Measuring Donor Engagement

Did you see this one? This article was recently published in Fundraising & Philanthropy- here, you can read it in full below- I’m interested in your thoughts on this topic too,

Measuring Donor Engagement for Fundraising Success

The most successful fundraisers are strategic about donor engagement as they know that more donations come from engaged prospects says Dr Steve Francis. It’s critical to measure donor engagement to continually improve your campaigns. Measuring the number of donors at different times is the easiest way to calculate donor activity and engagement. Donor acquisition, donor retention and retrieving lapsed donors are key objectives and these numbers can be quantified. More difficult is knowing exactly what the numbers mean and how that knowledge should influence future campaigns.

Data collected from your campaigns needs to measure how often contact is made with donors. How much is too much and how much is too little? Regularly measured contact is recommended to calculate conversion rates and offers information on what types of contact works and how much contact gets results.

Peer-to-peer campaigns are another opportunity for donor engagement because they attract participants who not only register for an event but fundraise on behalf of your cause. Peer-to-peer is a brilliant engagement model that attracts all levels of donors – regular, new and lapsed – as participants and sponsors. The data from these events is fundraising gold and is measurable in terms of conversion rates. The supporting digital analytics from social media and websites also reveals interactivity directly with donors and users.

The numbers only tell half the story

Consider this: if we replace the word ‘donor’ with ‘supporter’ then we look beyond the numbers and apply a more qualitative perspective about engagement. Supporter engagement encompasses more than fundraising as it includes volunteers, advocates, members and all other donors (not just fundraisers). While the value of donors is undeniably important, there is something about the known value of advocates and volunteers that carries weight in relation to the public image of your organisation.

Advocates take the time to understand your mission and endorse your organisational work and worth, while volunteers seemingly are inspired to act on behalf of your cause and help you to deliver on your mission. The value that emanates from positive word of mouth efforts by engaged supporters helps shape trust for your organisation’s brand, giving it an edge in the community.

Some people will become engaged supporters because they agree with your mission; others rely on your mission and reputation to be a match. Is it your work or is it a personal experience that has inspired supporters to give back and get involved?

Measuring engagement to inform future strategies requires more than numbers, it needs good questions, conversations and testing surrounding supporter behaviour. Take some risks, learn from the results and don’t forget about supporters!

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