Nonprofit Leadership Impact: A Study By MobileCause

by May 1, 2018Resources

Leadership is essential when it comes to being successful. This is especially true when it comes to nonprofit leadership and fundraising. Being a great leader means being able to have a social influence over others. This means being able to enlist the help and support of others. Nothing is more important to your organization than support specifically when fundraising. Our friends at MobileCause have recently put together a nonprofit leadership impact survey. We at Charity Charms thought this information from Phil Mueller was so valuable we would pass it along to you. Enjoy!

2018 Nonprofit Leadership Impact Survey


As the rest of the world evolves, so does the nonprofit world. There have been many changes in the past few years especially in 2017. These changes seem to challenge and take out sector out of its traditional fundraising mindset. To flourish in this ever-changing market, leaders have to understand and adapt to the modern nonprofit business model.

We are excited to reveal the findings of The 2018 Nonprofit Leadership Impact Study we held in partnership with NonProfit PRO. In this study, we discovered how nonprofit leadership teams manage their day-to-day business operations. We did this in order to uncover how leaders can continue to flourish in the sector.

With more than 1.8 million nonprofits in the U.S., it’s important now more than ever to ensure long-term success with a strong leadership team. A strong leadership team not only understands the fundamentals of effective fundraising but also holds value the invaluable skills and know-how of running a successful business.

What We Found Out

  • How to Measure Success
  • The Biggest Nonprofit Challenges
  • Retention and Acquisition Rates

How to Measure Success


nonprofit leadership impact survey outcome chart


While all these options are important factors to consider, the top two answers were more focused on certain ideas. Specifically on attracting more donors and not on obtaining quality, lifetime donors. Ensuring long-term nonprofit success should be heavily weighted on the quality of donors and donations. This is why nonprofits may be missing an opportunity for growth.

If nonprofits drove their focus more on gaining and retaining quality donors not only will the percentage of donor retention improve but so will a variety of factors. For example, the number of donors, average donation size, and amount of major/legacy gifts improve.

And this will ensure a long-lasting relationship with each donor which will, in turn, provide the nonprofit with sustainable, long-term success.

Retention and Acquisition Rates


nonprofit leadership retention rate


nonprofit leadership acquisition rate


Almost 50% of respondents estimate that out of their entire donor base, under 20% are newly acquired each year. A very small amount (13%) said newly acquired donors are higher, because of the continuous outreach to bring in new donors. For example, through campaigns like #GivingTuesday. When it comes to donor retention, 34% estimated 51 to 75% of their donors return each year. Twenty-two percent said that they retain about 75 to 100% of their donors each year. This is a surprising but gratifying fact! It means that these organizations are doing something right in attempts to retain their donors.



We are in an age where innovation and technological advancement is skyrocketing at an extremely rapid pace. The nonprofit landscape, while still effective at the traditional fundraising methods (e.g. direct mail, face-to-face) is transforming into one that is adopting high-level tactics. For example, data, analytics, and yes, even Artificial Intelligence. We are in an age where reaching out and engaging new and existing donors is only a click away. Moreover, communication through online platforms is accessible through mobile devices. Although we have to hit the mega jackpot in terms of technology, that’s the problem as well.

As more technologies come out, the more difficult it is to identify which technologies to implement into your nonprofits. By the same token, the more complex it is to learn about and stay up-to-date with all of the digital trends. In summary, there are plenty of challenges facing our industry. To overcome these challenges and become the best version of our nonprofit that we can be, we have to understand and relate to everyone in our organization. Especially, staff members, board members, donors and other supporters. In other words, we must be premier relationship builders. We have to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, strategies, and technologies, and effectively implement them into our nonprofit strategy.

Hot Tip: 

Mobile fundraising is the newest strategy to emerge in the nonprofit space, and not enough nonprofits are experimenting with it. All generations connect via mobile phone and often overlooked Baby Boomers, are not strangers to appreciating the convenience of their mobile devices and giving online.

Download our full study to get a comprehensive look at the nonprofit sector landscape and learn how the top nonprofit leaders are driving the most successful and desirable outcomes. And as always, stay passionate and continue to make a difference.

The above content was created by MobileCause’s SVP of Customer Success, Phil Mueller. 

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