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How to assess if your fundraising plan is working

Posted June 9, 2014 by Hunter Williams

6 Steps to a Successful Appeal: Part six of a six-part series

To make the most of your annual giving program, set clear goals and then incorporate measurement tools into your plan. A successful plan will include regular evaluation of your strategies’ successes and failures, and allow for the flexibility to make changes to address shortcomings or enhance windfalls. Some key metrics you might want to track include total amount raised, retention rates, new donor acquisition, and your non-ask ratio (i.e., cultivation/stewardship activities vs. solicitations). For more information on fundraising metrics, see Peter Drury’s Fundraising Dashboard.

Appeal results


Figure 18. Tracking appeal results in LGL: Appeal progress is updated in real time, with the ability to see overall results, results by segment, and by each constituent solicited for the appeal.

Assessing your segmentation strategy versus your results is also key, because you have an opportunity to decide if you can make any adjustments to increase its success. Make sure you critique your solicitation strategy. Sometimes it’s easy to get focused on completing the work in a way that feels comfortable; but why not strive for continuous improvement? Your annual fund leadership committee can provide feedback on asks and solicitations. After all, they are donors too.

Your database can help you stay on top of how well you are doing, not only for overall progress, but also by constituent and the status of individual gifts and follow up needed. You can track how much your ask amount was and whether a pledge is in, as well as what segment the constituent belonged to and where you stand in the solicitation process. Has the constituent been called yet, are they considering giving, have they declined? All that information can be really helpful to you: 1) you can focus on the people who really need follow up, and 2) you can make sure you are respecting people’s requests not to be asked again during this campaign year (if so requested).

End part six

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