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The Value of Fundraising Performance Metrics in a Nonprofit

Fundraising is such an essential part of running nonprofits that one could almost argue it’s the backbone of a successful nonprofit. But fundraising entails more than just throwing together elaborate social events to get donors to contribute; it means countless hours of strategizing and planning are required curate a fundraising approach for your organization that is sustainable, cost-effective, and efficient at converting donors.

This is where important fundraising performance metrics come into play.

What are Fundraising Performance Metrics?

Fundraising performance metrics are ways to analyze the success and efficiency of your fundraising effort. This is done by breaking down the term fundraising and all it entails into smaller components and analyzing each of them individually and then later on, collectively.

These can include metrics such as calculating the total cost per dollar raised, total revenue, your average gift amount, and the donor retention rate. The goal of these metrics is to show you how your organization has been performing and therefore, make you better equipped to determine whether your organization is meeting the goals it has set for itself or falling short.

When to Analyze these Metrics?

How often you analyze your metrics depends on your organization’s size, goals, and activity. Certain metrics can be measured more frequently such as average donation amount, whereas other metrics can afford a more laid back analysis.

The best way to go about it according to most is to do a quarterly analysis. This gives you enough time to gather sufficient data and also means you will be wasting less time on data analysis and more on actually working towards your goals.

If you analyze your data too frequently not only are you putting in precious time and resources into getting those figures – you may also be doing it for no good reason. Certain metrics do not need to be calculated as frequently and can actually do more harm than good if they make you over obsessed with the numbers.

How to Use Your Metrics to Strategize Efficiently

Once you have your data at hand, all that is left is for you to figure out how to use that to your benefit.

This requires a clear understanding of what your organization is striving towards. If you’re in the early stages of your organization’s life, do you want to focus your efforts on donor acquisition? Or are you a nonprofit aiming to retain donors and focus on increasing the average gift amount?

The goals you set will be the basis for how you strategize to meet them. Cost management, hiring decisions, donor cultivation, and fundraising platforms are all components that can be helped along with the right metrics.

The trick is to know how to align the data and align it in ways that can help you see the bigger picture. You don’t need to look at all metrics together; categorizing them based on what you hope to measure is the most effective way of analyzing your data.  

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