When I moved from a big international nonprofit to the agency side almost 18 years ago now, my then boss Tom Hurley quickly taught me these very famous words: “It depends!”
As a consultant, those are great words to have in your tool box, especially working with organizations who are looking for certainties and proven ideas. And of course, we’d never recommend somebody to try something that had not already been tested by others.
But, here’s the reality: What works for one organization, doesn’t necessarily work or have the same effect for another organization. Hence the “It depends”.
You will not know how a different ask amount will impact your response rate until you test it. You will not know the impact of adding that extra appeal or additional email message until you try it and look at the results. You will not be able to see the effect of lowering your mail quantity in the spring and going deeper into your file in the fall, until you actually implement it and evaluate the different segments.
And of course, as a monthly donor expert, you will not know the best selection to use, how many times to ask for a sustainer gift if you don’t test a few different segments.
Whatever it is you’re testing or trying in your organization, everything begins and ends with data!
Sadly, I still come across so many organizations where board members are not familiar with the metrics to evaluate the fundraising programs. Where they look at the cost per piece rather than the revenue generated, for example. Where they evaluate everything you do with their personal views rather than the donor’s.
So, if you love your job as a fundraiser, love the organization you’re working for and the mission you’re trying to raise funds for, download this guide and share it wide and far!
5 Vital Metrics to Monitor and Improve the Health of Your Fundraising Program
And with this handy dandy little tool, you can calculate your own metrics.
Now, isn’t that an easy way to get from: “It depends” to “For sure?” So, take a few minutes, look at the metrics for your organization and then consider your next steps. Because you’ll know what you’re talking about, for sure and for certain!