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How to Measure Monthly Donor Success

By Erica Waasdorp, A Direct Solution

I’m currently working on the analysis for a big national organization’s sustainer direct mail campaigns. One of the things we needed to settle on first was what they thought was important in measuring their monthly donor success.

As you know, monthly gifts are typically small. So, if you only look at the first monthly gifts and possible one-time donations that came in from those donors who are not yet ready to give monthly, you’re not doing yourself a favor.

That is why I always recommend annualizing gross sustainer results!

Some organizations are even using two-year or five-year values, especially if they’re using channels like face to face or television, but I have found that yearly is simply the easiest.

Let me give you an example. If you convert a $100 one-time donor to start giving $17 a month, that donor is now worth $204 on an annual basis. That’s double the amount you’re now raising from that same donor, by the way!

Another important guideline is that monthly donors are not just measured in one fiscal year. If you’re doing something in April and your fiscal year ends on June 30, you might be tempted to only take $34 for revenue for the donor I mentioned above. That may be what your finance folks do, but it’s not how you want to measure the results of your monthly giving campaigns!

Finally, if your organization only evaluates campaigns based upon net revenue, it’s important to include the single donations that are generated in addition to the annualized monthly gifts, so you’re really looking at the overall picture and the long-term results of each campaign.

Monthly giving is all about long-term focus and long-term revenue, so use the long-term measuring stick to evaluate what you’ve done and to plan for future campaigns.

About the Author: Erica Waasdorp is the author of “Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant” and is the President of A Direct Solution. She works with non-profit clients all over the country as well as internationally, helping them with their appeals, monthly giving, grant writing, and PR.

Try out the Monthly Giving Calculators we developed with Erica to see the benefits for yourself!

Monthly Giving Calculator

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