Key metrics for fundraising during COVID-19 and beyond: Part 3

Key performance indicators
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We’re recapping our recent webinar highlighting 3 key performance indicators that every advancement organization needs to focus on in FY21 and beyond. So far, we’ve outlined why donor retention and gift pipeline are two of the most important metrics your team needs to focus on in FY21 and beyond.  

If you missed the first post in this series, start here.

If you missed the second post in this series, start here.

The last metric we’ll jump into is creating 1:1 relationships.

Retention - Pipeline - 1:1 Connections

1-on-1 Relationships

How many alumni have a genuine, one-on-one relationship with your institution?

Across EverTrue’s higher ed customers, only 2.8 percent of all constituents are assigned to a gift officer. (And less than half of those people actually received a visit or an interaction last year.) That means the vast majority of our donor base falls into the mass communications category, only hearing from the university when they’re on a phonathon call list or a postcard arrives in the mail.

In today’s world where the customer is king and every experience is designed around their interests and needs, that is simply not good enough.

Advancement needs to use technology to create more delightful, personal donor experiences. So the third overlooked metric we’ll cover in this series is a simple counting exercise: how many people have one-on-one interactions with your institution? And how can you increase that?

We talked earlier about how Donor Experience Officers can engage thousands of your next best prospects using a combination of insights, technology, and digital-first communication (learn more about Oregon State’s program). 

Key metrics for fundraising

This approach should extend beyond a core team of DXOs to the entire advancement organization. Advancement needs to find more creative ways to deliver surprise, delight, and value to every alumni.nd

West Point Association of Graduates

Call ‘em All project leads to new major gift prospects, increased giving

Key metrics for fundraising

When the pandemic hit and quarantine set in, the West Point Association of Graduates stopped all fundraising activity and shifted the entire team’s focus to connecting directly with every alum. Literally. They called tens of thousands of graduates to check in, offer help, and connect them to the college’s Gripping Hands program, which offers local support networks to graduates.

“We weren’t just reaching out to say, ‘Thank you for your gift this year’ or ‘Hey, how are you doing?’, but we could also reach out and offer our graduates a service,” said Jessica Kuhlman, Senior Director of Donor Strategy and Analytics.”

West Point staff didn’t call at random. They started with their most engaged alumni and their best prospects. Using EverTrue’s integration with Windfall, they gave their gift officers call lists of unassigned, affluent donors. Those conversations led to more than 20 new prospect assignments and opened several brand new major gift conversations.

The personal outreach also helped lead to a 24 percent increase in the number of first-time donors during the Academy’s giving challenge, which came in the weeks after the Call ‘em All program. And the team will continue to call likely planned giving prospects on a regular basis to check-in, have a conversation, and keep West Point top of mind.

Get the full Call ‘em All story in this RAISE presentation. (16-min video)

The University of Wisconsin Foundation

The team sent a personal video from a student to every donor — all 35,000 of them.

Key metrics for fundraising

We wrote about this project before, but it’s worth repeating because the UW team took personalization to the next level. Using ThankView, they had students film and send stewardship videos to 35,000 donors.

Why take on such a massive project? Because putting donors and their experience first is always the right thing to do. And with fundraising on hold, the stewardship team had the time and technology to make it happen.

This kind of one-on-one outreach is critical to driving donor retention and building major gift pipeline — two other overlooked metrics for fundraising during this pandemic and beyond.

Learn more about this project in Aimee and John’s RAISE spotlight. (16-min video)

How are you finding ways to reach more donors with 1-on-1 conversations?

While teams can’t just hire dozens of new development officers and put every single alum in a portfolio, advancement can use technology to deliver personalized donor experience to thousands of more donors.

We need to think beyond the tip-top of the pyramid and extend that same concierge-level experiences to the next best donors. And we need to take advantage of easily available technology to find ways to delight donors, show them we know who they are, and share stories that add value to their experience.

For more innovative ideas, check out the entire RAISE lineup (it’s fantastic) and see our posts on the other overlooked KPIs for fundraising during FY21 and beyond: donor retention and major gift pipeline.

Watch the full webinar recording: 3 KPIs for Advancement During COVID-19 and Beyond

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