If your “end of year” is in June, then this is the perfect time to review and evaluate your fundraising efforts for the previous year and begin planning ways to improve, going forward.
If your fiscal year follows the calendar year, then it’s a great time for a “mid-year checkup,” allowing you to identify key areas and make adjustments to improve year-end results.
There are many things you can do to review your previous year’s fundraising, from reviewing the success of your campaigns to evaluating your website analytics. The key is to look for areas where you can improve and identify actions that worked well and those that fell short. With this information you can do more of what worked and test new actions in the areas you need improvement.
I recommend you concentrate your evaluation efforts on these six key areas:
- Campaign Overview – Create a report that includes all of the campaigns you ran during the previous year. This type of report will give you a great overview of the year, and if you also ran it in previous years, it provides you with an easy way to compare and track your progress year over year. You will want to track:
- Total dollars raised this year
- Total number of donors
- Total number of donations
- Total number of new donors
- Total number of repeat donors
- Average number of donations per donor
- Average gift size
- Donor Trends – Create a report or series of reports to understand what your donors are doing. Track number of donors; gifts; and revenue per donor for active, retained, and new donors. You’ll want to understand your attrition rate by looking at the number of donors active in the last year or two, and the number of donors lost in the last year or two.
- Monthly Totals – This report should contain all campaigns summarized by month, which will give you a great snapshot of the year and make it easy to identify seasonal trends and patterns. If you notice you raised very little money from January through April, for example, think about launching a fundraising campaign during this time period.
- Email Marketing/Appeal Reports – Pull the data for all your email marketing and direct mail appeals as related to their campaigns. You’ll want information such as donations, opt in, opt out, click throughs, appeal responses, and any segments that worked or didn’t work.
- Website Analytic Reports – There’s a lot of data you could be tracking on your website, but at the very least you should take a look at: how many people visited your site each month, where they came from, what were the top pages visited, and how much traffic you got from mobile searches. If mobile traffic is low and you haven’t mobile-optimized your site, it’s probably time to do that.
- Financial Reports – You will also want to look at the beginning and outstanding pledge balances, write-offs, and year-end donor statements.
A purpose-built donor management system will make these reports easy to build, customize, and run. Good luck with your end-of-year or mid-year checkup reporting!