Establish Goals and Success Metrics
The first place to start when planning your year-end fundraising strategy is to establish goals (what are you trying to accomplish?) and success metrics (how will you know if you have?).
Your goals should be more than just a final dollar amount. Use your end-of-year fundraising as an opportunity to educate, engage, and empower your community. Inspiring your audience to act in ways beyond giving can be just as critical to your organization’s success.
Think about your goals with the full spectrum of positive actions or impact in mind, not just donations or major gifts. Volunteer opportunities, website traffic, social media engagement, on-the-ground advocacy, and earned media are all meaningful goals to consider in your larger strategy.
Once your goals are set and prioritized, it’s critical to define success metrics that can be clearly and objectively measured. “Increase Awareness” isn’t a measurable goal. Raising site visitations by 10% or adding 1,000 people to your newsletter list are targets that you can set and gauge your progress. Of course you will want to measure the total funds raised and compare that with your primary goal, but be sure to break down your successes and failures with a bit more granularity.
Set targets for funds raised from each marketing channel, major gifts versus small gifts, local donations versus national donations, repeat donors versus new donors, and any other meaningful breakdowns of funding source.
With modern digital analytics platforms, it’s possible to segment your data into objective measurements of success such as funds raised, and digital engagement across your website and social media channels. Be sure to set these analytics tools up from the beginning of your campaign. Ideally, start at the beginning of the calendar year, so that you can recognize trends and performance benchmarks throughout the year.
Although it’s important to set realistic goals, don’t be afraid to shoot for a stretch goal or two. This is a great opportunity to challenge your organization to grow in areas that may be lagging behind. With some creative planning, this approach can even become a component of your campaign strategy.