Face-to-Face Fundraising: What Metrics Define a Successful Launch?
As your organization examines it’s fundraising efforts and anticipates your strategy for the post-COVID-19 world, we encourage you to consider F2F fundraising.
As society slowly reopens, your supporters are going to crave genuine F2F connections with you and your charity. These supporters will appreciate the chance to speak with a representative from your organization and begin to develop a genuine relationship. Furthermore, F2F fundraising is one of the most effective ways to secure recurring sustaining donors, something that’s essential during uncertain times.
Of course, you can’t launch a F2F fundraising effort while COVID-19 lockdowns remain in place. However, this is the perfect opportunity to begin planning your first post-COVID F2F campaign. Being proactive now can ensure that when your nonprofit reenters the world of in-person fundraising, you’re equipped to do so successfully.
We believe that a successful F2F campaign relies heavily on capturing quality data and utilizing the right metrics to measure success.
Through this guide, we’re going to explore the essential metrics for measuring F2F fundraising success through the following categories:
- Donor acquisition metrics
- Program health metrics
- Long-term retention metrics
Let’s get started.
Donor Acquisition Metrics
Donor acquisition metrics are directly tied to the actions of your fundraisers on-the-ground and their success during the F2F fundraising campaign, both from an acquisition volume and quality perspective.
For example, let’s consider a door-to-door campaign. We assume that a single fundraiser will knock on approximately 100 doors per day. From there, we’d measure the following brand impression metrics:
- The number of doors opened. This is looking at the number of people that actually open the door for a F2F fundraising representative. We find that approximately 55 out of every 100 doors knocked on are opened.
- The number of leads spoken to. Meaningful conversations, which we refer to as potential donor presentations (PDPs), are engaged in with potential donors who both open the door and take the time to speak with a fundraiser. We find that approximately 20 out of every 100 doors knocked on engage in a meaningful conversation.
- The number of donors acquired per door knocked and per PDP. This can be measured per day (the number of doors knocked on in one day that results in a recurring donor) and per campaign (the number of doors knocked on across a campaign that result in a quality recurring donor acquisition).
- The characteristics of donors acquired. This relates to the demographics of the donors acquired through the program, including age, gender, gift amount, etc.
A successful campaign would have a ratio of at least 1.2 net donors acquired per day, per fundraiser. Moreover, those donors would have demographics representative of the ideal audience your charity is aiming to reach, in an effort to retain as many F2F-acquired donors as possible.
Program Health Metrics
While it’s important to understand and evaluate every F2F interaction, it’s equally important to examine the success of your efforts on a program-wide level. Broader evaluation can reveal underlying issues relating to market fit, messaging or overall approach, none of which can be properly assessed on an individual donor basis.
These are a few metrics relating to overall program health that we typically measure:
- Donor feedback. Even with perfect F2F fundraiser execution, every campaign will deal with some degree of inquiries and negative donor feedback. This should never deter a charity from pursuing F2F; some people just aren’t interested in being approached at home or on the street. That’s fine and to be expected. However, your goal is to have overwhelmingly higher positive feedback than negative feedback. We always aim for a non-severe negative feedback rate of less than 1%.
- F2F fundraiser feedback. F2F fundraisers are unequivocally the best source of feedback throughout the course of a campaign. They are an extension of your team and act as the eyes, ears and voice of your organization! If managers are regularly losing their best fundraisers, it’s a good idea to keep the lines of communication open and determine why this is taking place. Any recommendations being made by fundraising managers when it comes to marketing collateral, messaging, etc., should be seriously considered and implemented whenever possible.
- Return on investment. We often consider this on both an overall campaign basis and on a single donor basis. Prior to launching a campaign, both the charity and the F2F agency should have clear goals associated with investment breakeven, as well as long-term ROI. Long-term value is the reason why F2F succeeds as a channel, but it needs to be quantified and tracked in order for all parties involved to evaluate success.
The health of your overall campaign is just as crucial as the one-on-one interactions between donors and fundraisers, and it’s up to you and your F2F provider to monitor it diligently.
Long-Term Retention Metrics
It’s crucial to discuss metrics long beyond the duration of the campaign itself. After all, the whole purpose of a F2F campaign is to secure quality, long-term sustaining donors.
In most cases, long-term donor retention is the underlying metric that measures and determines the value of a F2F campaign in the organization’s overall strategy.
You can explore donor retention in more detail through this guide. Then, consider the following key F2F fundraising donor retention metrics:
- First-year retention. This is the number of donors that are acquired in year one who continue to make sustaining gifts beyond month 12. We take care of all of the upfront donor onboarding and have guarantee provisions in place for the most sensitive segment of the donor lifecycle (months one and two). It’s imperative that the charity and its F2F providers have a clear understanding of the stewardship cycle and all donor communications during this crucial first year.
- Second-year retention. These are donors that continue making gifts for a second year after their initial sign-up. Attrition levels should level out significantly by the end of year one. Ongoing stewardship remains incredibly important as you start to settle into the lifecycle of your donor.
- Multi-year retention. After the first two years, we assume a drastically lower attrition rate. Again, ongoing communication is absolutely imperative. Based on your stewardship approach, you may consider upgrades (i.e. midlevel, major or legacy gifts) with your strongest sustainers.
It’s important to keep in mind that retention can either be measured on a gross basis (any donor who agrees to sign up) or a net basis (donors that both sign up to make a gift and actually do so successfully). Make sure that you establish the basis for measuring attrition BEFORE the campaign launches.
Maintaining high retention following the initial conversation is dependent on a few different factors, including clear communication of initial donation information, a strong onboarding process and continuing donor stewardship. But if your organization can master it, one F2F fundraising campaign can have positive effects for years (or decades) to come.
When a charity embarks on a new fundraising effort — something that many organizations will do to weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — carefully selecting the data and metrics that dictate success is crucial to demonstrating positive results.
This is precisely why we recommend looking into F2F fundraising. In addition to securing sustaining gifts, it’s highly quantitative and data-driven. We’ve found that choosing the right metrics, like those we’ve outlined above, is one way to make sure you take the guesswork out of the process and make the most of your next F2F campaign.
A seasoned executive with deep experience in the social sector, Naseem Saloojee lives by the motto that businesses can "do well by doing good."
As CEO of Globalfaces Direct, a leading multichannel outsourced fundraising provider for the not-for-profit sector, Naseem leads a team of 1000 fundraisers in over 70 offices across North America.
Before joining GFD, Naseem was SVP of Sales and a member of the executive team at Top Hat, a leading education technology company. In Naseem’s 4 years there, he guided the company to ~10X revenue growth, helped the company win Techvibes’ Canadian Startup of the Year award, and helped the company to be recognized amongst the fastest growing companies in the country by the Deloitte Fast50 and Profit500.
Previously, Naseem spent a number of years leading consulting teams for McKinsey & Company, where he was awarded the firm's prestigious Social Sector Fellowship in economic development and worked with foundations, NGOs and government organizations across North America, the Middle East and Africa.
Naseem has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University.