Measuring donor acquisition success

measure-1Organisations are growing and fundraisers are looking for new, reliable acquisition channels. Using digital to generate leads, which charities are converting to monthly donors via an ask by a
telefundraiser, has proven very successful for a few years. But now there’s a lot of clutter and bad operators in the marketplace.

And we’re losing the personal touch as the volumes go up.

Fundraising is about people and matching an individuals passions and purpose to an organisation that is doing work in the space. But as we search for bigger numbers, the quality is decreasing and it’s fundraising by numbers, not by relationship.

One of the most important points we should be talking about is the management of your donor lifecycle.

What do I mean by donor lifecycle?

  • First gift debit rate
  • Payment delinquency (how many of their monthly donations actually process)
  • Measuring program success by retention/ attrition and ROI rather than by conversion rate and cost per acquisition alone
  • Cash gifts made in addition
  • Engagement and response rates.

As you can see, this is much more about best practice process and reporting, than it is about digital leads, onboarding, or a telemarketing ask.

Donor acquisition and retention

But success should be assessed from a full 360-degree point of view. As a consultant that delivers a project with an end date, I don’t have visibility of this.

As the in-house fundraiser, you may have a long-term partnership with your telemarketing agency, which may politely request this information from you, But they don’t have visibility into the quality and retention of the donors they deliver, either.

If you’re an Acquisition Manager, you may not have clear visibility/ responsibility for this either, which makes decision making hard for you. Is donor retention the responsibility of another team?

If you’re the Acquisition Manager, then it is likely that your KPI is new donors, and your remit finishes as the donor passes over the 3-month mark – then you pass the baton to your retention team.

Fundraising team structure

Reporting on your donor acquisition and retention can be determined by your team/ organisational structure. If you manage Donor Acquisition and Retention, you are in a better position to see the full donor lifecycle and assess it.

But, really, it’s about reporting and tracking the lifecycle and making sure you know these numbers. Without them, you can’t make an educated decision about whether the Digital Lead to Telephone Acquisition channel has an effective ROI or not.

Tracking your donor lifecycle

The good thing is, all this data is available to you. If, to date, you haven’t been tracking the quality of your donors (back to the lead source), you can start now and do a post analysis that looks back at this for your past digital lead acquisition campaigns.

Maybe you’ll find something surprising?

You’ll definitely see some things that you already know.

But I guarantee you there are improvements to be actioned and savings to be made.