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What to measure and how to measure it!


We all know that data is important, but why?!

Like most fundraisers, you're probably super busy and stretched thin with little time to do any additional tasks, right?

However, data analysis and a strong fundraising foundation go hand-in-hand and cannot be overlooked. This will also help you work smarter, not harder because none of us have time for that!

Here is WHAT you need measure and WHY it's important:

-% of increased donors - This tells you that you found the opportunities your donors want to support; you asked for the right amount; or you asked an appropriate amount of times.

-% of decreased donors - this tells you if you didn't ask for enough; didn't ask for the right amount; or didn't ask donors to support opportunities that best match their interests.

-% of retained donors (from year to year) - this tells you how well you stewarded and communicated with your donors.

-% of retained donors (over a 3 year period) - this tells you when you might be losing your donors and can lead you to where and why you lose your donors. For example, does your donor recognition society only recognize donors after they've given for 5 years? If so, maybe you should create an opportunity at the 3 year mark.

-% of retained donors (over a 5 year period) - same reason as the 3 year retention rate.

-% of attained donors - this will tell you if you're doing a good job attracting new donors. Oftentimes organizations are really good at retaining or attaining - it can be hard to do both. However, once you know your strengths, then you can devote more time to the area that needs improvement. Why spin your wheels on recreating your attainment program if what you're doing is working?

-Donor attrition rate - this goes hand-in-hand with your retention rate and tells you how many people you're losing each year. If you're losing people, then you need to improve your stewardship program.

-Open/response rates for all channels (mail, email, social media, events, phone, etc.) - this should be looked at to know how many people and who opened an email, clicked on a link, responded to a mailer with a gift, liked a story on social media, etc. Knowing this will tell you what themes, messages, formats, stories, signers, etc. people respond to. Take this even one step further and see how you can segment people into groups based on their responses and create messages just for those groups.

-Number of donors - this isn't one of the most important factors unless you see a a dip in donors. In that case, you need to look into the cause for the decrease.

-Funding mix - this looks at what percentage of your donors are foundations, corporations, or individuals. It is important to have a diverse mix of donors so your organization isn't reliant on any one type.

**Evaluate by segments - consider evaluating the above metrics by natural segments in your organization such as: constituency types, giving level, major, minor, program participants, event attendance, geography, etc.

Do you know this information about your organization? If not, create a way to do it ASAP. It will take you only a couple of hours (at most), but will save you tons of time in the long run and be worth it!