A News Non Profits — 01 April 2019

By: TJ Hillinger

Does your boss fire-hose you with questions that you wish you knew cold, but maybe you don’t? Do you hesitate when put on the spot with questions like:

  • “How many new members do we have this year?
  • “What is our five-year donor value?”
  • “What’s our retention rate?”

Your boss wants to know—and is relying on YOU to know the answers. Learning how to identify and understand the most important performance metrics for your direct marketing fundraising program, both by channel and overall, is key to integrated fundraising.

Seasoned marketers know to look for clues in the data, to forensically search for signs of trouble, find ways to improve performance, or capitalize on other opportunities.

First and foremost…

The first gift amount, for example: we’ve found that long-term value and retention tend to increase as first gift amount increases. So, knowing this metric and the values related to giving levels can help improve overall performance.

Wait, second gifts are telling, too?

Well, when donors make that second gift certainly is. Second-gift rate, or how quickly a donor gives a second donation, can indicate how valuable he or she will be to your organization over the long haul. And for many organizations, identifying lower-dollar donors who are primed for upgrading can be the key to building a successful major donor program over time.

Values and rates and totals, oh my!

These metrics—along with new member totals, five-year donor value, and retention rate, among others—are the ones you need to fully understand and be able communicate with confidence when the questions start coming.

Bridge Conference to the rescue!

That’s where Bridge comes in, and the art and science of marketing and fundraising. Join me at this year’s conference for a panel session for marketers who want to learn just how critical data and benchmarks are to our work.

We’ll help you identify and understand the most important performance metrics for your direct marketing program, and how they interconnect. You’ll understand how to benchmark your organization’s stats against previous stats and against industry standards for your sector. And we’ll share techniques on how to effectively communicate these metrics—and what they mean for your program—to higher ups. They’ll have all the information they need to make informed decisions. And you’ll look like a rock star.

Join me and industry experts Myles King, Director of Annual and Digital Fundraising at the Kennedy Center and Laura Connors, Vice President of Membership at National Parks Conservation Association. This lively panel discussion will immeasurably help you understand and communicate the metrics that matter.

TJ Hillinger, vice president of analytical services at Avalon Consulting, will speak on Key Metrics 101 at the 14th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference, July 10-July 12, Gaylord National Hotel & Conference Center, National Harbor, MD (adjacent to Washington, DC). TJ and her team focus on directing the analytical components of clients’ fundraising marketing programs, as well as the implementation of any Avalon Analytics tools.


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