Measuring Fundraising Success

Other than money, how are you measuring your fundraising success? Money does tend to be one of those lagging indicators in that we work really hard and it can take several months to see the fruits of our labor. So, when your boss (whether it be the board, your executive director or someone else) is breathing down your neck asking you to show them the money, what sort of interim measurements do you provide?

This is a bit of a trick question. Every organization is different. The key, though, is to really know your numbers. This seemed to hit a chord with the attendees at a workshop I led last week, so I figured I’d share it here with you.

If you could predict how much money would come in as a result of being in front of 1,000 people, would that make your job easier? You can get to that number by tracking just a couple key numbers for each solicitation approach (or solicitation sequence if you’re following a strategy I highly recommend of having a series of asks instead of just one). It’s primarily related to knowing how many people see a message and connecting that to the number of people who decide to contribute. Join that number with your average gift, and all of a sudden you can start more easily predicting what you need to do to generate the funds you need.

Once you’ve connected the work with the results, you’ll feel more confident sharing those interim measurements (such as presentations made, appeals mailed out, personal asks, etc) because you’ll have the statistics to back it up. And, even if the money isn’t coming in the door quite yet, you can confidently say that it’s on the way.

If you don’t have a system in place to collect this data for you, you can still track this information in Excel or some other spreadsheet software. It’s really important that you do start tracking in whatever way you are able to now.

Wishing you good measuring!

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