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.)

3 Online-Giving Performance Indicators to Measure
June 1, 2013

Most nonprofits are seeking ways to expand their online fundraising and successfully access the new funds that are moving online each year. Here are three onling-giving performance indicators to measure.

What Can Data Do for You?
May 23, 2013

For a resource-strapped nonprofit, taking on data analytics can seem like a monumental challenge. With the field of data analytics booming and salaries skyrocketing, attracting top-tier talent can take massive financial resources from organizations that may already be forced to make sacrifices just to operate. Second, without prior experience, it can be difficult to know what, if any, insights data can generate that would empower your organization to better achieve its mission. Here are some tips on how your organization can learn — and grow — from data.

I’m Ticked Off!
May 14, 2013

To measure the effectiveness of a brand based on a single channel or a single campaign strategy is a terrible mistake. And, honestly, I'd like to see the media report on what matters — not just something that has a shock factor.

2 Accounting Issues You Need to Understand
May 1, 2013

Two critically important accounting issues for fundraisers are joint cost allocation of fundraising costs and long-term return on investment (ROI) vs. campaign-specific ROI.

Are We Focused on the Wrong Metrics for the Long Run?
April 1, 2013

Do you have a report monster? It's OK, you can admit it. What is each of your metrics helping you do? How is it informing you? If you don't have a good answer then kill the metric. There's not enough time in the day.