Over the past six years More Strategic’s Profitability Benchmarking has delivered invaluable insights to fundraising decision makers in more than 80 organisations. Using granular income, direct cost, salary cost and staff headcount the benchmarking gives a great picture of how your organisation performs compared to others for measures such as:

  • Return on investment by program.
  • 5-, 2- and 1-year growth rates by program, gross and net
  • Fundraising mix along with reliance and ratio charts
  • Accelerator charts examining the rate of growth of income compared to costs.
    Each bubble represents the total income from the type of fundraising in 2021


    Each bubble represents an organisation, the size of bubble illustrates the non-bequest fundraising income.

    This analysis has helped illuminate the unusual situation for the past two years where, overall, the income from fundraising increased whilst costs decreased, leading to an improvement in the cost income ratio.

    “This contradicted everything we have ever said about fundraising: you can’t grow income without investing,” says As Martin Paul from More Strategic says. “However, the improved cost ratio was largely unintentional as organisations couldn’t invest in their events or acquisition and I think we’ll begin to see the impact of that in the 2022 numbers”

    This year More Strategic are adding more insights by collecting key numbers across core programs. “Smaller organisations don’t have the number of donors to participate in the big transactional benchmarking studies, like The Benchmarking Project, so we worked together to see how we could make powerful benchmarking results more accessible, whatever the size of organisation,” says Martin.

    As a result, in addition to financial measures, More Strategic’s Profitability Benchmarking will now collect additional data (see image below) to enrich the insights and help fundraisers make smart, evidence-based decisions.

Adding in these data fields will help any organisation answer some of the critical questions that fundraisers, CEOs and Boards are asking:

  • Are we getting the right return on every dollar we invest?
  • Where should we be investing more for a better return?
  • How much more could we be raising if we reach industry best practice measures?
  • Is my database growing (or shrinking) at a faster or slower rate than the market?
  • Am I getting enough from each donor?
  • Am I spending the right amount on acquiring new donors?
  • How does my grant application success rate compare to others?
  • Am I getting enough out of each of my corporate partnerships?
  • Do I have the right number of major donors for the size of my database?
  • Are there enough people in my bequest pipeline for the size of my database?
  • Are my staff managing the right number of high value relationships across trusts, corporate, major donors and the bequest pipeline?
  • How great is my risk of being overly reliant on a single funder in my high value programs?

Reporting on each of these areas will be split by size of organisations so people can compare ‘apples with apples’ and make realistic assessments of how they perform.

The benchmarking reporting this year will also feature a special report for smaller organisations, provide a summary table of all results and make ‘what if calculations’ to estimate the opportunities available for each organisation. Through the partnership between More Strategic and The Benchmarking Project, smaller organisations can now get the best of both worlds: detailed transactional reporting at a sector level AND in-depth analysis of their own performance.

“We really want to democratise insights and these new measures will give fundraisers and boards the confidence to make the right decisions to weather the economic storms ahead,” says Martin.

All data is deidentified and can be added at any time. Participating clients get a full report (with over 500 charts), summary dashboards and tables and a two-hour presentation of results to their fundraising team. In addition, you can choose to have summary results presented to help inform and engage your Board.


What other fundraisers are saying

“We participated in More Strategics’ Profitability Benchmarking for the first time in 2017 and have been impressed by the number of meaningful insights it has provided into the sector as a whole and MSF’s program in particular.  Through the workshop More Strategic provided robust commentary on industry trends and pulled out the priority areas of focus for MSF in order to maximize performance.  I have no hesitation in recommending participation in this study to any charity wanting to better understand their program performance, to drive strategic investment and to grow their fundraising program,” said Warrick Saunders, who was Director Fundraising at Médecins Sans Frontières at the time of the study.

For more information, visit the website.