Fundraisers understand the necessity of measuring outcomes. When we’re asked, “How’s the campaign going?” We know we can’t say, “I think it’s going great,” or “I feel like we’re doing well.” Donors are looking for reassurance in quantifiable terms. We need to be able to say, “We’re 80% to goal and ahead of the timeline.” Similarly, we can use metrics to measure how our donor relationships are doing. Here are a few simple starting points for quantifying your efforts:
One way to demonstrate that you value donors is to ask for their input. Online surveys allow for anonymity while providing an inexpensive and efficient way to gauge donor satisfaction. For example, “On a scale of 1-5 …”: How appreciated do you feel as a donor? How well do your personal values align with the organization? In the last year, what means of communication has meant the most to you? What demonstration of appreciation has been especially meaningful? Are there any suggestions you would like to share?
Increased donor retention is one of the most cost effective ways to improve your fundraising outcomes; and the donor relationship is key to retention. One way to prioritize your time and efforts is to monitor and compare how many donors gave last year, but not this year. Also, note how many donors gave smaller or larger gifts this year compared to last year. These measurements can reveal trends and offer insights on what needs to be done to improve donor retention, as well as increase the size of year-over-year gifts.
How often do donors volunteer their time to your nonprofit? How often do they invite their friends and family to attend events? Since we know involvement leads to investment, monitoring participation is an illuminating outcome that can be evaluated objectively.
Anecdotal stories can be interesting, but they’re not as dependable as factual, empirical measurements that will help advance your fundraising program.