If you are a small nonprofit engaged in fundraising, chances are you just completed your year-end appeal. Hopefully it was a success! Success can be measured in so many ways by a small NPO, but is it measured in the best ways?

CalendarMore than likely, year-end appeals are measured in two ways:

  1. Did we raise more than last year’s appeal?
  2. Did we beat our budget revenue number for the appeal?

It’s hard to argue argue with those tried and true metrics, but nonprofits would be wise to pay attention to additional metrics such as cost-per-dollar raised, donor retention results or even a basic upgrade or downgrade analysis. Here are a few quick and proven ways to elevate the results in 2014.

Success Measurement

Every organization utilizing a single year-end appeal has different levels of resources available to move to the next level. None of these organizations will be able to match the local university or prep school or hospital staffing and resources for fundraising. However, most every one of them can step up in a few key strategic ways.

Try to include some of these into your 2014 fundraising plan. They can allow you to raise the level of giving by many of your donors.

  1. Make your thank you’s special
  2. Reach out personally to more donors in some manner
  3. Communicate at least quarterly
  4. Mix up your communication methods
  5. Utilize more than one appeal based upon mission focused projects
  6. Let donors know what specific impact they are making
  7. Encourage stewardship
  8. Measure retention
  9. Some basic form of prospect research

Prospect Research

Affordable prospect research tools allow a couple of key elements to spring to life for those donors who have been loyal $50 or $100 donors to your year-end appeal. Those elements are:

  1. The donor’s true giving capacity based upon known wealth
  2. The donor’s giving amounts to other nonprofits

Imagine the huge awakening when the development team fully realizes those multi-year – and yes, even first-year donors – are capable of so much more!

Don’t Get Left Behind

Why are other NPOs garnering larger gifts? In most cases, it’s because they are finding ways to build better and closer relationships with your donors. Take my family’s personal giving as an example:

  1. Our largest gifts were made where we had personal relationships over time and where we knew what the monies were being used for
  2. Our next largest gifts were made to organizations who communicated with us regularly and utilized multiple appeals
  3. Our smallest gifts were made to nonprofits who just sent a single year-end appeal
  4. Our one time gifts were almost always associated with a special event

The possible lesson, and more importantly, the future game plan for nonprofits using just a year-end appeal and an event or two, literally jumped out at me as I typed the four scenarios listed above.

How many of my suggestions can you make come to life in 2014?

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Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.