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Finance: What Are You Measuring—and Why?

When the board or executive director asks how successful fundraising has been, what do you measure to explain results? Most likely you focus on total funds raised, new donors acquired, the number of new major gifts, etc. While money is certainly something everyone understands, there are additional measures that illustrate meaningful fundraising achievements.

In her session “Measuring More Than Money” during the 2016 AFP Toronto Congress, Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE, owner of Joyaux Associates in Rhode Island, pointed out that there are equally important aspects to consider, such as retention rates, upgrades, relationship building and donor satisfaction, to name a few. What are the most important philanthropy and fund development measures for your organization? How do these measures relate to your organization’s values, mission, vision and strategic plan? How will you use the information to take future action and improve your strategies and tactics?

    Joyaux explained, there are many measures that are ignored too often:

  • Staff and board member behaviors that demonstrate a culture of philanthropy
  • Diversity of prospects and donors reflective of a diverse community
  • Donor-centered fund development program
  • Satisfaction trends of fundraising volunteers, donors, event participants, etc.
  • Customer satisfaction with the organization as a whole
  • Donor satisfaction with service to donors
  • Donor loyalty trends (active loyalty versus passive loyalty)
  • And, the most important measure, lifetime value
    Consequently, consider using charitable giving measures that reflect donor loyalty and determining relationship building from the donor’s perspective:

  • Donor retention rate
  • Rate of transition from first-time donor to regular donor
  • Percentage of donors who increase their gift size and/or number of gifts per year
  • Satisfaction with your organization’s execution of its mission
  • Satisfaction with your organization’s customer service—and not just from the development office
  • Satisfaction with your thank-you process and recognition program
  • Satisfaction with the quality of conversations donors have with you
  • Satisfaction with your organization’s communications
  • Degree to which donors’ personal values align with your organization’s values (essential for what a donor considers a large gift)
  • How often donors refer others to your organization