The Big 5 in Fundraising Performance Metrics
May 8, 2014

I am a strong believer of prioritization being the key to successful fundraising. There are a ton of metrics we can track, and should track, like email open rates, sign-up rates per hour, one-off cash donations and appeal response rates. But there are five that are simply much more important. Mainly because they are the building blocks for making sensible decisions for the longer term. I call them the Big Five.

The Big Five are Volume, Expenditure, Income, Retention and Return on Investment. Let me explain.

5 Basic Fundraising Performance Metrics to Start Measuring Today
February 20, 2014

Measuring fundraising performance is an important strategic activity. Measuring key fundraising metrics can inform you and your organization of where you’ve been, where you’re at and where you’re going. In addition, measurement of fundraising performance can yield insight into how best to manage, allocate and leverage fundraising resources and efforts. Diligently measuring fundraising performance can uncover the truth behind your fundraising efforts so your organization can invest its resources in the highest return activities, for the lowest cost, that expand your mission and reach.

My 1st 2014 Brain Teaser: I’m in Love With 'Campaign Influence'
January 7, 2014

I'm going to come out of the gate challenging all you marketers and even analysts with a brain teaser. I had to read this whitepaper three times to make sure I understood the formulas correctly — but I'm in love with the concept of "Campaign Influence."

The Tyranny of Success: Nonprofits and Metrics
December 30, 2013

Modern philanthropy famously demands success in the form of tangible, objective, measurably positive outcomes. This demand, in turn, requires nonprofits or those who audit or evaluate them to make sharp distinctions of their work into success and failure. And yet, especially among hard-pressed populations that have always been the peculiar charge of the nonprofit sector, that distinction often is not so clear. What today looks like a success in a few months may turn into a failure, and what today looks like a failure becomes a success.

BBCON: What's Your Conversion Rate?
October 2, 2013

It’s pretty safe to say that every nonprofit wants more donors. As you know, getting more donors is easier said than done. During BBCON, Rosita Bradham, principal consultant at Blackbaud, and Jeffrey Leib, principal consultant at Jeffrey Leib Consulting, took on the issue of taking people who have interacted with your organization once and turning them into subscribers or members.

The presentation was kicked off with common obstacles to turning people into members, including a lack of necessary information, uncooperative staff and a lack of institutional support for promoting memberships.

Benchmarking and Goal Setting: Is Second Best, Best?
August 20, 2013

Recently, I read an article that said “sometimes, second-best makes a better role model.” Two researchers at the University of Warwick in Britain found that looking at “the best of the best, rather than being inspirational, it might just be depressing.

When organizations benchmark how they stack up against peer institutions, invariably they include “aspirational peers” in the mix. Or our CEO’s ask, “Who is excellent at this? What are they doing? How do we compare?” Instead, should we examine the successes of organizations just one or two steps ahead of us?

Using Outcomes to Measure Nonprofit Success
July 2, 2013

Those who donate to nonprofit organizations naturally want to feel their gifts will be used successfully in a way that will improve society or some part of it, like children, the sick, students, etc. But how can donors evaluate whether or not a charity will ultimately deliver on their promise or mission? In the nonprofit world, there is no common, easily understood measure of success. In fact, having a large positive bottom line may be an indicator that the organization is not doing as much as it could to fulfill its mission.

The Math and Science of Social and Mobile Media: A Spreadsheet to Track Your Fundraising Success
June 17, 2013

There absolutely is a math to social and mobile media. If your nonprofit has a good content strategy in place and understands the power of integrating all your nonprofit’s communications channels (website, e-mail, Facebook, texting, etc.), then as your numbers grow on social networks so will your e-newsletter and mobile lists, which in turn significantly increases your fundraising success. Below is selection of metrics to track and a brief explanation as to why.

Escape From Fairy-Tale Fundraising — Roger Craver, Part 2
June 6, 2013

Roger Craver tells it like it is. Right now, he’s all about donor loyalty, all the time. That’s because nonprofits like yours are losing seven of 10 donors every year. That adds up to a 25 percent decrease in retention rate over the last 10 years. Ugh!

Here, in this outtake from the fabulous Engage Conference last month, Roger drills down into the specific changes in mind-sets, methods and metrics essential to your organization’s growth. (Teaser: Marketing plays a vital role here.)