Congratulations! You survived the end-of-year fundraising season!
I hope that you smashed your goals and are currently basking in the glow of knowing that you’ll be making an even bigger impact in 2022.
However, your work isn’t done yet! After you’re done celebrating your wins, it’s time to evaluate the success of your end-of-year fundraising campaign.
In this post, I’ll walk you through why that’s important and what metrics you should measure.
Why you should evaluate your end-of-year fundraising campaign
Taking stock of how your results compare to your campaign’s goals is the best way to set yourself up for future success.
So, ask yourself: What was your original fundraising goal? Did you meet it or fall short? Were you under budget or over?
When looking at your budget, don’t forget to calculate all of the costs that went into running the campaign! This includes the cost to design, mail, print, and create the appeals, as well as the time that your staff spent working on the campaign.
After you’ve answered the fundamental “Did we meet our goal?” question, you should look at how this campaign compared to the previous year’s campaign. This will help you understand donor trends, such as if you reached a new audience, if the average gift amount increased, etc.
The ingredients in a typical end-of-year fundraising plan
When evaluating your year-end campaign, look at the whole picture. That includes the following:
- Key Messages
- Targeting and segmentation
- Roles and responsibilities
- Goals and metrics
Looking at this data will help you make informed decisions and have an accurate picture of your organization’s health.
11 metrics to evaluate your end-of-year fundraising campaign
When you have all of your data and are ready to start evaluating it, look at these metrics:
- Total revenue
- Total number of gifts
- Average gift size
- Median gift size
- Response rates for each channel used
- Email open and click-through rates by campaign (and/or subject line)
- Retention rate of last year’s campaign donors
- Number of new donors acquired
- Number of donors who upgraded their gifts
- Donor demographics
- ROI (return on investment)
Once you’ve pulled your numbers, conduct a debrief with your team to go over the data. Schedule it within a couple of weeks after the end of the year so the details are still fresh in your mind.
Who should be involved in the evaluation process?
It’s absolutely critical to have your key players at the table. If someone was involved in the campaign, especially at the management level, they should be included in the evaluation process.
When going over the results, make sure you emphasize the fact that wins and losses are reflective of the entire team and not a certain individual so you don’t alienate anyone and so you can give equal credit. After all, these campaigns require a team effort!
What do you do with all of that data?
Once you have the data, share the results with your team and let them know that you’ll use what you learned to inform the planning for the next fundraising campaign.
Reminder: Just because you’re going through this evaluation process doesn’t mean you should put other things on hold. You should have had a plan in place to thank people who donated during the campaign so make sure you’re doing that.
Keep in mind that prioritizing first-time donors (and retaining them) will help your nonprofit grow for years to come!
If you’ve already measured your end-of-year fundraising results and you’re looking at crafting an overall development plan, download this free “Fundraising Year in Review” questionnaire to help you in your planning process.