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5 Tips For Choosing a New Donor Database

Every nonprofit makes a donor software decision at some point. Maybe you’re a small organization that has gotten by with spreadsheets to track contact information and have used your accounting tool for donations. Maybe you’ve been in a database for several years, but it just doesn’t seem to fit your needs any longer. If you are starting to feel like it’s time to make a move into a new donor database, how do you choose? Here are five tips to help make that decision.

  • Needs List – Develop a list of functionalities that a database must have for your organization. Beyond that, what are some tools that would be a bonus to have? You might not need an email tool built in to the software, but you should want your acknowledgement letters processed out of a database in a relatively easy fashion.
  • Demos – Most donor software tools offer a webinar introduction that lasts 30-60 minutes. This alone should not be enough to make your decision. If you wish to look at a tool beyond that demo, reach out to a sales representative for a more detailed one-on-one consultation to review some specific examples of reports, or other tools. The Needs List you created will come in handy here!
  • Peer Review – Reach out to other similar organizations in your area to find out what donor software they are using. Also find out if there are local user groups for some of the donor software options you’re considering. Conversations with peers are a great opportunity to get real-life pros and cons of different systems from hands-on users. Make sure you talk to someone who is actually using the new system you are looking at – everything looks good in a sales demo. Find out what actual users love and hate about it.
  • PricingDo not let pricing alone dictate your decision. While it’s important to find a cost-effective solution, you do not want to sacrifice finding something that meets most or all of your needs simply because it’s “free.” Also, find out how long the pricing will stay at the rate you sign on with. Most software is now a subscription-based cost, and we’ve seen a few double or triple in year two and three for users. What sounds affordable up front might not be that way in a few years.
  • Support & Training – Find out what ongoing support the software company offers. Some have free support in the form of email only, while others include live chat support. Also, discover what sort of resources are available for your organization to learn the tools. Do you learn it on your own or are there webinars, one-on-one training etc.? You will want to ask if these are included or an additional cost.

If the decision is still challenging, ask for help! There is incredible potential with having the right system – and incredible time wasted in making a move into the wrong system. It’s worth the extra time.

Campaign Completion: New Home Brings Grand Rapids Chamber Into the Future

When an organization determines their home doesn’t fit their work, it’s time to make a move! The Grand Rapids Chamber (Chamber) realized they needed an office space that could be a hub of activity and services for their members, so they reached out to Kennari Consulting for assistance in fundraising for their new home.

The Chamber exists to be an ally, an advocate, and agent for change to the local business community. Grand Rapids has seen explosive growth in recent years, and the Chamber has also grown to keep up with the business community’s needs. As they looked for successful models in other growing cities and applied them to Grand Rapids, they quickly saw that the office in the Waters Building, which had served them well for many years, no longer was the right fit. In 2017 they developed plans for a new location on Calder Plaza. After outreach and careful planning, the new office was designed based on the needs of their members. Full of light, technology, meeting spaces large and small, and accessible parking, the focus is on who would be coming to the Chamber and what they would want to do there.

Kennari Consulting worked with the Chamber to engage strong volunteer leadership for their campaign. We then identified key stakeholders within their membership and helped develop campaign strategies to secure support for their project. Each campaign is unique, and because the Chamber is a membership organization, we created a unique plan for engaging a large pool of member prospects who gained visibility through multi-year sponsorships in the bustling new space. The campaign provided an opportunity for increased interactions with current and prospective members. The dynamic new office has raised the profile of the Chamber and greatly increased usage by members. It’s an excellent example of the power of place and space.

“When the Grand Rapids Chamber made the decision to transform our office into an open and collaborative epicenter of business activity in West Michigan, we knew that we needed an experienced advisor to guide the procurement of financial support. Kennari Consulting acted as not only as an advisor, but as a partner through a process we were unfamiliar with as an organization.”
~Rick Baker, President & CEO, Grand Rapids Chamber

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Chamber, visit

Round Table Round Up: Lapsed Donors

While we tend to think of lapsed donors at the start of the new year, it really is a process that should be reviewed year-round.  In fact, more than ever, lapsed donor strategies need to be in place to ensure the best retention rates possible. Did you know that donor retention rates have been on the decline since 2008? In fact, the national average for repeat gifts from a donor who has given multiple times is only 65%. Even the very best organizations aren’t going to have a 100% renewal rate.

All of this means two key things: you must have a plan in place, and you must be intentional about renewing, cultivating, and acquiring new donors

However, if you don’t yet know your numbers, it will be difficult to create a plan. Your lapsed donor goals should be included within your development plan and retention rates can be expected to resemble this if you have solid best practices in place:

  • First time donor repeat gift – 25%
  • Second time donor – 50%
  • Multiple time donor – 65% or higher
  • Monthly donors – 75% or higher

The easiest way to do this is look at the total number of donors in 2017 and find out how many of those donors also gave in 2018. This is your retention rate.

Whether you are pulling lapsed donors from 2017 who didn’t renew in 2018 or a donor who gave at an event in one year but not the next, the strategies for each resemble one other. Once you run that lapsed donor report, assess which lapsed gifts require more sensitivity to renew, and which ones will just be too costly to renew. For instance, if a major donor’s $5,000 gift lapsed, you might consider bringing that donor on a tour, inviting them for coffee, etc. However, a gift of $25 may end up costing you the same amount in company expenses to renew. Determine time and resources when trying to renew these gifts.

Make sure to let these donors know you have missed them and what you will be able to accomplish in the new year with their renewed engagement. Maybe update them on a crucial project they helped fund the prior year. Make sure the donor knows that you know who they are!

Overall, the best thing you can do is not let your donor lapse in the first place. Do this by proactively reviewing monthly or quarterly reports to see whose gift is about to lapse. The next best thing is to have a monthly giving plan in place since retention rates are highest amongst this group.

Retain activities and initiatives that are working from year to year. If you drop an initiative, have a plan in place to transition those donors into another giving opportunity. Do what makes sense for you and your organization. But react appropriately to your donor’s behavior and their data trends. Don’t just pull a lapsed donors list and mail everyone the same letter.

To summarize in one word, PLAN, and your retention rates should be on the rise.

Intern Spotlight

Meet Quinn Kendra, a Senior at Grand Valley State University majoring in Public and Nonprofit Administration, with an emphasis in Community Development and Planning. Quinn interned with Kennari this fall and is anticipating graduation in the spring.


7 Things I Learned in Four Months of Fundraising Work

As a senior in college, I thought fundraising was simply raising money for a cause or organization. After my four months as an intern at Kennari Consulting, I have realized that it is much more than that. Here are seven lessons that I learned working with Kennari Consulting:

1. Fundraising is not all about grants. It seemed that, from my previous experience, grants were one of the only ways for nonprofits to raise substantial amounts of money. The truth is, that could not be further from the reality of the world of fundraising. Nonprofits use several different methods in order to fundraise, and if they were just going after grants, organizations would be missing out on countless other opportunities.

2. Always have a plan. There is nothing worse than starting a project without knowing where it’s heading. The same goes for fundraising. What does the organization need? How much money will it cost? Where will the money come from? These questions should be answered before anything is done. If you don’t have a plan, create one.

3. Relationships matter. Working in fundraising means consistently running into people that you have likely worked with before, so always be aware of that. Be kind and understanding of the people you work with, both directly and indirectly, because it matters (and you’re going to see them again in a few weeks). Always being mindful that every person you encounter is important.

4. Focus on the individual. When jumping into the world of fundraising, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of prospective donors. Every person seems like they could be a major donor, but that often is not the case. By dedicating ample time and energy to specific prospective donors, the results will turn out to be much more in your favor.

5. Inclination matters. People are usually only going to donate if the organization has directly affected them or they are otherwise passionate about the cause. Through my experience shadowing meetings with the Kennari staff, I learned a valuable lesson about fundraising: Don’t ask for donations unless the prospective donor has a personal connection with the organization’s mission (or you can find a path that connects them to the mission). No matter how well a nonprofit delivers their mission, major donors aren’t going to support everything.

6. The holiday season is about more than just giving gifts from a store. Interning at Kennari during the fall semester taught me that the holiday season is an essential time for nonprofits to fundraise through the giving efforts of the holidays. Nonprofits must be prepared to use the holiday season to their advantage! Encourage your friends and family to give back this holiday season by supporting an organization that means something to them.

7. Organization is arguably more important than anything else. Keeping organized saves time and energy that could be used elsewhere. Always plan ahead and have a mental snapshot of what your day, week, and month are going to look like. Use sticky notes, set yourself reminders, and create folders for everything. Also, your calendar is your best friend.
Interning at Kennari has been one of my most memorable college experiences, and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity to learn from such an incredible staff. I’m looking forward to seeing how I can help make an impact in the community after graduation!

Quinn was an absolute joy in the Kennari Consulting office! We appreciated his upbeat attitude and willingness to tackle any project thrown his way. We wish him the best as he finishes up school next semester and begins his career!
To learn more about Kennari Consulting’s internship program, please email Kim Kvorka at

National Philanthropy Day 2018

Kennari Consulting was a proud sponsor of this year’s National Philanthropy Day (NPD), presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals West Michigan Chapter (AFPWM). Our own Steve Ozinga was the Chair of the event, working many long hours to ensure the day was a success. Congratulations to him and the entire AFPWM team on what truly was an inspirational afternoon.

National Philanthropy Day is a great chance for fundraising professionals to come together with peers, celebrate some of our community’s outstanding leaders in philanthropy and hear from great minds in the philanthropy world. This year, AFPWM welcomed keynote speaker, Dan Pallotta, an award-winning speaker, author, and fundraising innovator. His keynote address was a breath of fresh air – and we are proud to stand beside so many and say, “I’m overhead.” Kennari wholeheartedly agrees that nonprofits need to invest more in infrastructure and overhead or are otherwise paralyzed by a lack of resources. Pallotta’s speech was inspiring and we hope this marks the beginning of a movement to change the rule book for the nonprofit sector.

Additionally, congratulations to all of this year’s awardees: Vicki Weaver (Spectrum Health Foundation/Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation); Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors; Louise “Punky” Edison; Stephanie Kerr-Cathey (Kids’ Food Basket, Muskegon); Lake Michigan Credit Union; Veverly Austin (Girl, Get Your Fight Back and Rock The Runway); Janean Couch and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation Youth Grant Committee. And to all out there serving our community through their tireless work in the nonprofit sector, we salute you. Keep up the good work!

To view Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk, click here.

Strategic Plan Sets Course for Success at Ottawa County Parks Foundation

Kennari Consulting works with organizations of all sizes, focus areas, and passions. Ottawa County Parks Foundation is no exception!

In 2015, a small group of Ottawa County, Michigan residents formed an all-volunteer committee with the intent to form a Parks Foundation. A year later, that dream became reality and the Ottawa County Parks Foundation (OCPF) was formed! OCPF reached out to Kennari Consulting to assist with its inaugural Strategic Plan. Over the summer of 2016, the Kennari Strategic Planning team worked with the Foundation to create the important first plan. After defining OCPF’s Value Proposition, Mission, and Vision, we defined important strategic priorities for a brand new foundation. This included alignment with the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission, Board and Infrastructure Development, Visibility, Financial Sustainability, and support of land acquisition and development.

Over the past two years, OCPF successfully launched its fundraising programs, became ingrained in Ottawa County, created working committees under the Board, hosted a number of successful cultivation events, and hired its first full-time employee! Kennari Consulting is currently working with OCPF on a Strategic Plan refresh that will help carry the organization into the next phase of success.

Strategic Plans are important for multiple reasons, including organizational alignment, simplification of decision making, and consistent communication. For more information on how effective Strategic Planning can benefit your organization, please contact Steve Ozinga, Vice President of Strategic Planning and Planned Giving at or 616-340-8771.

“Kennari Consulting was hired to lead the newly established Parks Foundation Board through a strategic planning process in 2016. This was a critically important project because the organization was new and needed to determine its core beliefs. Steve Ozinga of Kennari led the Foundation Board through the process and did an outstanding job. Board members were fully engaged and excited to contribute. Most importantly, the resulting product is one that has provided the framework for Foundation’s activities over the past couple of years. The plan does a wonderful job of identifying the Parks Foundation’s basic mission and includes text with a timeless quality that is used regularly in Foundation documents. The Parks Foundation was more than satisfied with Steve Ozinga and Kennari’s work on the strategic plan and continues to rely upon them for assistance with strategic decision-making.”   ~John Scholtz, Director, Ottawa County Parks

To learn more about Ottawa County Parks Foundation, visit their website.

Round Table Round Up: Event Follow Up – Maximizing the Benefits of Events

Though it often feels like getting through an event is a major hurdle, it’s really what happens after the event that makes all the work worthwhile. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste! Here are some strategies for making sure what happens after your event keeps your donors engaged all year long.

Philanthropy vs. Fundraising

Rather than simply fundraising for the net return of the event, you can take it to the next level by looking at events as ways to renew, recruit, and cultivate donors. An important component of philanthropic events is equal attention to your follow up.

Plan Post-Event

Knowing that the days immediately after the event will likely be jammed with “catching up” on other demands, it is helpful to make your follow up plan and have time scheduled on your calendar for those important details. Here is a handy guide for planning the week, month, and three months after your event.

Within One Week

  • Process cards and deposit checks If possible, at the event so if there is any omission in information, problems can be immediately resolved. Look for opportunities to convert donors to pay in unique ways such as text to give and other electronic methods.
  • Thank You Letters should be written in advance to speed the process. There is really nothing more important than prompt donor acknowledgement. Your donors are likely donors to other organizations, so your thank you lag time may be noticed.
  • Facebook/Instagram posts will be a great way to keep the focus on your event. People like to see pictures of themselves and their friends. Photo posts get the most attention and can help grow interest in your event. Social media posting is also a way to thank sponsors, honorees, and committee members.
  • Email to Attendees “Here’s what you helped us do!” Send an email letting them know that they participated in the success of your event. Share some photos and the results. Links to video and testimonial message are also great to include.
  • Cards to Participants/Committee Members More than just donors need to be thanked! Send kind and intentional notes to those who helped make the event a reality.
  • Major donor and first-time donor calls Block time in calendars for the day after an event to make calls. Voicemails are acceptable. Determine prior to the event who will need to make calls. Significant donations should get a call right away – same day if possible.

Within One Month

  • Internal Staff Debrief with the development team and key players involved, such as program staff that may have helped with identifying stories or data, will help maintain the relationship between development staff and the rest of the organization.
  • Committee Debrief Find a committee member to host this to change the tone. Must be guided discussion to ensure feedback on specific pieces. It is an opportunity to see how they felt about the planning process and whether they feel connected to the event’s success.
  • Follow Up with Honoree to acknowledge the personal impact the honoree made on your organization. Share how they helped bring new people into the donor family through their influence. Look for ways to keep them engaged by being on the committee or have them present the award next year.
  • Donor Development Committee follow up on high-level gifts. The DDC is already trained to help with donor relations so it’s part of their charge as a volunteer. They can help with customizing next steps for major donors or those whose gifts increased.

Within Three Months

  • Sponsor Report Develop a 1-page recap that shares the success of the event, number of people in attendance, dollars raised, number of first-time donors. Focus on the benefits they received so they will see the marketing value as well. Send program to absent sponsors. NOTE: Be sure to thank all appropriate contacts at the sponsor’s business: CEO, Marketing Manager, “table wranglers.” Offer sponsors the opportunity to give feedback on benefits.
  • Set a Google alert on sponsor/donor names ( so you can be reminded of when they are mentioned online, and then reach out to let them know you saw it.
  • Donor tour You can invite all donors – most won’t come but they’ll be glad they were asked. Those who are interested will be able to see the facility and your mission in action.
  • Schedule next year’s event!  It might seem really soon, but there are so many events, you want to stake your claim early. Check nonprofit calendar to avoid conflicts with other key events. Commit to a date and time and get your event on the calendar as soon as possible.

Happy Events!


Round Table Round Up: Planned Giving – Why You Should be Doing This Now!

A generational transfer of over $59 trillion is underway through 2052. Approximately 97% of donors leave a planned gift to an organization because they care about the charity. Nonprofit organizations need to take steps today and build necessary infrastructure to allow donors to leave a legacy and impact society in perpetuity.

Planned Giving Overview

  1. Why do donors make charitable bequests?
    • 97% care about the charity
    • 82% want to do something special
    • 35% as income or estate tax planning strategy
  2. What is Planned Giving?
    • Planned giving is a program of various financial instruments that can be adapted to each donor’s needs.
    • Each donor is unique; what works well for one, does not work well for another.
  3. Why is Planned Giving important?
    • $57 trillion transferring between generations through 2052
    • Three options for wealth transfer: Government, Heirs, and Charity ($8 trillion transferred to charity in 2003)
    • If you don’t ask, someone else will!

Common Types of Planned Gifts

  1. Gift in a Will or Trust
    • Last will and testament or a trust are the legal documents that give the individual right to exercise the disposition of assets
    • Bequest: specific provision in the will
  2. Beneficiary of a life insurance policy
    • A donor can buy a life insurance policy naming your organization as the beneficiary and pay premiums on it
    • The donor may claim a tax deduction
  3. IRA Rollover
    • Donors 70.5 and older
  4. Charitable Gift Annuity
    • Contract between charity and donor where the donor transfers cash or property to a charity for a lifetime income stream & partial tax deduction
    • When the donor passes, the gift stays with the charity
  5. Charitable Remainder/Lead Trust
    • More complex, usually executed by a designated professional
    • Individuals with larger incomes (i.e. those who may be inheriting money from parents)
    • Donor or charity receives a set percentage of the value annually
    • When the donor passes away, the remainder goes to the donor or charity

Is Your Organization Ready?

  1. Simple steps to start:
    • Clean up database to determine best prospects
    • Targeted mailings, asking donors if they’ve considered leaving a legacy
    • Cultivation is key; how cultivated are your donors? How much do they know about your organization; where does your organization compare?
    • Utilize CPA’s/Attorneys who may be on your board and have estate planning experience
  2. Marketing Strategies
    • Greatest & Silent Generation
      • Hard-copy information
    • Baby Boomers
      • Hybrid: hard-copy & online
    • Generation X
      • Transitional generation = multiple channels
    • Millennials
      • Online/text appeals
      • Want a seat at the table
      • Different definition of support
      • Heavy advocacy
    • Others include:
      • Planned Giving inserts
      • Donor Stories (people like to see their name in print!)
      • Planned Giving ads
      • Internet and social media outreach
      • Tagline in stationary and flip envelopes

Non-Negotiables: Make Sure You Have Proper Documentation

  1. Gift Agreement
  2. Letter of Intent
  3. Attorney Letter
  4. Scholarship Agreement

Identify Prospects

  1. Who is your target? Overlay with generational metrics
    • Consistent annual fund donors over 70 who have given the last 3-5 years.
    • Alumni

Debunking a Planned Giving Myth

  1. “If they leave a planned gift, they won’t contribute to my annual fund.”
    • According to Dr. Russell James, annual giving increases 75%, due to increased investment.

Round Table Round Up: Board Recruitment and Onboarding

“My neighbor is a teacher so he likes kids, I could ask him to be on our board – I bet he would do it!”
How many times have we heard something like this when we want to expand our board?  All too often, a lack of processes and time leads to a board full of people who believe in the cause, but just aren’t the right fit for our organization.  Once they are on the board, we task them with all kinds of things that they don’t have the tools to accomplish, and then we’re upset that our goals go unmet.

Proper board development is an ongoing cycle that ensures we have the right board members, with the right tools to be successful.  There are four steps to be taken both while recruiting board members, and four steps to engaging them as competent and effective board members.


Board Recruitment

The first step to effective board recruitment is knowing what you need to complement your existing board and meet your organizational goals.  The Board Governance Committee, along with staff, should take time to identify how many new board members should be brought on, and what the profile of new prospects should look like.  Use an analysis tool that is specific and appropriate to your organization, and then share the desired profile with your board and staff.  Create a prospect list of ideas of people who have some of the qualities identified in the desired profile.

Once you have identified the needs, the next step is to cultivate the prospects.  You might invite them to an event or tour, or simply begin introducing them to the organization by sharing social media or newsletters.  Another cultivation step might be to invite them to serve on one of your committees so you can begin to know their volunteer style.

As you get to know your prospects, you then need to recruit their service.  Those who have shown interest during the cultivation phase can now be recruited to join the board.  The recruitment stage is when you can share your expectation policy and ask them to complete an application form.

Once you have completed the “get to know you phase,” it’s time to formally nominate them to the board.  It is important that the board has ample time to review their profile, and best practice is to bring all new members on at one time throughout the year – preferably prior to the start of each fiscal year.



This second half of board development is essential not just for your new board members, but to ensure that all of your board is continually being provided with the right tools and information to be effective in their work.  As one of my favorite board members once told me: “Staff are in it up to their eyeballs and beyond, but the board is only involved at ankle level. You have to educate and repeat.”

Educating your board means not only sharing program information and important dates, but also sharing industry trends, peer organization metrics, and newsworthy milestones for the constituency you are serving.  Education is not just about your organization, but about how your organization fits in your community and your industry.

Beyond simple education is deliberate training in areas that board members have identified as necessary to do their job.  Board gatherings should include regular training that includes tools for doing the work they are being tasked to accomplish.  Staff can help arrange and guide the training, but the board should be engaged in identifying which training opportunities would be most helpful to them.

Evaluation is another key component of board development.  If we haven’t taken the time to execute regular evaluation of the board, we have no actual data to measure board engagement or effectiveness.  There are many tools available for board self-evaluation, and when members have the opportunity to think about their performance as it relates to the roles and responsibilities of nonprofit board members, we can gather the information we need to improve.

The best part about deliberate processes for Board Recruitment and Onboarding is enjoying your success!  As you reach the end of your fiscal year, take time to recognize your outgoing board members by celebrating the organization’s achievements during their service, and encourage their continued engagement with your organization once they have completed their service.


While it may take time and resources to set up, deliberate board recruitment and onboarding that are executed following inclusive processes on a regular timeline will set up your organization for long-term success. And, just as importantly, it leads to engaged and fulfilled volunteers who become lifelong advocates for your work.

Round Table Round Up: Finance & Development Reporting

Overview of Financial Reporting

All organizations have some kind of financial report that is shared with the Board of Directors and hopefully with the leadership of the organization.  Making sure these reports are useful, comprehensive, and readable can be a challenge. It is important to create templates for various reports, get feedback on those templates, implement the use of them, and then regularly review their effectiveness.

Reports for Leadership

Every organization should be using a budget, and each department director or manager should be working with finance to develop that budget. On a monthly basis, finance should be providing leadership with a budget vs actual comparison for the month and year-to-date.  These reports often look like financial statements.  The reports should also be easy for program staff to understand. Relate it to non-dollar items they’re familiar with in their program. Your program served 65 families last month, which is the equivalent of $2,500, for example.  Also, include detail whenever it is helpful for the person reviewing the reports.

Reports for Finance Committee and Board of Directors

Your board might gloss over at detailed finance reports.  In this case, it’s often helpful to provide them with visual dashboard-style reports. Dashboards give a more visual snapshot and overall picture of the financial numbers.  Several finance tools, like QuickBooks, can produce reports that offer pie charts and graphs, rather than an account listing. They key is relating your dashboard reports to financial statements for easy correlation.

Communication Between Development and Program Managers

It is helpful for development and program managers to communicate needs of their program, what funding may be required and how it will be funding (private donors vs. grants). It’s also helpful for program managers to know what grants are being submitted by the development team and how it may affect their programs and spending.  Also, program staff and development staff should be mindful of what is covered under an awarded grant. You don’t want to fund a program with grants and realize later that you’ve covered 125% of the program staff salary with the grant, instead of the program itself.

Reconciliation of Finance and Development Reports

Reconciliation can be an easy monthly task, or extremely difficult. Here are a few items to watch out for in gift recording to help make sure development and finance are reporting the same thing:

  • Date received vs. Deposit date
  • Pledges and pledge payments – especially event pledges – they’re often going into donor software, but finance isn’t booking until payment is received
  • Recurring gifts – be mindful of a needed process for any received through an event
  • End of year – donation date should be date envelope is postmarked
  • Credit card transactions – timing and actual processing
  • Gift coding in database vs. finance software – adding custom fields for the accounting codes in your donation is sometimes helpful in the reconciliation process

Make sure as a development office, you have a monthly process in place to reconcile numbers.  If a lot of issues start appearing regularly in reconciliation, finance might be able to enter more detail into their transaction (donor last name, for example) to help avoid further problems.

Overview of Development Reporting

It is important for the Board and organizational leadership to regularly see a development report that includes more than just the total dollars raised.  Some examples of additional data points are number of new donors, performance of a specific appeal, number of planned giving commitments, etc. Development reports provide an opportunity to connect your board to the whole development program and where they can have impact.

Development Score Card

Share a score card of some sort with your board on a monthly basis. This helps the board see number that focus on your donors, not just the dollars being raised. Include details on your individual donors. How many are new? How many new donors gave over $1,000? How many donors are not individuals? What is your donor retention rate? How do all of those numbers compare to last year at this time?  Show a summary of a few appeals that are relevant that month for the board to see.

 Development Projections

The projections are closely related to your development budget. You’re showing actual vs. projected for specific line items in your fundraising activities – events, appeals, grants, etc. If you’re showing an increase of 10% or more from one year to the next, be ready to explain how you anticipate that growth to happen.

Appeal/Event Analysis

 This analysis contains in-depth detail of your appeal or event. It should show your goal, how many were solicited/received an invite, total amount received, average gift, number of donors, and response rate.  It should also give detail for each “segment”. If it’s a mailed appeal, break it down by each letter sent, include email campaign response data also. If it’s an event, show each line of revenue – sponsorship, tickets, donations at the event, and live auction, for example.  You should also include the expenses for the event or mailing with an overall cost per piece mailed, or per person for an event.