You know that you need to collect data about your supporters to create a strong fundraising strategy. But what should these data points be? How can you use this important data? Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to these types of questions.
Every nonprofit is different and so are their donor bases. Therefore, every organization will also need to use a different strategy when considering the analytics and metrics to track. While the complete analytics picture will look different from organization to organization, there are some common numbers that matter for all nonprofits.
In this guide, we’ll cover some important metrics from the two most important categories discussed in Jitasa’s complete donor analytics guide: giving analytics and engagement analytics. Let’s dive in.
Giving analytics describe the donations your supporters give. These metrics help your nonprofit make assumptions about your supporters’ donation habits and preferences.
When you save this type of information in your nonprofit’s CRM, you can then personalize future outreach, asking for the right donation amount from the right person at the right time. Plus, it will help you identify patterns in donations so you can create a more concrete and sustainable budget.
Past Donation Amounts
A best practice is to track the donation amounts that each of your supporters gives. This will help inform your financial management and fundraising strategies:
- Past gift amounts will help you solicit the right amount of money from donors in the future. If a supporter gives $1,000 annually, you wouldn’t jump to ask them for a $5,000 donation.
- Details about past gifts can help you anticipate restrictions on future donations. If a major donor gives regularly to the same program, you know what to expect in conversation with them and can budget for those restrictions.
When you take a complete look at the donation amounts supporters give, you can also create segments in your CRM to personalize donor interactions. For example, you might have a segment for your major donors and another for mid-tier supporters who have the potential to become major supporters.
Frequency of Giving
How often do your supporters give to your organization? Annually? Monthly? Your organization may base your communication and solicitation on the frequency of giving trends in your support base.
For example, you might come up with twelve different appreciation notes that can be sent each month for your monthly recurring donors. This helps keep it interesting so they don’t always receive the same generic appreciation message.
Recency of Giving
Keep track of when your donors give to your cause. Understanding the last time they donated provides an indication of that supporter’s engagement with your cause. It can also help you determine if it’s the right time to solicit another gift.
For example, if someone suddenly goes from donating annually to not donating, you might decide to reach out to re-engage them with your mission. Or, if someone gives to your organization right before you launch a new campaign, you may opt against soliciting a campaign gift from them right away.
Let’s say you have two donors who both give $1,000 annually. One of them simply donates each year. The other one donates, regularly volunteers, attends all of your events, and acts as a fundraising ambassador for your peer-to-peer campaigns. Which donor is more valuable? Answer: the second one.
Engagement analytics help you determine which donors are most valuable to your cause and which ones are potential lapse risks. Not only that, but if you know what aspects of your strategy supporters engage with, you can come up with a better stewardship strategy to retain them.
Email Open and Click-Through Rates
Analyzing email open and click-through rates will help you see which donors regularly read your email messages and which emails go unnoticed. In addition, tracking these analytics on an individual donor basis will help you see which donors ignore your messages and are therefore lapse risks.
Viewing these email metrics as a whole can help you better understand your email strategy and make it more effective.
Keep track of who attends your events and what type of events provide the most engagement. On a large scale, this can help you determine if you’re reaching some audiences better than others. For example, if you have one segment of supporters who frequently attends events and another that rarely comes, you might need to change your promotion strategy for that second segment.
Also, you can adjust your engagement strategy based on who attends. For attendees, you might send them an email to thank them for coming. However, you might send a “We missed you!” message for those who were unable to attend to re-engage them with your cause.
Many nonprofits thank donors for their generous contributions, but forget to send thank you letters to their volunteers. The contribution of time is an equally important gift that is integral to your operations. Your volunteers are also some of the most likely supporters to give, so tracking volunteer time can help your nonprofit source new donations.
Finally, there is often a financial benefit for volunteer hours when your volunteers are eligible for volunteer grants through their employers. Ask volunteers to research their eligibility and to submit a request for the grant. By tracking their hours for them, you can make this request easy for your supporters to complete.
Similar to volunteer hours, it’s important not to ignore the impact of in-kind donations for your cause simply because it’s not a monetary gift. Record the in-kind donations, who contributed them, and how much each one is worth in your system.
Supporters that donate items in-kind are highly engaged with your cause and may be willing to support your nonprofit in other ways as well.
Keeping an eye on your various donor analytics will help your organization maximize support and grow your mission. Review these analytics as well as other metrics that correspond with your nonprofit’s goals to make sure you’re covering all of your bases.