You’ve probably heard of the idea of “data-driven fundraising,” but you’re no data scientist. You know there’s a lot of power in the data you’ve got... Power that'll point you in the direction of awesome insights about your fundraising program. So how do you get these awesome insights? The answer is fundraising reports!
Every fundraiser needs reporting to leverage their data; it's your ticket to data-driven fundraising. But listen, it can get rabbit-hole-y, so don't let reporting become your full-time job. By regularly using a couple of essential fundraising reports, shown here in handy-dandy list format, you'll be on your way to being BFFs with your data.
Essential Fundraising Reports
Let’s start off with some of the essential fundraising reports you should be running inside your donor CRM.
By now, you probably know that keeping your donors is more economical than acquiring new donors. Which means... your nonprofit needs to prioritize donor retention. While you know you're gonna run a report on donor retention at the end of your fiscal or calendar year, it's time you started keeping a finger on the pulse of your retention numbers year 'round.
By regularly looking at which donors have not yet renewed their giving, you’ll be able to test out fundraising strategies and asks to try to win back more of those donors. This proactive and targeted approach is your best bet to fixing the perpetual leak in your fundraising bucket.
Okay, yes, donor retention is your priority. But that doesn't mean you can slack on bringing new donors into your donor community. More importantly, you need keep up with who’s become a new donor so that you can make sure to retain them.
Adding a regular report on new donors will help you stay on top of new donor stewardship and set benchmarks for what you can expect in terms of new donor acquisition. And that'll help you improve your annual fundraising projections.
Another report to add to your repertoire is one highlighting your recurring donors. We majorly heart recurring donors for the sustainable revenue they bring to your organization. If your nonprofit is prioritizing your recurring donor program, having the right report set up to track program growth is essential.
Every month, check how much money is coming in from recurring donors, how many new recurring donors you’ve acquired, how you’ve acquired new recurring donors, and how many recurring donors have lapsed. All this information will inform your recurring donor strategy and help you make smart decisions.
Revenue by Channel and/or Appeal
Smart fundraisers know that the majority of their revenue comes from one or two best-performing tactics. Knowing your top performers helps you hone your strategy for those superstar tactics, maximizing your fundraising opportunities. But in order to do that, you need a regular report that breaks down your revenue by channel and/or appeal. Ideally, gifts will be coded by channel or appeal inside your CRM to easily allow you to see the breakdown.
Once you've pulled this report for a few months or quarters, you’ll be able to see broader trends in your fundraising tactics. For instance, this report might help you identify key giving times that your nonprofit can double down on with extra fundraising resources.
The last thing your nonprofit needs is to have a major gift go unacknowledged. Talk about a fundraising fail! And yet it happens—especially when the gift is from a first time major donor—because there isn’t a report to cue us to do follow up. To make sure you’re giving all major donors top notch treatment, set up a major gifts report.
The major gifts report should be run frequently, at least once per week if not multiple times per week. Set the report to show you new gifts at or above your major gifts threshold. Regularly looking at this report will ensure no major gift goes unthanked.
Fundraising Reports Beyond Your CRM
There are lots of analytics beyond your donor CRM. Here are a few ideas for additional reports and metrics you may want to track.
Donation Page Conversion
This isn’t a report that you’ll find inside most donor CRMs, but it’s one we think you need to look at monthly. Your online donation pages are the hub of online giving activity. For that reason, you need to make sure they're performing at their best by tracking conversion rate. The donation page conversion rate tells you how many of the page's visitors actually made a donation. It can be a good indication of the effectiveness of your donation page and may give you ideas to improve the conversion rate over time.
Amount Raised Per Email Sent
This is a useful metric to track as it sheds light on giving trends on your email list and helps you forecast how much money you can reasonably expect to raise through email appeals. Let’s say you raised $2,500 from one email appeal that was sent to 3,500 email list subscribers. By dividing 2,500 by 3,500, we learn that we raised $0.83 per email sent.
In case you’re wondering what industry benchmarks are for these metrics, according to the 2020 M+R Benchmarks Study, nonprofits raise an average of $45 per 1,000 emails sent. That makes it about $0.04 per email sent.
List Growth and Churn
Email can be an important driver of online donations. Two reports you’ll want to monitor through your ESP (email service provider) is your list growth (AKA the number of people who are new to list) and list churn (AKA the number of people who are inactive). For list churn, most email marketing programs have a way of defining inactive subscribers. This is natural for every email list and not something your nonprofit can avoid. But by being aware of list churn, you’ll be more prepared to adjust your strategy and your benchmarks accordingly.
Once you have all this data, what do you with it? One thing to do is create a fancy (or simple) annual report. We've got a basketful of advice on our blog to give you all the direction you need to make the report your nonprofit deserves.
- Nonprofit Annual Report Tools: Make an Impressive Report with Ease
- Nonprofit Annual Report Must-Have Elements
- Awesome Nonprofit Annual Report Examples and What You Can Learn from Them
- The Best Way for Your Nonprofit to Do an Annual Review of Your Fundraising Program
Data is here to stay, fundraiser, and the sooner you find ways to make it your friend, the better! By setting up the reports suggested in this article, you’ll be on your way to better fundraising in no time.