You’ve built communication plans, adjusted development tactics, and now you’re in the harvest season with year-end giving. There is much to celebrate, but there are still opportunities to be seized as well. Utilize this year-end season to evaluate not only your year-end giving results but the entire year. You’ve gained valuable lessons, and it is important to use your knowledge to grow even stronger in the year ahead.
Here are three key metrics to evaluate:
1. Annual Overall Rate of Growth in Donations
Your annual rate of growth is found by comparing the increase of donations between this year and last. This percentage lets you know how you are meeting fundraising and engagement goals or where you could improve.
Next steps: Take a deeper dive into the numbers and track where growth is coming from. Is it a new audience? Is it the result of a specific campaign such as a social media ad? By identifying your growth and its source, you can better plan what to emphasize in the coming year.
2. Annual Average Gift
Determining your average gift will give you a better understanding of giving trends in your organization and how your donors give. You can determine this metric by dividing your donation revenue by the number of gifts.
Next steps: As you look at these numbers, evaluate how you may want to shift 2019 strategy to improve outreach or add new focuses. Should you put more focus on major gifts? Are you having success in a certain size range of gifts and need to direct more effort at that donor level? Consider your successes and where you need to test the waters.
3. Return On Investment
As you look at the numbers above, consider the efforts that have gone into creating that return for your organization. There has been time and money spent in meetings, marketing materials, postage, web development contracts, and more. By identifying the methods and audiences that yield a higher return on your investment, you are able to better target the projects you invest in and whom those efforts are aimed at reaching.
Next steps: Write a list of the top projects you spent money on to engage donors and write your list of target donor audiences. Based off your analytics for the year, where is there correlation between these lists? Are there areas that performed or underperformed? Evaluate where you need to adjust strategies or place more emphasis.
Your 2019 plans
In addition to the metrics above, I encourage you to take a look at your mid-level donors. How does it compare to last year? In light of tax law changes, your overall donations may stay the same or increase, but mid-level donors may decrease giving with the increased automatic deduction. Pay attention to this donor and determine ways to keep them engaged in your ministry work, regardless of tax impact.
As you make fundraising plans for 2019, recall what Rory Starks, Executive Vice President at Masterworks, shared with us in our October webinar: The role of intuition is not to drive strategy. Analytics drive strategy. Test your intuition. Let data inform your decisions.
Data-driven decisions will position your ministry for growth and success well into the future.