In the current universe of information overload, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in a sea of numbers. Whether you’re Board chair, CEO, development committee chair, or an attentive Board member, what fundraising metrics matter the most?
My colleague Nancy Peterman has weighed in on this topic with sound advice for fundraisers. I often consult with museums and arts groups, and I frequently get this question from volunteers and senior management. What should we consider when measuring performance?
First and foremost, of course, it’s how much money gets raised. But please don’t stop with reading the budget report. Here’s three more fundraising metrics that should matter to you in your role in governance or senior management. In my experience, if your development team is doing all three, you are going to see results:
- How many personal, intentional contacts–calls and visits–is the development team making per month, including the CEO? (If you’re the CEO, here’s a chance for candid self-assessment.) It takes inputs—calls and visits—to achieve outcomes—dollars raised. Expect to get a monthly dashboard report on this important input.And to avoid those who might game the system: An intentional contact is an action that you initiate to move the prospect forward on making a gift. For example, seeing Jane at a donor reception is not an intentional move. Making an appointment to ask Jane to consider making a first-time $10,000 annual gift is.
- Are fundraisers, CEO, and Board members meeting with new faces? Setting and meeting goals for “discovery calls,” where you talk to someone who’s not already in your circle, is a proven way to keep your organization growing. Here’s a quick test: if all your new donors “self-identify,” if they came to your attention because they made a gift already, you should broaden your field of vision.
- How many donors are making larger gifts than they did last time around? At Alexander Haas, we vigorously advocate for ambitious asks, so if your fundraisers are all getting a 100% yield, they aren’t aiming high enough. But if everyone on the Board gets asked to give what they gave the year before, or not asked at all because they are deemed reliable donors, you’re not going to see much movement on the giving bottom line.
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