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5 Simple Metrics Every Nonprofit Should Track and Why


Use these fundraising metrics to evaluate the success of your campaigns, achieve a return on investment (ROI), and boost the health of your organization.

Your latest campaign is set to launch. The creative headline 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? Evaluating these five metrics can significantly help you improve your future campaigns and raise more money.

  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 figures will help you determine a “sweet spot” for your asks. Doing so at an individual level will not only allow you to identify your golden donors, but to know exactly how to communicate with these donors and create a campaign customized with an increased frequency or higher-than-average ask amount.

Over time, you’ll also 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.

  1. Cost per Donor (CPD)

This simple metric is calculated by dividing a campaign’s overall cost, including outbound marketing fees, internal overhead, design costs, etc. by the number of acquired donors. If the cost per donor of any campaign is lower than the average donation, you’ve made net revenue and achieved short-term success.

  1. Donation Frequency

Repeat donors are your high-value donors. They 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
  1. Volunteerism and Attendance at Events

If you know that one of your donors frequently volunteers at your 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. Make sure to acknowledge the effort and contributions of these dedicated supporters to encourage them to continue. A great way to accomplish this is to create custom, 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. Ask them to follow your organization’s social media and recruit them to be peer-to-peer fundraisers. By giving these heavily-engaged supporters the chance to share and fundraise, you’ll exponentially multiply the reach of your efforts. 

  1. The Net Worth and Title of Each Donor

These metrics, also known as giving capacity, are vital for fundraisers to keep tabs on. Having an integrated platform that not only allows you to track this, but provides the information in a comprehensive profile of each donor is key to fundraising ROI.

If a donor is personally wealthy, has access to large amounts of money through their job title, or their position indicates that they are influential thought leaders, they have great potential to magnify the reach of your fundraising. Development officers can use this information to individually customize the amount of an ask during different campaigns, tailoring it to the financial comfort level of each donor.

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 in a fully-integrated donor database 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 your organization’s health, and ultimately, strengthen your impact in your community.

david_blyer.jpgLearn more about integrating donor information and fundraising metrics here.

The preceding is a guest post by David Blyer, Arreva (formerly DonorCommunity) founder & CEO.

Topics: Fundraising ROI metrics