My mom is in town visiting for a few days. Yesterday we went on an excursion to Berea, Kentucky (the picture above is of Historic Boone Tavern in Berea). Not only is it a quaint town with great Kentucky craft stores, it was also my father’s first residence in the United States. He was a gymnast (from Denmark) and spent some time at Berea College in the mid-60’s as a gymnastics instructor.
Taking some time to reflect on where we come from can be a good way to refocus and develop future plans and goals. That’s one of the reasons ongoing evaluation is so important. We talk a lot about future goals and plans, but it is equally important to know where we are. Directions to get from Washington, DC to Atlanta and directions from Orlando, FL to Atlanta would be quite different.
It might be fun and sexy to talk about big dreams and big ideas, but let’s not forget to take some time to remember where we are and where we’ve come from. Need some ideas about what to review (especially as it pertains to your fundraising program)? Here are a few ideas:
- Current number of donors
- Average gift per donor
- Total dollars raised
- Contacts With Each Current Donor. Try to find creative, low-cost ways to convey your thanks. Marketing theory says that someone needs to hear/see/read something seven times for it to really sink in. This could include update emails, newsletters, thank you cards (both from staff and from your clients), in-person meetings, phone calls, etc. The number and quality of the contacts should be appropriate to the value of the gift.
- Donors Renewing Gifts. If this number is falling, try sending out a survey to those lapsed donors to see if there is a theme for why they aren’t renewing. Other studies have found that about 93% of people indicated it had something to do with communications (rather than the economy, less expendable income, etc.).
- New Donors. Are there new people who are choosing to support your organization? If not, chances are you’ll be running in to trouble with declining revenues soon.