September 17, 2012

More thoughts on last week’s tracking conversation….

If you were to pick just one metric to measure both your fundraising techniques AND your supporters’ level of joy and connection, you’d want to look at your retention rate — at how many donors you keep from year to year.

Because you could have the best renewal techniques in the world, but if you don’t give your donors reasons to feel joyful and connected all across the year, fewer of them will renew.

Likewise, you could have the most wonderful year-round program that connects your donors to brilliant things, yet have less-than-stellar technique in your renewal series. Again, fewer people will renew. 

Of course, metrics aren’t quite that simple because your retention rate also has to do with the economy… the characteristics of your community… the characteristics of donors in your sector… and the ways you bring people in to your program in the first place.

Even so, to look closely at your trends in this one simple set of data, is to get a good picture of the strength and potential of your overall program.