Are We Focused on the Wrong Metrics for the Long Run?
"Not everything that can be counted, counts — and not everything that counts can be counted."
~ Albert Einstein
Do you have a report monster? It's OK, you can admit it. Let's face it — in an effort to be better fundraisers and marketers, we may have created our own monster. And yes, it's the report monster. As the nonprofit industry has embraced large-scale databases and enterprise-wide systems, we have gotten better and better at collecting information.
And where there is information, there is reporting. Trust me, I've been there. It's a slippery slope, and before you know it you have spreadsheets and PDFs that have 45 columns and 100 rows.
The great news? We've made significant progress in the capture of information on our donors and other constituents. So, we need to reward ourselves for progress in our ability to understand more about what our donors are actually doing with our brands.
Our data evolution is real and can be seen across every type of nonprofit. But, yes, we now have the report monster. In fact, many nonprofits used the management approach of "what gets measured gets entered," which even further promoted the creation of all those reports that fill up our inboxes and land on our desks.
So, as with every evolutionary process, it's time to go to the next stage — moving from focusing on all the data to focusing on the right data. That's where the confusion comes in — what exactly is the right data to measure?
Fundraisers are the kings of data — especially the direct marketers. Their whole focus is based on measuring money, donors, retention, response rates, average gifts, etc. But, as organizations have become more and more focused on keeping their donors engaged more and for longer periods of time — focused on the "relationships" — just measuring elements of the "transaction" is not enough. Before you dive in to your piles of reports and start talking to the IT team about all the data fields in the system, let's step back and ask some questions.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.