August 14, 2023
Nonprofit Technology & Fundraising Blog
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All of your fundraising work is done, and you’ve made it to the end of the year. Congratulations! While you’ve certainly earned a break, don’t forget about one of the most important aspects of fundraising: reporting. Reviewing your numbers will help drive your strategy next year, and you can use your data to share your success to inspire your donors to continue supporting your mission.
If you’ve never tracked donor engagement metrics before, then this year will provide you with a baseline you can use to 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 you’ve determined the data points you want to track, you can use them to set realistic goals for yourself in the coming year and then create a plan to achieve those goals. DonorPerfect includes ready-made reports that can help you track donor engagement. Here are a few of our favorites:
Gift Comparison by Time Period: You can use this report to easily establish recognizable patterns year-over-year (or whatever time period you choose). That way, you can evaluate the relative success of each year-end fundraising campaign, similar solicitations, or annual events.
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.
Donors by Giving Level: Find out who your top donors are, or how many donors you have in different giving brackets. This report helps categorize donors by their giving levels and total their contributions throughout the year to see what level they fall into. Your monthly giving donors may surprise you with their annual totals!
Donor Revenue Analysis: See what donors have increased or decreased their giving from the prior year. Determine what your donor retention rate has been, and see statistics like your attrition rate and the number of new donors you attained this year.
While combing through numbers can seem daunting, there are patterns that are easy to spot when you know what to look for. Your data can serve as valuable indicators of how you can improve donor engagement and how you might plan for next year.
Try to see correlations between donor communications and the number and size of donations. 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 could try ramping up email sends at that time. If you see a slump immediately after a major campaign push, you may want to focus on volunteer recruitment instead of monetary gifts to avoid donor fatigue.
Don’t worry too much if your fundraising results aren’t consistent month-t0-month. For many nonprofits, summer is a slow time, when donors are traveling and are less focused on their philanthropy. As you get to know your donors, you’ll learn how their other activities impact their giving behavior, and you can budget accordingly.
Did you take advantage of targeted communications or did you test out different versions of the same content?
A/B testing is when you send different versions of your appeal to similar groups of donors. For example, donor group A might get a letter with consistent font throughout the letter, while donor group B might get the same letter, but with your giving message called out in bold. By changing one small, but impactful part of your message and testing it, you can see what your donors respond to best and incorporate that technique into future campaigns.
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. No two nonprofits will be identical here!
Take a look at the total dollar amount and the number of donors who contribute through various channels. 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 likely continue to give for the foreseeable future.
Remember that while some numbers may not reveal progress, they can help you determine clear, data-driven goals for next year.
Which of your donors are repeat contributors to annual appeals?
How many donors are repeat contributors in general?
How many donors increased or decreased their contributions this year?
How many donors stopped giving altogether?
How many new monthly donors did you gain this year?
While tracking campaign progress is vital in providing guidance and direction to your staff, it’s not the only reason to report.
Running reports that reveal all of the characteristics of your donors can help you visualize that your cause is a community effort.
Consider creating an annual report to share the results of your hard work with your dedicated supporters. When your donors see how they’ve made a difference in a tangible, meaningful way, they’ll be inspired to give again and again.
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.
Board members serve as trusted advisors and are invaluable in promoting your cause. Which of your board members was responsible for the most contributions generated for your nonprofit? Make sure you provide special recognition to newcomers and star players in the past year, whether privately or at your next board meeting.
DonorPerfect can help your board members stay on track throughout the year. With scheduled reporting, you determine what reports get sent and how frequently. You can even password protect the report for security.
Volunteers are often some of your 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.
Your donors, volunteers, and supporters 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. Now it’s time to tell them!
What could you specifically accomplish with the contributions you received? Here are a few examples of how numbers can help demonstrate your impact:
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.