The Year is Almost Over. Are You on Target With Your Goals?

The year is winding to a close. You may be busy with your fall fundraising appeal right now, but you should take some time to see if you are on target with your 2013 goals.

This is important for two reasons. One, you want to see if you are coming up short this year, and two, you can use some of this information as you plan for next year. 

Here are a couple of things you should measure.

Are you on target with your fundraising goals? If not, how far off are you? We are entering the “giving season”, but If you are way off, there’s not much time to fix it.

This is a good time to assess what worked and what didn’t. If your spring gala was a huge success, keep doing it. If you didn’t raise enough money and everyone on your staff wanted to go on vacation after it was over, then you need to decide whether it’s worth doing next year.

In addition, be sure to keep track of the results from your year-end appeal, so you can apply what worked to future fundraising campaigns.

Donor communications
Nonprofit organizations often don’t do a good job of communicating with their donors. 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 and website pages. Another way is to get feedback by sending out a short survey or starting a conversation on social media.

It’s important that you stay connected with your donors at this time of the year. Not only with your year-end fundraising, but also with updates and thank you messages.

If your messages aren’t resonating 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 your donors are helping you make a difference, or are you sending out something long, boring, and focused on your 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 you are sending messages to people who aren’t strong supporters or you are trying to connect on channels they don’t use.

More on year-end measurement
The folks at Veritus Group ask Are You Ready For Q4? Most of their suggestions are focused on major donors, but we should all “start every day with donor-centered purpose.”

Here is a great tool to help you with your measurement. Library of Sample Dashboard Indicators There may be other areas you want to measure now, as well.

Make sure you are still on target for this year and start planning for next year. I’ll write more about that in a few weeks.

Photo by Frank Lindecke via Flickr

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