Online Fundraising Academy: Fundraising Evaluation and Analysis

kaylanKaylan Christofferson, GlobalGiving’s Business Intelligence Analyst, joined us for the final session of the 2014 Online Fundraising Academy to talk about Fundraising Evaluation and Analysis. Kaylan and her team support GlobalGiving 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 the value of goal-setting and ongoing monitoring of fundraising activities and provided concrete tips to get started!

Session recording:  

Session notes:

Fundraising Analysis

WHO should be using data to drive fundraising strategy?

  • If your organization has limited resources and if your organization is working for an important cause (which should be everyone!), you should be looking at data.
  • With limited resources, you need to use resources as efficiently as possible. 
  • If working for important cause, data can help to maximize effectiveness to generate more funds for your work

AdWords-Best-Practice_Loves-DataWHY should we use data?

  • Data analysis is using the numbers to help guide your actions, set fundraising goals, and measure progress so you can maximize funds to support your mission
  • When resources are limited, using your time efficiently and effectively is even more important!
  • Example: Look at time spent on different fundraising activities to compare how effective each activity is. Can see that board outreach is more time-efficient. This is not saying that you should only focus on your most efficient activity, but this can help you be more efficient and help you stay on track with your fundraising goals.

Fundraising Activity

Time Spent on Activity

Total Donations from Activity

Email outreach

10 hours


Board outreach

3 hours


Social media

5 hours


WHEN should you use data to set goals?

  1. Before a particular fundraising campaign or event
  2. Annual strategic planning and throughout the year

Example 1: Set a goal before a particular campaign/event – Bonus Day

How much money can your organization raise on Bonus Day?

  • Step 1: First, let’s use historic data from a similar event to estimate average gift size. We can assume that the average will be the same for the upcoming Bonus Day
  • Step 2: Now let’s set a goal for the number of donations we can get on Bonus Day. Consider:
    • Who are your potential donors?
    • What strategies will you use to reach out to various groups of these donors?
    • What portion of these donors will likely donate as a result of your outreach?
    • What is you goal? Do you want to increase or maintain email donation rate?
  • Plug in numbers in this equation: Number of donations x average donation amount = total funds raised/your goal for Bonus Day
    • Can use this for each of your fundraising strategies (email, board, social media, etc).
    • Use concrete strategies and reasonable assumptions to set goal

Bonus Day Goals





# of donations


Average Donation Amount



Total Raised

Email outreach




Board outreach




Social media




Total Goal




  • Step 3: Evaluate.
    • After the campaign, evaluate data to test the validity of your assumptions and learn which strategies were most successful. You can look at what happened to see what was effective, what you did to influence changes.

Bonus Day Evaluation




# of Donations


Average Donation Amount



Total Raised

Goal – Email outreach




Actual – Email outreach




Actual vs. Goal

+ 6



 Example 2: Set goals for annual strategy planning and throughout the year – Donor retention

  • Step 1: Use historical data from previous years to calculate donor retention in 2013 as a benchmark for performance
  • Step 2: Set goal for donor retention in 2014? Do you want to improve or maintain donor retention?
  • Step 3: Measure progress throughout the year

How frequent should we be setting goals and measuring progress?

  • Incorporate data into goal-setting and performance measurement all year-round
  • Discuss explicitly on specific occasions throughout the year
  • Try to weave data into daily decision-making, communication, and strategy on an organizational and individual level to maximize learning

Example: GlobalGiving’s frequency of setting goals and measuring progress

  • Specific occasions throughout the year:
    • Annual all-staff strategic planning retreat
    • Mid-year step-back
    • Quarterly goal progress check-ins
    • Monthly goal progress check-ins
    • Individual team goal progress check-ins
  • Daily basis:
    • Weekly staff meeting: trends in donation activity
    • Analysis of individual campaigns and outreach strategies
    • Individual staff experimentation and knowledge-sharing
    • Time tracking and activity-based costing analysis


  • Microsoft Excel
  • Google Analytics
  • MailChimp
  • ConstantContact
  • Facebook Insights
  • GlobalGiving!
    • Donation manager – data on individual donations, annual activity, campaign activity, donation data source
      • Filters available to help narrow data range
      • Can export data to Excel
      • Can find trends, set goals, see progress
      • Web analytics – COMING SOON to PE – can use for strategic planning, setting goals, set benchmarks, can experiment with different strategies to see if one works, see if should change strategy. You’ll be able to track:
        • Number of visits
        • Number of visitors
        • Average time on page
        • Donation source
        • Donations over time
        • Donation size
        • Project report open rates

WHY use data to set goals and measure progress?

  • More targeted strategies
  • More experimentation
  • More learning More donors
  • More donations
  • More fundraising
  • More mission!

When should you start using data? NOW

  • Begin with questions that are high strategic priorities for your organization
  • You can also use today’s examples as a starting point:
    • Set a goal for upcoming Bonus Day campaign
    • Set a goal for 2014 donor retention

Q: What about using wealth research tools, WealthEngine, iWave to cultivate or set goals for donor engagement?

A: We are not that familiar with those specific tools, but How America Gives is a good resource.  The study by Chronicle of Philanthropy looked at average gift donations by zip code so you can learn about giving habits of Americans. It might be a good tool for setting goals for communities by zip codes. Here’s last year’s session on How America Gives.

Q: Do you need professional service to maximize?

AGoogle Analytics  can be applied for free to your website. GG uses Google Analytics to see where people are clicking and what they’re doing. It helps to understand what people are doing on your website. Ad words is often available for free to non-profits. 

1 Comment

Mejora tu Exeperiencia Blogger

about 7 years ago

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