Sometimes it’s hard to get a handle on how well your organization is doing in fundraising.
Sure, you can look at the bottom line and check out how much money was raised.
But there are other factors, too, that play into how much funding your organization will be able to land over time.
There are several “yardstick” factors that you need to get in place if you really, really want to max out your nonprofit’s fundraising potential.
Are your fundraising programs organized, productive and raising the money you need?
OR is your team running ragged, with too many priorities, not reaching your fundraising goals . . . or your potential?
So let’s check out how well you are doing. How healthy is your organization’s fundraising?
Can you nail these 10 Critical Factors for your organization?
We created these quick 10-Questions as a fundraising scorecard for you to measure your own program.
Use these questions as a way to generate thoughtful, unemotional conversations about your organization’s fundraising program.
Pull in your leaders and talk about what’s working well , . . and what’s working not so well. And how you can all work together to make it better.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your organization could pull off organized, targeted, planned, high-quality fundraising programs that max out your revenue potential?
Here’s a path to get there.
1. We’re meeting our fundraising goals.
Here’s where you start. If you are not meeting your goals, then something is off.
Your goals are not based on reality perhaps? They are pie-in-the-sky goals?
Or perhaps you don’t have a plan laid out ahead of time designating HOW you’ll meet the goals?
Always set goals by the numbers. Make a detailed plan of tactics that will lead you to reach your goals. .
2. We have an organized Fundraising Plan that keeps everyone on track.
Aha! Here’s that Fundraising Plan again.
A recent report from Third Space Studio, the Individual Donor Benchmark Report, reported that:
“Having a fundraising plan is the key indicator for successful fundraising.”
Need I say more? :)
3. Our board and leadership have confidence in our fundraising and our staff.
Often there are communication breakdowns between organizational leaders and fundraising staffers.
If fundraisers don’t feel like the leaders have confidence in them, then productivity clearly suffers.
And if the leaders don’t have confidence, then they are apt to interfere, second-guess, and generally disrupt fundraising activities.
4. We have a successful, productive major gifts program.
Major Gifts is where the real profitability is in fundraising.
But it’s often the last fundraising strategy that is mastered, for many reasons.
Every organization can have a major gifts program – even one that only focuses on 20 top prospects.
That’s when you’ll be able to bring in the big money that’s really out there for your cause.
5. We have mastered multi-channel fundraising.
What’s true multi-channel fundraising?
It’s when you are able to weave different media channels together into a coherent campaign.
For example, your year-end campaign includes direct mail, email, website, telephone messages all into one theme, one goal.
Each missive supports all the other communications, so that your message really builds up in your supporters’ hearts.
6. We have an internal culture that supports fundraising and philanthropy.
What’s a true culture of philanthropy?
It’s when two things happen:
a. Everyone in your organization understands and supports fundraising.
b. There’s a shared responsibility for fund development across the entire organization.
That’s when organizations’ financial results really start to soar.
7. Our donor retention % goes up every year.
Your donor retention is probably the single most important indicator of your fundraising program’s performance.
This number tells you whether you are on the fundraising treadmill, losing donors as fast as you gain them.
Or if you are really building a base of donors who will stick with you over time.
Keeping your donors is where the money is in fundraising today.
8. Our fundraising events are worth the time we spend on them.
Time and time again, staffers say that events drain energy and resources. That events are profitable ways to spend resources. They don’t really raise that much money.
But often leaders are emotionally tied to events, and insist on them.
Take time now, during planning season, to calmly talk about the TOLL that events take on your entire organization.
And check out our post on Why You Should Ditch Your Next Event.
9. We’ve nailed donor-centered messaging.
If you can make your donors feel so happy that they are one with you for your cause, they will reward you by giving over and over.
Donor-centered messaging is not easy. It’s certainly not intuitive. But you CAN master it! :)
Want some help? My donor-centered letter checklist.
10. We rarely operate in crisis mode.
Crisis mode is not where you’ll find max productivity.
Crisis mode is when there’s not a Fundraising Plan. There’s no coherent strategy that outlines what ‘s supposed to happen when and who is supposed to do it.
How often do you and your team have to operate in crisis mode? :)
Bottom Line: These Fundraising Scorecard questions will reveal a lot about your program.
Use these to generate a thoughtful discussion about your fundraising program.
Planning time is the perfect time to calmly consider what you will do and how you’ll do it.
What’s YOUR experience in getting everyone organized to “plan?” I’d love to know!
Leave us a comment!