3 smart new metrics to measure your fundraising effectiveness

I’ll bet you make lots of calls.
You set appointments, uncover needs, make presentations, write proposals and close gifts too, right?

I did it too.
Back in 1996, I was a young, energetic salesman working to help grow a small marketing agency in Silver Spring, Maryland. I made tons of cold calls and set plenty of appointments. Then I uncovered needs and, later, made presentations or wrote proposals. A percentage of the proposals would turn into sales.

I was mostly judged on how much revenue I brought in.

But what metrics are you judged on and measuring?
Bentz, Whaley and Flessner’s 2014 study on “Optimizing Fundraiser Performance” listed the following metrics for major gift officers:

  1. Total dollars raised
  2. # of gifts closed
  3. # of face to face visits conducted
  4. # of asks
  5. # of stewardship calls
  6. # of prospects identified
  7. # of discovery calls made
  8. # of cold calls made
  9. # of moves (made by the fundraiser)

I think these are ok.
They aren’t bad. But they really measure what the fundraiser does. They’re focused internally. Plus numbers 3 – 9 pretty much only show you whether or not a gift officer is ‘busy’ (assuming that the numbers are accurate and true).

What if we also focused on the donor and how they feel along with what they do before they give. Here’s what I mean. Why not track?:

  1. Ranking: Track how each donor ranks your charity compared to others – Survey experts call these ‘rating questions’. Let’s face it, you have competition!
  2. Importance: Track how important each donor believes your mission is – This is another type of ‘rating question’ that contributes to loyalty scoring.
  3. Migration: Track each donor’s migration forward in the consideration process – We want donors to either ‘be moved’ or to ‘move themselves’ toward making a decision, don’t we? So, I think it’s important to monitor:
  • Might consider
  • Would definitely consider
  • Considering (now)
  • Etc.

If you want to measure these kinds of metrics, we should talk since that’s what you get from MarketSmart’s platform.

Related Posts:

>>Are you measuring the right performance metrics?
>>3 big reasons why email open rates don’t matter (and what you should measure instead)

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Katherine Swank
Katherine Swank
5 years ago

Your focus on donor engagement over internal actions is important – thanks for reminding us to think about this as the new year begins and strategic plans and goals are being plotted, planned and cemented. A few years ago a customer of mine mentioned that they assess each prospect on a Commitment Curve of engagement and monitor movement along that path. The track starts with Awareness, moves to Interest and then Desire, from there is Engagement and finally – and hopefully – Commitment. The GO metrics you outlined at the beginning really look at only a few of these stages and not really in any particular order. I try to include a discussion on this type of assessment when consulting with Target Analytics customers – but after reading your thoughts I’m determined to add a conversation about tracking them! It’s hard to plan a next step, call, move or conversation if one doesn’t understand the current state of things! Thanks again for your wise words.

5 years ago

Interesting. Thanks Katherine. Although, I don’t understand how that customer might figure that a donor could move through the interest and desire stages without engagement. Seems to me that engagement happens throughout the donor journey. Not just at the end.
Thanks for ‘engaging’ on my blog!! 🙂

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