Build on the Basics

I was thrilled to be an attendee at the AFP International Conference in Vancouver BC last week. It was exciting to be amidst this energized group of professionals in such a breathtaking location! Thanks to our Canadian neighbors for hosting the event and for sharing the beauty of their city and country.

Ironically, in the midst of all the sessions about social media (and believe me, there were a lot of sessions about social media!), I found myself drawn instead to the topics which focused on a broader view of development and fundraising. After all, without a strong mission, development plan and organizational strategy, what exactly do you have to ‘tweet’ about?

A good example of this idea was presented in a session by Gretchen Gordon, CFRE and Jill Pranger, ACFRE. Their message was pretty simple: regardless of what methods you use, focus on a successful annual fund program and the loyal, repeat donors who give to your organization faithfully every year. It is these donors who form the foundation of your development effort and serve as a barometer for your organization’s image and reputation in the community.

You’ll know your annual fund is successful if you raise more money this year than you did last year... right? According to Gordon and Pranger, there are other ways to measure success. They shared some other ideas to measure the growth and success of your annual fund program:

  1. The percentage of particular groups of constituents who gave (e.g. 100% board participation)
  2. The number of new volunteers recruited
  3. The number of new prospects qualified
  4. The amount of the average gift across all donor groups or across sub-groups
  5. Non-financial goals (staff growth, training hours, etc)
  6. Comparison of your organization to national and sector benchmarks

Celebrate all the ways your organization is succeeding and use your software to help you measure it. In ResultsPlus, check out the canned reports that can help you quickly evaluate your success - the Activity Reports in the General section, the Gift Performance Analysis report in the Gift section, or the Five Year Gift Reports in the Trend section. For even more control, use queries to find the constituents who participated in your individual efforts, then export to Excel for further analysis and measurement.

We’d love to hear about the ways you use ResultsPlus to measure and celebrate your success. Please share!