Regular Giving Insight and Benchmarking Project

Our award-winning Regular Giving Insight and Benchmarking Project gives participants a robust way of understanding the health, success and potential of their regular giving programme.

Successful regular giving programmes aren’t just about getting more donors. When run well they, can be a source of reliable unrestricted funds; the engine rooms for driving long-term donor engagement; cultivation grounds for mid-level donors and future legacies; and a place where major donors are identified or qualified. But that’s not all. They cleanse and update data, engage supporters in many one-to-one conversations, and tell the story of giving and its impact far and wide.

If you're asking questions like...

  • Is our regular/individual giving programme delivering value for money? How do we know?
  • We are struggling to find people to call in our phone campaigns each year. How should we use the phone now? And should we get an agency in to run our direct mail?
  • Should we run a giving day? Would that bring in lots of new and younger donors?
  • How do we build up our mid-level giving?
  • We seem to spend days and days doing data selections. Is there an easier way?
  • We’ve gone largely digital with our alumni communications, should we do the same with our regular giving programme?

...then our project can help.

Imperial have been participants each year since the project began. As a result, we’ve identified key areas of our programme that needed attention such as donor retention and our overall donor journey. It’s incredibly satisfying to see an issue highlighted in the data, put a strategy in place to tackle it, and then see the results of our hard work the following year. We’ve also been able to make a business case for more staff and more budget for our direct mail programme.
Heather Campbell
Deputy Director (Advancement Operations), Imperial College London

How can we help?
At the heart of mass giving programmes are people and data about those people. More is uniquely placed to help you analyse what’s been happening in your giving programmes and to use years of insight and learning to help you improve your return on investment.

We have developed our own software which answers the questions that most need asking about the performance of giving programmes. And we can ask it your own questions too.

The Regular Giving Insight and Benchmarking Project is at the heart of the insight we can deliver. A collaborative approach to understanding institutional performance which learns from your data and others’, from the participants and from our years of experience.

Our approach
We turn traditional regular / individual giving planning on its head. Instead of organising a rigid communications timetable irrespective of donor needs, we help you plan your year based on a number of donor segments. We ask what each population of donors needs to give them a satisfying giving experience, one which makes them feel good and raises money for you.

Participants are asked to provide up to 10 years worth of giving data as well as demographic data. Through the software we specifically developed for this exercise, we then carry out analysis of all giving up to £10k pa, providing insight into mid-level giving as well as more traditional lower level giving.

What does it deliver?

  • Insight into solicitation activity and donor behaviour to understand how to retain and grow income and improve return on investment
  • Benchmarks that enable learning from others and also identify external factors and trends to establish and challenge best practice
  • Strategies to improve income, grow participation and develop donor relationships

Where can the impact be seen?

An increased concentration on identifying the most valuable donors, and on effective methods to retain existing donors

Income Growth

Overall improvement and a drop in the number of direct debits/standing orders with end-dates

Donor Retention

More effective as a result of better focus and, in some cases, increased budgets

Donor Acquisition

An understanding of how effective different methods of solicitation are at getting different sizes of gifts has resulted in programmes investing in more focused mid-level giving activity and resource

Value of Giving

The project quantifies lost income caused by staff absence or transition – in many cases much greater than the cost of interim cover


Significant adjustments to the balance of different channels as a result of learning from their peers

Solicitation Methods

A renewed emphasis on the importance of thoughtful and efficient data capture

Data Quality

If you are thinking about participating, prepare yourself firstly for an astounding number of graphs, and then to be utterly fascinated by what they reveal about your regular giving programme. We look forward to seeing the results of the changes we are making in our activities following Adrian and Rosie’s thoughtful and well grounded advice.
Emily Johnson
Deputy Development Director, Emmanuel College (Cambridge)

We started the benchmarking project for UK and Irish universities in 2009, with separate cohorts of Oxbridge Colleges and Australian Universities added in 2017, and some 59 institutions have taken part since its inception.

While we originally developed this for the higher education sector, the analysis could easily be adapted for mass/lower-level/regular giving in any sector, and we would be particularly keen to hear from organisations in the hospital, healthcare charity and arts sectors that would be interested in piloting this.

  • Bradford University
  • Cardiff University
  • Imperial College London
  • King's College London
  • London School of Economics
  • Loughborough University
  • Newcastle University
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Open University
  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Dublin
  • University College London
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Bath
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Kent
  • University of Lancaster
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Reading
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Surrey
  • University of Sussex
  • University of Warwick
  • University of York

  • Australian National University
  • Macquarie University
  • Monash University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • University of Wollongong

  • Balliol College, Oxford
  • Emmanuel College, Cambridge
  • Exeter College, Oxford
  • Keble College, Oxford
  • Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
  • Magdalen College, Oxford
  • Merton College, Oxford
  • New College, Oxford
  • Queen's College, Oxford
  • Somerville College, Oxford
  • St Anne's College, Oxford
  • St Catharine's College, Cambridge
  • St Catherine's College, Oxford
  • Trinity College, Oxford
  • Wadham College, Oxford


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Find out more
To find out more about the project, or to sign up for the next round of analysis, please get in touch with Adrian Beney or Rosie Dale.