All of your fundraising work is done, you’ve made it to the end of the year. Time to kick back and relax right? While you’ve certainly earned a break, don’t forget about one of the most important aspects of fundraising: Reporting. Pouring over your numbers will help drive your strategy next year so you and your donors can continue to further the organization’s mission.
Track Donors’ Engagement with Your Organization
If you’ve never tracked donor engagement metrics before, then this year will provide you with a baseline on which you can set next year’s goals. Donor engagement includes the various ways donors interact with your organization, including: making donations, visiting your website, reading your emails, liking your social posts, volunteering, and attending your events.
Once these numbers are collected, you can use them to set realistic goals for yourself in the coming year and then create a plan to achieve those goals.
Periodic Gift Comparison: This type of report can help to easily establish recognizable patterns that are trending in positive and negative directions to build upon momentum or turn the tables on decreasing outcomes.
Cross Tabulation Report: This report allows you to choose any two fields of data to see a cross-section analysis. For example, maybe you want to determine how well certain campaigns performed with specific donor segments. This report can show the amount raised through a campaign effort by each designated donor group (ie: Businesses, Individuals, Foundations, etc).
Solicitation Analysis: Find out your return on investment with a solicitation analysis report. Include the amount you spent on a fundraising event and subtract it from the amount raised to see the net revenue brought in through your effort.
Donor Recognition: Find out who your top donors are. It’s helpful to be able to categorize donors by their giving levels and total their contributions throughout the year to see what level they fall into.
Donor Revenue Analysis: See what donors have increased or decreased their giving from the prior year. Determine what your donor retention rate has been, even see statistics like your attrition rate and the number of new donors you attained this year.
Your Year-End Reports May Reveal Notable Patterns
While combing through numbers can seem daunting, these basic patterns are easy to spot and serve as valuable indicators of both how you can improve donor engagement along with how you should move forward.
Communications and Giving Trends
Try to see correlations between donor communications and giving increases. Maybe you’ve noticed spikes in online donations on the second Tuesday of each month which happens to be the same date your blog gets posted. This is a good clue that your donors appreciate your blog as a form of communication and a starting place for strategizing your giving initiative for next year.
Are some months significantly lower in donations than others? Now’s the time to determine why. Maybe communication is light in those months, so you need to ramp up email sends at that time. If you see a slump immediately after a major campaign push, you may want to try altering the content of your communications to be more volunteer driven. Volunteers are proven to be dedicated donors.
Segmented and A/B Communications
Did you take advantage of targeted communications or did you test out different versions of the same content? When you find out what your donors respond to best, your future campaigns will be a success. Make sure you analyze the results of targeting and testing to be able to make informed decisions when planning your content calendar for next year.
How Are You Reaching Your Donors?
Where did the majority of your donations come from? Did most donors give through an online form? Maybe your monthly giving program reigned supreme, or maybe most of your donors prefer a good old-fashioned mailed-in check. Take a look at the total dollar amount of these figures, as well as the number of donors who contribute through various means. Your monthly donors might give smaller amounts than a person mailing in a check, but those monthly donors are part of a loyal supporter base who will hopefully continue to give for a number of years.
Take a Look Back
It’s important to remember that while some numbers may not reveal progress, they can result in clear, goal-driven objectives for next year.
Pull crucial stats by answering the following questions:
Which of your donors are repeat contributors to appeals that happen annually?
How many donors are repeat contributors?
How many donors increased/decreased their contributions this year?
How many donors stopped giving altogether?
How many new monthly donors did you gain this year?
Recognition Reports: Who Has Helped Your Cause?
While tracking campaign progress is vital in providing guidance and direction, to your staff, it’s not the only reason to report.
Your Generous Donors
Don’t forget about all the wonderful donors who helped you get where you are. Running reports that reveal all of the characteristics of the contributors who make your cause possible can help you visualize that your cause is a community effort.
If you don’t already do so, you may want to consider creating some kind of annual report to share this hard work with your dedicated supporters. This provides good motivation for them to continue supporting your cause. Take a look at the top 10% of your donors both in amount and in number of gifts. You can also look at donors who have contributed for the most number of years. Did any donors stand out in a crowdfunding campaign? Maybe they drew the largest number of new donors to your organization. Before you publish content naming specific donors, be sure to ask them for their approval in case they prefer to be anonymous.
Your Dedicated Board Members
Board members serve as trusted advisors and they can also be invaluable in promoting your cause. Which of your board members was responsible for the most contributions generated for your organization? Make sure you provide special recognition to newcomers and star players in the past year.
DonorPerfect can help your board members stay on track throughout the year too With scheduled reporting, you determine what report gets sent and how frequently. You can even password protect the report for security.
Your Enthusiastic Volunteers
Volunteers are often some of the most engaged community members. They attend your events, provide financial support, share your social media posts, and of course, support your cause through their time and talents. Have any volunteers helped you achieve major accomplishments this year? Who are the top 10% contributors of volunteer hours? Publicly recognizing the efforts of your volunteers can go a long way in creating even stronger bonds.
Impact Reports: What Did You Do with the Donations?
Your donors and those who support your cause in any manner want to know the impact you’ve been able to make and they want to know that you’ve used their hard earned money wisely. So now it’s time to tell them.
What were you able to accomplish in furthering your cause with the contributions you received? Numbers can help here (how many people did you serve, how many meals were shared, etc).
Has the cost of your fundraising efforts decreased? CharityWatch, an organization that reports on the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations reviews how many dollars it takes a nonprofit to raise $100.00. Along the same lines they look at the percent of charity dollars spent on organizational overhead costs. In other words, how much of a donor’s dollar is going toward program funding. If you’ve improved this ratio, let your donors know!
Donors may also be curious about where your funding is coming from. Make sure they know that you are proactive in seeking funds. You can show them how many dollars are coming from corporations, government grants, private foundations, and individual donors.
Approach Year-End Fundraising with DonorPerfect’s Report-Ready Donor Management System