KPI’s… Benchmarks… Metrics… It’s important to build a data-driven program so that you’re aware of your own performance, so you can compare it to others, and so you can build plans to improve your program performance over time.
It’s also important to be sure you’re measuring the right things, and that your measurement-tracking is not getting in the way of smart program growth tactics.
Take retention rates and average gift for example – both key, recognized benchmarks in fundraising.
They’re important, but if these are the only measurements your organization is tracking to indicate success, this could lead you to close ranks and focus primarily on soliciting only your most loyal and generous donors to continually improve these metrics.
It could also lead to less emphasis on attracting new donors, who will likely arrive with higher initial costs, lower average gifts, and lower initial retention potential. This may sound great initially, but eventually your file will shrink, and your revenue growth curve will follow.
This is why it’s important to build out a diverse but targeted set of metrics that allows you to track both the strength of the donors already on your file, and the value of the investment you are making in growing the file.
Segmenting your donor cohorts into different metrics calculations is also essential because each cohort will not look the same and will not behave the same.
Metrics are essential. But be sure you’re measuring the right things in order to build an even stronger program in the future.