Fundraising Evaluation and Analysis

Kaylan Christofferson,  GlobalGiving’s Business Intelligence Analyst, joined us for the final Online Fundraising Academy session on Tuesday, May 28th. Kaylan and her team support the organization in financial goal setting and benchmarking and lead the charge in tracking annual progress and evaluating year-end results. She is responsible for compiling a weekly analysis of site activity and donations. She discussed GlobalGiving’s rigorous goal-setting and ongoing monitoring of fundraising activities.

Session recording:

Session notes:

We track our goals so rigorously because we want to experiment, learn, and test our assumptions and figure out how we can maximize our impact. This presentation includes examples of how GlobalGiving measures and evaluates our performance and draw some general lessons based on that.

Setting Goals

  • It is important to set aside time on your calendar on an ongoing basis to create and assess your goals.
  • At GlobalGiving, we compare our progress to our goals at the following meetings:
    • Weekly analysis of high-level activity
    • Individual team goal progress check-ins
    • Monthly goal progress check-ins
    • Quarterly goal progress check-ins
    • Mid-year step back
    • Annual all-hands retreat

GlobalGiving Goals 

  • Fundraising goals are set in the broader context of our vision and mission
  • Individual teams are responsible for certain pieces of the overall goal
    • Teams have different methods of building their financial forecasts, but goals are aligned and evaluated across the organization
    • Individual team dashboards, where each team looks at their own data
    • Quarterly and monthly progress evaluations

Weekly dashboard

  • Analysis of donations and activity on the site on a weekly basis
  • Presented by the operations team to the entire staff
  • Consistent updates on key metrics
    • Headlines: Weekly donation volume, total amount raised to day compared to last year, compared to our volume goals, number of weekly donations, size distribution of donations
    • Timing of donation activity: Compare donation volume by month, analyze reasons for spikes or slumps in donations
    • Key drivers of donation activity: Where are donations coming from? Emails, major donors, Facebook, recurring, etc.
    • Geographic break down of donations: Where are donors giving?
    • Monthly unique visits to the site: Tracking the number of individuals who visit the GlobalGiving website on a monthly basis
    • Unique visitor conversion rate: The number of people making donations compared to the number of people who are visiting the site
    • Monthly recurring donations: For how many months does the average recurring donor give? What is the size of the average recurring donation?
    • Donor retention: Donor retention within the year (how many donors have given more than once in the same year), year-over-year donor retention (donors who have given this year and last year)
    • Individual campaign analysis: Total volume, number of donors, matching funds, match percentage, incentives, timing, compare to other similar campaigns (help you decide which campaigns to invest time and resources in)
  • Explore individual campaigns, trends, and goals in greater depth on an ongoing basis

Goals vs. Forecast

  • Goals are somewhat aspirational. We can’t necessarily tell you exactly how we will reach them but we feel that they are realistic given past performance.
  • Forecasts are based on financial planning and can be adjusted throughout the year to reflect changing realities. What are the sources of income you expect to receive this year? How much do you expect to raise from each source?

Kaylans presentation

How to Build a Forecast

  • Build your big, annual goal using smaller, more granular categories
    • Break it down into individual pieces
  • Build a forecast based on data and flexible, measurable assumptions
    • Outline the levers and strategies behind the goal (how to you expect to achieve it?)
    • Benchmark against your historical perfomance (Is your goal reasonable given your achievements last year?)
    • Benchmark versus peers with available information (What are other, similar size organizations in your sector raising each year?)
  • Consider grouping donors based on donation type or volume
    • Predict the number of donations and total donation volume by group
    • Understand the lifetime value of your donors to help determine your donor strategy
  • Analyze donation activity from previous years to help create forecast for upcoming year


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