CDE project 18 sec­tion 3.7: action 8 — set up new measures

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 12, 2017

Adopting a mindset of how to inspire people to spread your story rather than target them for money will need new measures away from direct ROI. 

You will also need to do activities that engage people, in order to help communicate your story, maintain their attention and activate them to advocate on your behalf. These activities may not deliver a high ROI. So, to apply this approach of supporters as advocates, you need to view fundraising holistically and see how it all connects, i.e. the ROI that really matters is the overall ROI. As the case example provided by SolarAid in Action 4 illustrates, an activity that provides high engagement but low ROI may lead to income that appears in another income area later. As the NSPCC Full Stop campaign illustrates in Action 5, by removing team targets you can encourage teams to work together better.

As the saying goes, 'You need to measure what you want to happen.'

Grant Leboff, author of Digital Selling, offers this guidance:

You should have three measurements:

  1. Your first measure should be how many people are in your ecosystem. So that would include numbers on your database (not just donors) and followers on social media. But that measure shouldn't be in a vacuum - it should be against your market. This will also force you to define your market. So now who have a % KPI of your total ecosystem against your market audience. This will also force you to understand who your supporters are.
  2. Of people in your ecosystem how many are engaged with you e.g. donate, fundraise, send you an email, watch a video from your website, download content, open an e-newsletter. You need to choose a period you measure this over - no less than quarterly. You will also need a CRM that interacts with your database. Question to ask: how can you increase engagement by the next quarter?
  3. Of the people engaged how many are donating, or fundraising, or getting others to donate or fundraise. Question to ask: How do I get those engaged to give more or more often or get others to do so?

Also, consider measuring and capturing:

  • The number of inbound leads and unsolicited donations you receive each week. Also record why someone gave to you and noting any ‘sticky’ examples, i.e. instances of donors choosing to support you as a result of hearing your story through someone they know or by learning about your reputation.
  • The quality of the donor experience you provide. Can you collect feedback at the moment of giving, even to the extent of inviting a donor review similar to those placed on sites like Amazon?

Please read CDE Project 3: Measuring satisfaction and loyalty – how your donors feel compiled by Roger Lawson. ‘We believe that an obsession with short-term financial KPIs is the single biggest reason that donors are dissatisfied with the way charities fundraise.’

Recommended further reading: 

Measuring the Network Non-Profit by Beth Kanter

Click on the image below to view project 18 in full - PDF format.

About the author: The Commission on the Donor Experience

The CDE has one simple ideal – to place donors at the heart of fundraising. The aim of the CDE is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use.

Related case studies or articles

CDE project 18 summary: supporters as champions for your mission

This project will look at the basic fundraising model differently, to try to define how supporters in future can be used as channels and networks to spread opportunities, grow income and to provide donors and potential donors with a rich array of rewarding experiences.

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CDE project 18 section 3: action 1 - understand the paradigm shift

Putting the principles & actions into practice.

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CDE project 18 section 3.1: action 2 - adopt the right mindset

Adopting the right mindset is probably the most important action of all. It is what you need in place at the outset and it influences the actions that follow. In time, it will be part of the overall culture within the organisation.

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CDE project 18 section 3.2: action 3 - ask the question ‘WHY do we exist?’

‘With consistency people will see and hear without a shadow of a doubt what you believe.’

Simon Sinek

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CDE project 18 section 3.3: action 4 - tell your mission story

All fundraisers are aware they need to tell stories well so they can convey quickly in a way that engages people. Now it is even more important to spend time to understand how to tell powerful stories

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CDE project 18 section 3.4: action 5 - get your supporters to share your story for you

‘Your best marketers and your best fundraisers today are not you. Your best marketers and fundraisers are the people - the ecosystem - you create around - the audience you build’

Grant Leboff.

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CDE project 18 section 3.5: action 6 - provide an experience that donors will talk about

An ideal opportunity to inspire supporters to spread your story is simply when people give or choose to fundraise for you. It is when they have taken the emotional decision to support you.

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CDE project 18 section 3.6: action 7 - be ready to react

As your story begins to spread by your supporters, you should get an increase in inbound enquiries or offers of support that are not a result of a direct response communication, i.e. they are a result of people hearing your story from others they know and trust.

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CDE project 18 section 4: characteristics of applying these principles

Check here to see the characteristics you would expect to see of a charity applying this approach.

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CDE project 18 appendix 1: sources

Sources that informed and influenced this project.

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CDE project 18 appendix 2: Sticky Marketing & Digital Selling

In November 2016, Rory White, founder of Flow Caritas, hosted an event with Grant Leboff, author of ‘Sticky Marketing’ and ‘Digital Selling’. A group of Directors of Fundraising were invited to hear his views on marketing, and how it applies to fundraising. Here is an edited transcript of his key address to the group, reproduced with permission from Grant and Rory. 

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