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Partner Service

Advancement Investment and Performance Initiative

Benchmark your advancement shop against peer institutions.

Are you an Advancement Advisory Services partner and ready to participate in the Advancement Investment and Performance Initiative? Visit our toolkit to access the data collection workbooks and explore our FAQ.

Access the Workbooks

If you’re not a partner, learn about the benefits of participating in our advancement benchmarking initiative below.

Why participate?

Today, institutions of all types and sizes are feeling pressure to cut costs. In this climate, advancement professionals seek a trusted data source to justify a known fact—you can only cut advancement expenses so far before those cuts put the ability to raise philanthropic revenue at risk.

EAB’s Advancement Investment and Performance Initiative (AIPI) seeks to collect data on advancement shops’ internal operations so that chief advancement officers can compare their organizations against similar institutions and cohort averages. The AIPI focuses on benchmarking staffing and investment decisions that lead to fundraising growth and individual fundraisers’ activities and outcomes.

The Guiding Principles of Our Research Framework:

  1. Focus on Overall Fundraising Production and ROI

    We will focus on data regarding revenue production, including both cash and pledge commitments, and will require inclusion of expenses.

  2. Quantity of Data

    We collect a limited number of meaningful metrics that actually inform strategy and balance the burden and effort of data submission.

  3. Quality of Data

    Our rigorous definitions ensure that each dollar of revenue and expense is consistently reported.

  4. Fairness of Comparisons

    We account for the uncontrollable variations between advancement shops by creating nuanced peer cohorts based on a variety of meaningful characteristics.

What to expect: Sample data from AIPI*


More fundraisers in the field pursuing major gifts at high-ROI shops

1 in 3

Advancement FTEs at high-ROI shops focus on major gift fundraising (v. 1 in 4 at low-ROI shops)


Smaller advancement budget leads to $7.9M fewer fundraiser dollars

*Note: Data in this section is from fiscal year 2022.


Impact highlights

  • A private research institution in the NE received approval to hire 10 FTEs after the AIPI data demonstrated need.
  • A small liberal-arts institution was able to meet a tight deadline to be vetted by the donor by using the AIPI report to demonstrate the efficiency of their Advancement shop, which had ROI significantly above peers. As a result, the institution was able to secure a $500,000 gift from the anonymous donor.
  • Advancement leaders at a private research institution in the south were able to demonstrate the competitive market for major gift officers and successfully advocated for increasing MGO salaries.

We were having difficulty convincing the board of how our shop compared to similar institutions. They thought we were underperforming, but our AIPI data showed them that our shop is actually understaffed and underinvested in. Being able to change the board's understanding of our advancement shop made AIPI worth the cost of the entire membership.


Vice President for Advancement

Large Public University