station. Both of those massive donations were made within a six-month time frame. To put the size of that Seattle public radio station donation into perspective, the station's operating budget over a two-year period is $8 million.