Useless Data—reported regularly

I believe most nonprofit leaders would agree knowing where you stand with your fundraising program is critical. Reporting the “numbers” is a regular feature of management and board meetings. The unique fundraising idea is whether this homage to arithmetic is at all useful.

More often than not, the number that everyone wants to know is the amount of cash received during the last reporting period—month, quarter or year. Fundraising careers are made and broken with this number.

And yet the amount of cash received in any period is a useless piece of data with respect to real success.

Don’t get me wrong, cash is important. Without sufficient quantities of it, your well-intentioned organization will simply cease to be.

Measuring success in fundraising—so that their will be enough cash when it’s needed, requires a different focus, however. There’s a unique fundraising idea—insuring enough cash without focusing on cash.

Fundraising programs that sustain themselves over time, and even scale, are built upon relationships.

Want to know how your fundraising efforts are doing? Where they’re headed? Measure the quality of your donor relationships. Perhaps not a unique fundraising idea but definitely not common is measuring the quality of a relationship.

How? Just as quantifiable but very different from measuring cash received, the quality of your donor relationships are easily evaluated. Think donor-retention rate. Think average gift size. These are just two easily-obtained and compared measures.

Principle 8 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Invest, Integrate & Evaluate™. The unique fundraising idea is to be sure you’re evaluating the right things!

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