Two Ways to Determine Your Fundraising Effectiveness

Fundraising can pull you in many directions. Letters, phone calls, face-to-face solicitations, events—all of these can bring in dollars. The key is tracking their performance.

Track the return on your investment (ROI). If you spent $1,000 to complete a mail campaign, how much profit did it yield? If that project only generated $250 in donations, then it wasn’t worth it. But if it generated $3,000, I’d consider it a worthy investment. My rule of thumb is you shouldn’t spend more than 35 cents for every dollar raised. Personally, I prefer to spend even less.

Compare the ROI of different strategies. Compare your mail campaigns, social media solicitations, event fundraisers and every medium you use to generate revenue. Figure out which ones yielded the most cash with the smallest investment. Your investment is not limited to funds spent, but also includes time and supplies. Once you’ve analyzed each effort, you should be able to start identifying which strategies are generating the most money (once expenses have been taken into account). These are the fund development strategies that are working most effectively for your non-profit, and the ones you should continue to improve so they can generate even more year after year.

See if you can reduce expenses on the efforts that aren’t generating as much money. If you can’t make these more profitable, then you should consider eliminating them.

Question: What strategies are working best for you in raising money?