CDE project 3 sec­tion 3: Mak­ing it happen

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
May 02, 2017

In Appendix 2, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions, but our top tips are as follows:

Keep it simple

If we have one piece of advice that we feel is more important than any other, it is keep it simple.

We have seen that there are lots of things that you can measure, but you don’t have to measure them all. Just choose one! Choose what you think will be most important for you (that might be just one thing or it could be more) and focus on that. Create simple reports that allow you to focus on the most important learning and make simple changes to your programme to test what effect  it has.

Remember, it’s not about perfection

Perfection is the enemy of progress. It might appear daunting, but the most important step you can take is the first.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. As you test and learn, you’ll improve what you measure and understand better how to improve it.

It’s not about finding perfection – it’s about making a commitment to constantly improve.

Storing what you’ve learnt

In an ideal world you’ll record what your donors are saying about you on the database (against their individual record) and you’ll use this to target, segment and personalise communications by how donors feel.

But this isn’t a perfect world. You’ll create much of the change by simply knowing what motivates your donors across the board and measuring how well you deliver.

Proving it works

There is a huge amount of evidence from the commercial world that shows that customer loyalty and satisfaction lead to future income, and there is a growing body of similar evidence in the charity world (see Appendices 1 and 6).

If you need to make your own business case, then you will need to set up tests that can track:

  • How your donors feel
  • How changing the way you communicate can change this
  • Whether that leads to greater income in the long run.

A structured, long-term test would be needed. It’s possible to carry one out, but potentially complex. It would be incredibly valuable. If you do it, please share your results with the rest of the sector!

Click on the image below to see Project 3 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.

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CDE project 3 summary: satisfaction and commitment

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CDE project 3 section 1: actions and approach

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CDE project 3 section 2: putting the principles and actions into practice - step 1 and 2

Step 1: Make a commitment to growing donor satisfaction and loyalty

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CDE project 3 appendix 1: measurement of satisfaction and loyalty in action

There are several companies and a few charities who measure how their customers and supporters feel, using some of the tools we have outlined in this document or their own methodologies. 

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CDE project 3 appendix 2: frequently asked questions

In our research (see Appendix 4), several people mentioned barriers to measuring how their donors feel. This section lists the most common of these and gives our advice.

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CDE project 3 appendix 3: sample questions

A quick Google search will bring up many sample questionnaires, but for ease we have included a couple here.

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CDE project 3 appendix 4: survey findings

Fundraisers were surveyed about the extent to which the fundraiser measured how their donors feel, how they used the findings (if they did) and what barriers they have come across.

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