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6 Fundraising Goals That Your Nonprofit Shouldn’t Ignore


By Elizabeth Pun

Writing in Planner

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Published March 26, 2015 Reading Time: 4 minutes

Every fundraising campaign needs a specific goal. To measure campaign success, most nonprofits typically choose a combination of the following key metrics:

  • Raise $X
  • Acquire X new donors
  • Recruit X fundraisers

These immediate goals are important to establish when launching a fundraising campaign. However, there are other metrics you should consider that can help your organization grow—beyond just a single campaign.

Here are six fundraising goals that can help your organization succeed in the long run.

1. Raise Brand Awareness

While fundraising campaigns set out to raise tons of money, perhaps you’ll want your next campaign to zero in on raising brand awareness. Focusing your efforts to specifically increase reach, boost engagement, and get the word out about your cause can introduce new people to your organization who may turn into donors in the future.

You’ll want to spread the word about your campaign through social media. Then assess your reach and engagement through the number of likes, retweets, comments, and shares your social posts garner. Another way to measure this goal is by looking at the number of new emails you acquire through your homepage. Because your social posts will direct people back to your website, you can track the growing interest in your organization by the number of people who decide to sign up for your updates or newsletter.

2. Acquire New Recurring Donors

Your recurring giving program is one of your most important fundraising initiatives. Monthly recurring donations improve donor retention rates, increase how much donors give on average each year, and create a steady year-round revenue stream. It would be strategic, then, to focus a future campaign on acquiring new recurring donors.

To track your progress toward this objective, you need to first determine how many recurring donors you currently have. Of your current donors, how many of them give monthly?

Then think about how you can grow this donor segment. Naturally, you can increase your number by upgrading one-time donors to monthly givers. You might set the specific goal, “We want to convert X percent of current one-time donors to recurring donors.” An annual donor may have given several times to your organization, but once they choose to give monthly, they count as a new recurring donor.

You can also focus on recapturing lapsed recurring donors. Depending on their reason for leaving, these donors might be easier to bring back into the fold. It could be as simple as asking them to update their expired credit card information.

3. Increase Average Monthly Gift Size

Another way to achieve growth through recurring gifts is to increase your donors’ average monthly gift size. Your goal can be to increase the average gift by a set dollar amount. Let’s say, for instance, you have 100 recurring donors. If the current average monthly gift amount is $15, you might aim to increase it to $18.

Reach out to your recurring donors personally and thank them for their support. Calling them would be ideal, but if this isn’t feasible, deliver a personalized email at the very least. Let your supporters know how much they’ve impacted your organization and its work, and how their involvement is helping to advance your mission. Then, ask them to consider increasing their monthly donation. Explain how even adding just one extra dollar to their gift can greatly enhance your organization’s long-term planning and budgeting for the programs they’re passionate about.

4. Increase Average One-Time Gift Size

On the flip side, your fundraising goal might be to boost the average gift size of all one-time donors. One way to do this is to alter and test suggested giving levels on your donation forms. Upgrade your default gift amounts, and see whether the average gift size received increases by the end of your campaign.

Keep in mind that different donors have different giving capacities, so you should have custom donation forms with suitable default gift ranges for each donor segment. Segment your donors by past average gift amount (e.g. low-tier donors, mid-tier donors, high-tier donors), then direct them to a custom donation form with giving levels tailored for them. This allows you to upgrade each level of donor according to their true giving range.

5. Increase Number of Gifts Through Different Channels

A common and important campaign goal is to acquire a certain number of gifts throughout the campaign. Instead of focusing on just the total number of donations received, consider increasing the number of gifts that come in through various channels. This fundraising goal would help strengthen each communication channel as an avenue to acquire donations.

Track your progress by first determining the average number of gifts that comes in through each channel. Then create a custom donation form for each channel so you can track how many gifts it captures. Your website donate button, email appeals, social media asks, and newsletters can each link to a separate donation form.

6. Test Your Emails

You can also use your next initiative as an opportunity to test different types of emails. This fundraising goal can help you optimize future email campaigns to better engage your fundraising community and maximize returns.

To test a certain variable, split your donor base into separate groups, send each a different version of your email campaign, and compare which version performs better. Here are a few variables you might consider testing:

  • Email subject lines
  • Type of images included in the email
  • Type of donate button (shape, color, copy, placement)
  • Plain text versus html-formatted
  • Storylines

You don’t have to limit your fundraising goals to the usual options. Rather than focusing solely on raising tons of money and acquiring new donors, you can also use these new ways to measure success and grow your organization for the long haul. From expanding your recurring gifts program to testing different email campaigns, implement these measurable goals to grow your community and optimize your engagement strategies.

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