Indigo benchmarking

Benchmarking global fundraising performance

Indigo benchmarking
The IFL forum's INDIGO study is the largest study of Individual Giving fundraising performance in the world. Last year Adroit presented the findings through 19 webinars, each focused on the findings specific to that country to fundraisers from participating organisations

the problem

The charity sector has a rich history of sharing information and best practice across organisations, and in the past few years a wide range of benchmarks have been initiated to help fundraisers better understand what’s happening in their category or market.  And given the increased volatility and uncertainty in the sector benchmarks provide a increasingly vital source of insight for fundraisers.

If you’ve investigated joining a benchmark study you’ll be aware they fall into two camps – those which ask charities to complete a short questionnaire that asks for various metrics to be entered.  The other type takes a different path with each charity contributing their actual gift transactional data, and other information held at the anonymised account or supporter level.  The International Fundraising Leadership Forum (The IFL Forum) study called Indigo is the latter – a benchmarking study based on the actual transactions from supporters of each participating charity.  Obviously a very different undertaking than asking fundraisers to fill in a form!

If you’ve ever undertaken a benchmarking project of your own you’ll appreciate the complexity and consideration that goes into a benchmarking study.  The IFL wanted to do it not in one market, but simultaneously across the globe – able to include any charity that wished to participate, from any country. 

To make their ambition a reality, they turned to Adroit.


the solution

Adroit have been working with the IFL since 2017 to develop and run the study. During that time the study has become one of the most comprehensive benchmark studies in the world, involving over 100 individual participants annually including Amnesty International, MSF, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Red Cross, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages, UNHCR, UNICEF and World Vision among many others.

The study looks across the globe to European, Asian, North & South American markets, and allows organisations to understand in incredible detail how they are performing in the markets or countries within which they fundraise.

Adroit have revolutionised the benchmarking deliverables by engineering the available data and developing specific insight and applications aimed at senior fundraisers. The application can be accessed by each organisations analysts to drill down to more specific analysis. This allows different users to access information from the same  normalised dataset and gain insight relevant to their markets. The applications are now being used globally by hundreds of fundraisers to better understand the dynamics in their market and how they rank against similar organisations.

Because charities have supplied data at a transactional level it means insights can be developed across a very broad range of topics – each included to reflect exactly what fundraisers wanted to understand.  In 2022 these included the six year performance trends for:

  • Market volumes
  • Brand share
  • Acquisition performance by channel and proposition
  • Regular giving performance, including attrition by channel and proposition
  • Single giving performance, including conversion to regular giving
  • Reactivation
  • Lifetime value trends

The task of developing the dataset is a huge undertaking with more than a few obstacles.   Some of the more challenging obstacles Adroit had to overcome ranged from the complex, such as how best to convert giving values from currencies across the world into Euros and USD while factoring in currency exchange rate fluctuations, to the cultural issue of ensuring all the participants adhere to the same terminology and definition for different metrics.

the outcomes

Adroit provides the Indigo insights into global fundraising trends in two distinct ways.

On-line dashboards

Firstly, participating organisations have year long access to their own Indigo online dashboard that makes all of their fundraising data available on demand, while giving them the option to create additional analysis tailored to your fundraising needs.  This means each charity can delve, explore, probe and pick apart the data for their own performance along with their competitive set whenever they wish – maximising the opportunities to gain valuable insights.  And given the breadth of the data, it means whether you’re focussed on recruitment or development, committed giving or legacy, can all benefit.

Interactive webinars

The ambition of Indigo is to drive global fundraising excellence, so an important feature of Adroit’s contribution is to enable fundraisers from different organisations and across different countries to discuss the trends for that year and explore what contributed to an organisations success in specific areas, for instance ‘how is organisation X  over performing in converting single givers to regular givers’. 

Last year Adroit presented and led nineteen, 3 hour webinars – each focusing upon a different country.  The sessions are collaborative, and participants can share their experiences and interpretation to add context to the data, providing additional insights.  Each webinar is recorded and can be shared within participating organisations’.

Compared to many other sectors, the charity sector can pride itself on sharing best practice through conferences like the IFC and resources such as Sofii – and the Adroit webinars are yet another opportunity to really get to understand how the market is performing.  We know for many charities the opportunity to discuss with other fundraisers what’s happening in the market, and why, is a tremendous advantage and a hugely valuable part of belonging to Indigo.

Delivering nearly 60 hours of trend analysis and insight is a formidable (if not terrifying) prospect!  So it’s a great testament to the efforts of the presenting team – Jessie, Emily, Louis, Ross and Philippa – that the participants scored the webinars so highly for their usefulness – 4.3 out 5.


For further information on INDIGO please visit the INDIGO product page

Markets covered
Participating organisations
Donor records
Qty of giving transactions
UNICEF has participated in the Indigo project from the beginning. The insights it provides into patterns of giving by individual donors is unique. There’s no other product that offers so much information at a global, regional and market level, and in so much detail. Whenever we ask the question ‘Where can we improve?’ Indigo is one of the first products to provide answers.
Steve Andrews Senior Advisor, Fundraising Investment and Analysis, UNICEF