Fundraising metrics you need for navigating the COVID-19 storm

13th May 2020

A fundraiser without good data at his or her fingertips is like a ship without a rudder. And, right now being a like a ship without a rudder might lead to witnessing severe fundraising budget cuts, to reducing your charity’s ability to fulfill its mission, to letting both supporters and beneficiaries down and to, even losing your job.

So, if you are to make your case for continued investment in fundraising the most important thing you can do is to gather the data and insights you need to shape up a new and more robust fundraising strategy.

Here are some simple but important fundraising metrics you should be focusing on. 

Please note that you can be asking these questions to different constituencies and gather the data you need to make your case.

Where is the money coming from?

  • Evaluate your charity’s sources of income for the last five months (January – May). How much income has come through fundraising (direct mail and/ or emails), regular giving, major giving, grants, churches, major donors, legacies, earned income, etc?
  • Also, look at how much you have spent to generate income in every area? Then calculate the Return on Investment per income stream (ROI) to determine how well you are doing and which activities are more profitable than others.

Have you made any new friends for your cause?

  • Have you acquired any new donors in the last five months? – Look at all different types of donors, individuals, major donors, churches, etc.
  • How were these donors acquired? – (What activities motivated that first gift or converted them from a contact to a donor?) If you are to do more fundraising with a smaller budget in the future, you need to know where to invest your marketing money for the highest return.
  • What types of first-time donors have you acquired lately? Low-level donors? Regular donors? Major donors?

How are your old friends doing?

  • What are your multi-year donor retention rates right now? How have the multi-year donors responded to your fundraising activities in the first five months of this year? 
  • Are you maintaining at least the same multi-year donor retention rates to last year? Or, are you doing better? Or worse?
  • What about your regular donors? Are they continuing to support your cause via DD or STO’s?

What about those who have stopped giving? 

  • How many donors have lapsed in the last 12 months? How do your current lapsed donor rates compare with the lapsed donor rates in the previous 12 months? – What can you do right now through your appeals and other communications to reactivate some of these lapsed donors?

What about the giving levels?

  • Are the giving levels of your donors increasing, decreasing, or staying the same? – You can find an answer to this question by tracking the number of donors within different giving ranges. (For example how many donors gave £1 – £25, £26 – £50, £51 – £100 and so on).
  • What about major donors or churches? Are your major donors or churches giving more, less, or the same amounts they gave in the first five months of last year?

What about donor engagement?

  • What have you done in these critical times to increase your supporter’s engagement with your cause?
  • What has worked and what hasn’t? – We recommend that you evaluate the ROI of your appeals or fundraising campaigns, the number of conversations with major donors, the pledges or major gifts, email appeals open and click rates, etc.

The bottom line is that data-driven insights can help you can make better choices during these difficult times. They can also help you make a stronger case for continued investment in fundraising when the board or the senior leadership team might be asking you to do more with less.

And, most of all data-driven insights can enable your ministry to stay focused on fulfilling its mission and serving God’s purposes in our world.