Fundraising ROI: 5 Simple Metrics Every Nonprofit Should Track and Why

Fundraising ROI: 5 Simple Metrics Every Nonprofit Should Track and Why

Use these metrics to evaluate the success of your campaigns and boost the health of your organization.

Your latest campaign is set to launch. The creative is ready, you’ve got a well-targeted database of supporters and prospects, and your cause is compelling. But before you hit send and publish on that campaign, have you considered how you’re going to measure its success? While there are many different metrics you can track, these five are the most fundamental because they can significantly help you improve your campaigns.

1. Donation Size and Average Donation (AD)

Keeping track of the size of the donations that you receive may seem pretty basic, but calculating the average of these figureswill help you determine a “sweet spot” for your asks. Doing so at an individual level allows you to identify your golden donors—those who make high-value or high-frequency donations—and to create a campaign customized with a higher-than-average ask amount or an increased frequency.

Over time, you’ll also see trends in donation amounts. For example, you can see times of the year where donors give more or give more frequently, which can signal that you need to ramp up your seasonal marketing efforts or change your tactics during slow periods.

2. Cost per Donor (CPD)

This simple metric is calculated by dividing a campaign’s overall cost, including outbound marketing fees, internal overhead, design costs, and anything else than can be directly attributed to the effort, by the number of acquired donors (overall cost divided by number of donors). At a very basic level, if the cost per donor of any campaign is lower than the average donation, you’ve made net revenueandachievedshort-term success.

3. Donation Frequency

Repeat donors tend to give more, cost less to solicit than a new donor, and often serve as evangelists for your organization. Identifying and tracking them with an automated system allows you to:

  • Assign specific, automated follow-up communications
  • Set a schedule for communication that is directly tied to when they tend to give
  • Plan your campaign cycles around the times your frequent donors tend to give contributions
  • Categorize them as high-value donors whom you want to cultivate with extra attention

4. Volunteerism and Attendance of Events (Where and How Often?)

Truly integrated fundraising software not only allows you to track your volunteers and event attendees, and manage the events themselves, but also seamlessly adds this information to the individualized profiles of your constituents. So, if you know that one of your donors volunteers frequently or attends a lot of events, how can you use that information to improve your fundraising?

These high value constituents donate their time, which signals strong support for your cause. You’ll absolutely want to cultivate relationships with these individuals by acknowledging their effort and contributions. You can do that by creating automated communications that match their interests, express gratitude for their efforts, and include them in donation campaigns that closely align with their activities.

In addition, active volunteers and attendees are undoubtedly some of the best promoters of your cause. Include them in outbound email marketing campaigns and newsletter distributions, and always promote social media links in these communications. By giving these heavily-engaged supporters the chance to share, you’ll exponentially multiply the reach of your efforts. Remember, events are a main attraction for your supporters, and understanding and taking advantage of who attends them will boost your fundraising.

5. The Net Worth and Title of Each Donor

These attributes are also commonly-understood as great metrics for fundraisers to keep tabs on. What’s less common is having an integrated platform that not only allows you to track these vital statistics, but provides the information in a comprehensive profile of each donor that is accessible to the fundraisers in your organization who need it.

Is a donor personally wealthy? Do they have access to large amount of money through their job title? Does their position indicate that they have reach and influence in the community? With easy access to information about the position and net worth of your constituents, fundraisers can individually customize the amount of an ask during different campaigns, tailoring it to the financial comfort level of each donor. And asking influential thought leaders to spread the word about your campaigns by scheduling automated communications to them will magnify the reach of your fundraising.

Long-term growth relies on objective measurement of your best donors and prospects Many organizations fail to accurately record this information, whether it’s due to data loss from manual data entry errors or because they are trying to manage multiple, distinct systems that only track bits and pieces.

Keeping track of these five metrics will not only give you an objective, factual read on the success of your individual fundraising campaigns, it will also allow you to plan for the future. You’ll be able to dedicate the right amount of resources to the visionary goal that is crucial to the health of any fundraising organization: attracting and keeping loyal, recurring, high-value supporters.

This article also appeared on Guidestar