Thread Senior Consultant Anna Morozovsky talks about her love of data and why January is a great month to focus on it.
I have always been an extroverted data nerd, so becoming a fundraiser may have always been my destiny since it requires both a love of data AND of talking to people. I’ll save my thoughts on the importance of relationship building for another post, because today I want to talk about data – and why January is a wonderful month to focus on it.
Before we dive in – a big congrats on surviving the year-end gauntlet! Your compelling letters arrived in mailboxes, your email appeals were succinct, timely and motivating, your social media content was shared and donations poured in – whew! Give yourself a pat on the back, your organization’s mission received a huge boost thanks to your incredible efforts.
Now, maybe with a cup of coffee in hand, it’s time to dive into the numbers. In some ways this is the first step of your 2024 year-end campaign, and it’s a way to set you, and your organization, up for success over the next 12 months.
Who donated? This is the most important item. Have you added all your donations into your CRM? Did you code them to your year-end campaign? Did everyone who gave get a thank you note of some kind?
Why did they give? When you were creating all your segments, your mailing list, your email send-to lists, was any of that captured in your CRM? Can you pull a list of who received your letter AND made an end of year donation? Can you determine which email appeal received the most donations? (Tip: if someone received an email, and gave online in the 24 hours after the email was sent, it’s safe to credit it to that email).
Who didn’t give? Take a look at your 2022 donors, who didn’t give in 2023? What can you do in 2024 to bring those folks back? For any 2022 major donors who didn’t give in 2023, come up with a custom re-engagement strategy (consider in-person meetings, support from a Board member, sharing custom content you know the donor cares about, etc.
How much did people give? Take a look at your 2023 donors – who gave more this year than previous years? Who gave less? Come up with personal cultivation plans for any major donors who either dropped below that threshold in 2023, or any donors who should be cultivated to reach major donor status.
As you are digging into all this data, it’s important that you are capturing what you learned. The best vehicle for this is a Campaign Wrap Up Report (check out our video about it, if visual learning is more your speed!). A good report will include:
Basic Donation Data
How much was raised? (be specific about the time frame!)
How much online? Offline?
How many unique donors did you have?
How many donations did you have?
How many new donors did you have?
What was your average gift size?
How many appeals (mail and email) were sent? What dates?
What segments did you send to? How many people were on those lists?
How many non-appeal (cultivation/stewardship) communications were sent? What dates?
How many social media posts did you do? Which ones were most successful/widely shared?
What are the open and click through rates for all your emails?
Write about the theme of your campaign, did it seem to motivate your supporters? What worked well (and what didn’t work well) with the logistics of executing the campaign? Do you need to give yourself more time for anything next year? What do you want to remember for the next campaign?
If you’ve followed these steps you should have a solid wrap up report that will aid you greatly in planning next year’s campaign along with some strong cultivation plans to help you generate meaningful relationships with your donors (I know, I said I wasn’t going to get into that – but in fundraising it’s all connected!)
Those two items will form a strong foundation for your annual development plan – how you are going to reach your budget goal for 2024. And, if you feel like you are still miles from that – that’s what we’re here to help you with! Send us an email ([email protected]) and let’s talk about how we can help you!