Donor Loyalty: Inspect what you expect

Tuesday’s post titled “Time in the office versus time with donors” begged more questions than it answered. Today, we’re going to zoom in on one of those questions and examine it more closely.

How do you measure relationship building
and the success of such activities?

It was suggested in earlier posts that a weekly contact report is one tool that can be used to track relationship building activities; however, there are other tools that you should consider using in conjunction with a contact report.

  • Dashboard
  • Scorecard
  • Annual performance plan
  • Weekly or monthly reports
  • Donor database reports
  • Moves Management reports

If you want to learn more about organizational dashboards, click here to check out a BoardSource book titled “The Nonprofit Dashboard: A Tool for Tracking Progress“. If a dashboard isn’t appealing to you, then you might want to look into a balanced scorecard approach. Click here to see what Bernard Marr at the Advanced Performance Institute has to say about this tool.

Of course, choosing the tool is probably the easiest part of this decision. The more difficult thing is determining which relationship building metrics to track. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Number of cultivation meetings with prospects
  • Increased contribution size – maintained – decreased
  • Number of face-to-face stewardship meetings
  • Number of prospects converted into donors
  • Donor loyalty rate
  • Donor satisfaction survey score
  • Renewal rates for year two, year three, year four, and year five donors
  • LYBUNT and SYBUNT renewals

There are no right or wrong answers to the question of what you should track. I believe that it really boils down to the title of this post: “Inspect what you expect”.

I suppose the best advice I can give to you is “don’t try to make decision by yourself”. I encourage you to engage fundraising staff, resource development committee volunteers, board members, fundraising volunteers, and even donors. There is nothing wrong with pulling together a small focus group, ordering a few pizzas, and engaging them with a few thoughtful questions.

If you are looking for a few good samples, the following are a few links that I think are worth looking at:

Using tools and metrics like these should help you answer the difficult question posed in Tuesday’s blog post: “How much time needs to be spent outside of the office compared to behind your desk?”

What tools does your non-profit organization use to track relationship building and resource development activities? What metrics do you hold your fundraising professionals and executive director to? Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Monitor your organization’s heart rate

Last week after my Fitness Boot Camp session, I ran out to Target and bought my first heart rate monitor, which comes in the form of a strap that you fashion around your chest and a wrist watch. I made this purchase because according to my personal trainer I need to intensify my workouts and keep my heart rate in a particular target zone. This, of course, got me wondering. “Do they make heart rate monitors for non-profit organizations?”

While you might think this is a silly question, I urge you to stop and think about it for just one moment:

  • Shouldn’t board volunteers have a tool to monitor the health of their organization?
  • Wouldn’t the annual campaign leadership team appreciate something to track the collective progress of volunteer solicitors?
  • Couldn’t board and staff benefit from a tool that monitors implementation of any number of activities ranging from strategic planning to the health of the agency’s comprehensive resource development program?

I think that there is enormous benefits in developing such a tool, and the good news is that they do exist. While you cannot go online to and purchase a heart rate monitor for your non-profit organization, you can roll up your sleeves and create a DASHBOARD or SCORECARD that will do the same thing.

When consulting with Boys & Girls Clubs in Indiana on annual campaign implementation last year, I worked with a number of those organizations on developing a simple dashboard using Excel to track campaign progress. Typically, there were six to eight graphical indicators on theĀ front page of their dashboard. Each indicator measured one aspect of their campaign that they thought was important enough to track. Here are a few examples of what they tracked:

  • Board solicitation phase – actual vs. goal
  • Community face-to-face solicitation phase – actual vs. goal
  • Targeted mail solicitation phase – actual vs. goal
  • New donor acquisition – actual vs. goal
  • Donor renewal – actual vs. goal
  • LYBUNT renewal – actual vs. goal
  • Individual volunteer solicitor progress – number of pledge cards assigned vs. number of worked & returned cards

Indicator and monitoring tools like dashboards and scorecards allow non-profits to create a sense of accountability and urgency, which are two elements of volunteer engagement that many non-profits find difficult to generate. Additionally, it provides staff and volunteers with a management tool that helps create the necessary performance to avoid failures.

Finally, the good news is that these tools can be used for almost any project/activity. Here are a few links I’ve dug up that might help you develop your own organizational heart rate monitors:

How does your organization monitor its overall health? Annual campaign? Special events or projects? What have you tracked using your monitoring tools? Please use the comment box to share because we can all learn from each other.

Here is to your health!

Erik Anderson
Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847