What’s Your Measuring Stick for Monthly Donor Success?
I’m currently working on the analysis for a big national organization’s sustainer direct mail campaigns. One of the things we needed to settle on first was what they thought was important in measuring their monthly donor success.
As you know, monthly gifts are typically small. So, if you only look at the first monthly gifts and possible one-time donations that came in from those donors who are not yet ready to give monthly, you’re not doing yourself a favor.
That is why I always recommend annualizing gross sustainer results! Some organizations are even using two-year or five-year values, but yearly is simply the easiest.
Let me give you an example. If you convert a $100 one-time donor to $17 a month, that donor is now worth $204 on an annual basis.
Monthly donors are not just measured in one fiscal year. If you’re doing something in April and your fiscal year ends June 30, you might be tempted to only take $34 for revenue for that donor I mention above. That may be what your finance folks do, but it’s not how you measure the results of your campaigns.
Finally, if your organization only evaluates campaigns based upon net revenue, it’s important to include the single donations that are generated in addition to the annualized monthly gifts, so you’re really looking at the overall picture and the long-term results of each campaign.
Monthly giving is all about long-term focus and long-term revenue, so use the long-term measuring stick to evaluate what you’ve done and to plan for future campaigns.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.