Tracking your program

September 12, 2012

Seth Godin recently posted about what we choose to track. Whether it’s things like open rates, click-through rates and response rates — or things like gratitude, connection and joy.

It’s impossible to do great direct fundraising without being driven by the numbers. Whether it’s a piece of mail, an e-blast or an on-air appeal, we reach out to a huge body of people in hopes that a very small percentage will respond. Testing and tracking data are key elements in how we find incremental improvements that make a big difference over time.

But the truth is, the things that give a solid foundation to our great direct fundraising are the big ideas and concepts — the things that are very difficult to track. It’s how we deliver our services every day.  It’s how we write and speak and communicate and develop campaigns and find ways to surprise and delight people.

To embrace this human side of the business is to take a risk. Because you have to come up with your big idea.  Then you have to take a stand and move forward.  And you may never be able to definitively prove that your big idea was a success. 

But it seems to me that you can’t have a brilliant program without bringing both the trackable and the untrackable to the table. Marry them together and you have the potential make magic.

You can read Seth’s post here.