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17 posts from February 2016

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (January 2016)

February 02, 2016

Not even an epic mid-month nor'easter could keep January from flying by. Not to worry. For those who blinked and missed all the great content posted here during the month just passed, we've got you covered....

What did you read/watch/listen to last month that made you think, got you riled up, or restored your faith in humanity? Share with the rest of us in the comments section below, or drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

5 Major Mistakes Nonprofits Make When Measuring Performance

February 01, 2016

News_data_charts_for_PhilanTopicTracking metrics is about making the seemingly intangible tangible and getting better results. From major giving to special events and everything in between, there's room for improvement in the operations of even the most established nonprofit.

Where many organizations falter, however, is in identifying areas for improvement and coming up with a way forward. Let's face it, most nonprofits generate a ton of donor data, and it can be challenging to figure out what's worth looking at and what can be safely ignored.

To help you get the most out of your efforts, here are five common mistakes nonprofits make during the performance measurement process — and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Forgetting to Foreground Conversion Rate

There are lots of tried-and-true marketing and communications tactics nonprofits can take advantage of. You can tweet out a link to your donation page, send out a mass email asking volunteers to crowdfund on your behalf, or post a video appeal on Facebook. All three are great because they are cost-effective and not especially resource intensive.

They can be difficult to track, however. They involve sending digital communications out into the Internet abyss, and it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where the resulting donations are coming from. Twitter? Email? Facebook?

In most cases, it will be a combination of all three, and you need to be able to track a specific metric for each channel in order to gauge its effectiveness — i.e., the conversion rate.

The fix: The best way to measure conversion rates is to embed a specific tracking link in every one of your calls-to-actions on a digital channel. Each link should lead to a landing page, and arrivals on those pages should be cataloged using a traffic-monitoring tool like Google Analytics. It might sound a little complicated, but take it from me, it's a great way to inject transparency into a process that can often feel maddeningly opaque.

Mistake #2: Not Adapting to a Changing Fundraising Landscape

Speaking of the many digital avenues open to development professionals, it's important for your performance tracking to reflect how your organization fundraises and, more broadly, how it interacts with donors and potential donors.

Ask yourself and your colleagues, "Do we have tracking systems in place for":

We're all super busy, and it's easy to fall into a rhythm with your performance measurement and forget to incorporate metrics for new tactics your organization decides to implement.

The fix: Keep the desired end result in mind as you adopt new fundraising techniques and tactics. Map out goals for any new tactic, set a timeline for reaching said goals, and be sure to implement a means of monitoring your progress toward those goals.

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  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."


    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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