Dutch legacy fundraising: growth figures!

You are a fundraiser, and therefore you like numbers, right? Next month the Dutch Central Bureau of Fundraising (CBF) will publish their annual figures. In this post I’ll give you a sneak preview on the legacy income figures.

The Dutch fundraising market is often labeled as a mature fundraising market. Whether that’s a correct label or not is debatable and subject for another post. But that there is a long giving tradition in The Netherlands is true. And that shows in the legacy income that organizations receive from their most committed donors.

I’ve analyzed the legacy income for 2004-2011 in The Netherlands (of the organizations who report to the CBF).

  • The top 40 organizations receiving the most in legacy income has increased from 154 million euro in 2004 to 219 million euro in 2011. That is an average year over year growth rate of 5.1%. (see red trend line)
  • In the past 8 years the top 40 organizations have received approximately 80% of the total Legacy income. In 2011 the top 40 organizations received even 86% (see black dotted line). The other 14% was raised by 178 other organizations.
  • Of that 219 million euro 61% went to the top 10 organizations, 20% to the top 11-20 organizations, 12% to the top 21-30 and 7% to the top 31-40. This division is pretty constant although recently the top 11-20 is gaining share at the expense of the top 21-40.


  • The top 40 legacy income organizations receive an average of 27% of their total income through legacy income. Some organizations even receive more than half (!) of their total income through legacy income.
  • If we look at the top 40 organizations who receive the most in total fundraising income in 2011 we see a similar picture: they receive an average of 22% from legacy income. Of those 40 there are 23 organizations receiving less than 22% income from legacies. There are even 14 organizations receiving less than 10% income from legacies… I’m pretty confident that some of these organizations are sitting on some sort of gold mine… Here is a list of those organizations that are raising MORE than 22% of their annual income from legacy contributions in 2011.

  • So which organizations are doing best? I’ve looked at two long term growth indicators: The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) and the Median Growth Rate. If you combine the ranking of both indicators the organizations listed here below are doing best in terms of growth rates. It seems they are doing something very good in their legacy fundraising! (Who wants to write a blog post on their best practices?)

BUT, there are also three risks with legacy income:

  • One, is that you will become over-reliant on a somewhat capricious income source. Fluctuations in income are not uncommon.
  • Two, is that great legacy income can hide the stagnation of your non-legacy income. So always split them to see the development of both sources of income. Non-legacy income can be influenced much more than legacy income in the short term. So it’s helpful to separately monitor the effect of your efforts.
  • Three, if you don’t start focusing on your legacy income soon, you potentially risk missing out on lots of income in the future.

My next post will focus on the non-legacy income development! Watch this space…

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *