Time to Measure Your Progress

We are already three months into 2013.  This is a good time to measure your progress so far.  Take out your fundraising and marketing plans (You do have written plans, don’t you?), and let’s see how you are doing. Here are a few things you should measure.

Fundraising
Are you on target with your fundraising goals?  If not, how far off are you?  You may need to give it a little more time or do something differently. Perhaps the foundations you are approaching aren’t a good match for your organization.

If you have had any events or campaigns recently, assess what worked and what didn’t.  Hopefully, you have already measured results from your year-end appeal, so you can apply what worked to this year’s campaign.

Donor relations
Besides raising revenue, your fundraising plan should include a donor relations component.  Are you thanking your donors and keeping them engaged on a regular basis?  One way to track engagement is to measure the response rates of your email messages.  Another way is to get feedback by sending out a short survey or asking questions on social media.

Volunteer recruitment
If your organization relies on volunteers, are you meeting your recruitment goals?   Keep track of which groups are more likely to volunteer.  Do you tend to get more seniors or students?  Are corporations or faith-based communities a better place to find volunteers?

Marketing/communications
This is closely related to your donor relations.  Are you sending out a newsletter and other updates?  Measure the response rates of your messages and website.

If your messages don’t seem to resonate with your supporters, figure out why.  Maybe you need better email subject lines or more compelling content.  Are your messages filled with gratitude and success stories about how you are making a difference thanks to your donors, or are you sending out something long, boring, and focused on the organization?

Looking at your number of email subscribers and social media followers is just one part of the equation.  Make sure you are keeping them engaged with good content.

Another reason your response rate might be low is that you are sending messages to people who aren’t strong supporters.
You may also want to measure media coverage.  It’s not easy to get media coverage.  You are competing with many other organizations, as well as current news stories.  Make sure you are targeting the right publications (smaller and local is often better) with the right stories.

What else does your organization need to measure?
This post by the Veritus Group offers some more suggestions. 1st Quarter Check Up!  One point they make is that it’s still early in the year.  If something’s not working, you have plenty of time to fix it and still meet your year-end goals.

Here is a great tool to help you with your measurement. Library of Sample Dashboard Indicators
Look it over. You may find some other things you need to measure.

Take some time to measure your progress. Then make a point to do it again at least once between now and the beginning of July.
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