min read

cartoon of target, measuring fundraising campaign success

How should you measure fundraising campaign success? In the world of fundraising, our efforts can often times feel like trial and error.

That’s why the most critical element of success is learning from the past.

Optimizing your efforts will increase results and efficiency overall. This means analyzing your tactics after each campaign to determine what produced results and how you can duplicate that effort. Or, similarly, pinpointing actions that didn’t work or need to be tweaked so you can avoid or refine those strategies on your next go-round.

Measuring success can be especially useful when looking at two successive campaigns on the same subject or in a similar category such as athletics. The parallel nature of these affinity-based campaigns is helpful because you’re appealing to the same community, making it easy to develop targeted outreach to adjust or grow their engagement.  

Allowing the campaigns to play off of each other and measuring overall growth is also an opportunity to pin down what makes these types of targeted fundraisers successful over time. Whether this is through analyzing overall results and gift sizes, or determining what received the most engagement on social media, measuring your progress and building in repeatability will promote growth and allow you to expand your operations to include more microsite initiatives.

While it can be tricky to know exactly what to measure and how to adjust your tactics, fear not! This blog is a resource on how to successfully grow your efforts.

How to Measure Success

cartoon hands with heart

Your campaign is complete and your hard work has paid off! Now comes the fun part- analytics. There are so many moving parts within a campaign that it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what were the most important factors to your success. There are several different areas that are measurable and can help you move the needle in the long-term. When analyzing what worked and what didn’t consider the following areas of your campaign:

Fundraising Success Metrics

  • Gifts Secured – How many gifts your organization secured over an allotted period of time. Tracking gifts secured over time is another way of saying you’re tracking donation growth.
  • Fundraising ROI – Your fundraising ROI demonstrates whether or not you have seen value from the money invested in your fundraising efforts by calculating how much money you raised from each dollar you spent.
  • Conversion Rate – Measures how many donors took an action when prompted by your organization.
  • Donation Growth – Tracks your gift secured over a longer span of time to help you make sure you’re meeting your long-term fundraising goals.

Donor Metrics

  • Donor Retention Rate – Allows your organization to track what percentage of donors in your base have given more than once. Try also tracking this metric separately across like campaigns to see if you’re retaining your affinity audience.
  • Donor Growth – Simply tells you how much your donor base has grown (or shrunk) over a determined period.
  • Outreach Rate – Measures how often you’re getting in touch with your donors. Keep in mind the correlation between outreach and retention.

Giving Metrics:

  • Average Gift Size – Measures the percentage by which your average gift size has increased over a certain period of time.
  • Online Giving Percentage – Tells your organization what portion of their overall donations have come from online channels, primarily their online donation page.

Digital Campaign Metrics:

  • Email Conversion Rate – Email conversion tells you how many of your supporters acted on a certain call-to-action, specifically one included in an email
  • Email Opt Out Rate – Measures how many recipients in your list unsubscribed from your email campaign over a certain amount of time.
  • Social Media ROI – Social media ROI is what you get back from all the time, effort, and resources you commit to social. And it’s best calculated with dollar amounts.

How To Improve

cartoon of network web

Now that you have delved into (and recorded) your campaign’s analytics, you can apply your findings to upcoming campaigns. Because you have tracked metrics you can now tailor your efforts for a similar or successive campaign. This can be made extremely simple due to the similarities in communities surrounding these two campaigns.

Set Goals:

Your organization’s success is primarily measured by previous campaigns. Your numbers are unique to your efforts. Setting goals and benchmarks for the numbers you hope to see on the metrics listed above is a great way to cater results to your organization.

Correlate Your Metrics:

Understanding how each of these measurements directly or indirectly affect each other will help you strengthen your efforts. For example, if your donor outreach rate is low and by proxy, your retention rate is not where you would like it to be, boost your outreach program.

Research Your Tactics:

Spend some time on some of these resources to dive into additional tactics that can create deeper engagement among everyone in your community:

Katie Haystead

Katie Haystead

Senior Vice President, Partnerships

With over a decade of experience working with K12 schools and higher education institutions’ fundraising efforts, Katie Haystead now oversees the partnerships team at Community Funded. Her passion for partner success and satisfaction aligns with Community Funded’s priorities and Katie’s unique background is well suited to manage the day to day operations of our partnerships team as well as new market acquisition.

Prior to joining the team at Community Funded, Katie served many roles within the Fundraising Division at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Her experience ranges from working onsite and remotely with clients executing phonathon programs, developing annual giving strategies, onsite consultations and also developing multichannel strategies allowing for strong synergy between annual giving channels and creating strong major and planned gift pipelines.

Katie is based in Metro Detroit and is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where she worked for the phonathon for 3 years while working towards her History Major.

Kim Jennings

Kim Jennings

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Kim Jennings, CFRE is a skilled fundraising leader who believes in the power of Christian education to raise up thoughtful, strong, committed leaders who can make our world a better place for all.

Kim Jennings

Todd Turner

Director of Digital Strategies, Generis

In addition to his 11 years overseeing Chuck Swindoll’s Insight Living Ministries communications department, Todd Turner has worked as a digital strategist for faith based organizations across the globe..

Kim Jennings

Jennifer Perrow

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Jennifer is a skilled fundraising and communications professional who helps ministries articulate vision, communicate mission, and raise abundant funds to advance Kingdom priorities.