How to Measure Your Fundraiser’s Success

Was your fundraiser a success? When your supporters ask this, do you know how to answer? Has your organization found a way to truly track success in fundraising? Consider the answers to these two questions as you try to gauge the success of your latest fundraising effort.

Did You Raise Money?

The first goal of a fundraiser is, of course, to raise funds, and this is one way you can determine if yours was a success. Yet measuring income is not always a simple task. You need to compare your revenue to your goals, first, and also to your expenses. Your goal is to run a fundraiser that gives you a good return on investment. In other words, you want a fundraiser that helps you raise significantly more than you spend.

When considering expenses, consider more than just the cost of the fundraising items or event. You also need to consider the time spent. After all, time is money for any organization, so if you are investing a significant amount of man-hours, particularly if those are paid hours, and seeing little in return, then you need to re-think your fundraising efforts. Your fundraiser may not have been as successful as you thought.

When considering the income generated by the fundraiser, don’t forget to evaluate it in more than one way. The total is important, but you can also consider the average gift amount. If your total is driven high because you had one generous donor, but the other donors’ gifts were quite small, the fundraiser may not have been as much of a success as you wanted. If that donor does not participate next year, you will be scrambling to meet your goals.

Measuring in Relationships

You can also use a fundraiser to build relationships, both with your existing supporters and with potential new supporters. Unlike funds, relationships are hard to measure.

First, consider your most important relationships. These are your high-value donors, trustees and largest supporters. Make note of them and determine how they interacted with your fundraiser. Good interaction with these important groups means you have done well with your fundraiser.

Next, consider the response rate for your letters, emails or phone calls. What percentage of recipients responded to your outreach efforts for your campaign? The higher your response rate, the more successful your fundraiser is.

If your fundraiser involves an Internet component, then you can measure traffic and click-through rate as a way to determine your success. If your traffic or click-through rate increase significantly after you begin the fundraiser, then you have done a good job.

Remember, the end goal of any fundraiser, whether a large event or simply selling car magnets to your supporters, is to raise awareness and make some money. If you are doing both, and your expenses are not overriding your achievements, then you have found success. If not, then it’s time to rethink your strategies and find ways to improve, so you can be successful in this important aspect of running an organization or business.

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