When your fundraising appeal winds down, make time to evaluate it so that you can repeat what worked and change what didn’t. Here are four key questions to consider in your evaluation.
If you exceeded it, by how much? If you didn’t meet it, what was the gap? Remember that you need to consider the net amount raised—the amount you brought in, less all expenses.
How many constituents received your fundraising appeal, and how many of those people made a gift? Determine the percentage of solicited constituents who made a gift in response to your appeal.
If they haven’t been thanked yet, make that a top priority. Once everyone is thanked, plan out your next communication with them. You might send them an update a couple of months after your appeal to share how the funds are being used. Communication is key to retaining these donors.
Did you run out of remittance envelopes before all your appeal letters were stuffed? Did it take longer than you expected to get board members to add hand-written notes to appeal letters? Be frank about the stressors that made you want to tear your hair out, no matter how small. Then brainstorm ways to resolve these issues so they aren’t a problem with your next appeal.
The takeaways from this appeal will fade with time. Once you’ve considered these four questions, it’s crucial that you document your findings. When it’s time to plan your next appeal, you can use this document as a guide as you set goals and define your work process.
A fundraiser’s time is valuable and limited. With these four questions as a guide, you can evaluate your appeal so that you continue to fundraise more effectively and efficiently to support the important work of your organization.
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