For a variety of reasons, many organizations do not have a good, consistent fundraising reports that they regularly pull and use. There are also not one-size-fits-all reports that work perfectly at every organization. Identifying what is important to share, making sure data can be easily and consistently pulled from the database, and then committing the time to this process is essential.
There are two many categories of reports that are important to regularly review:
- External, high-level reports for leadership
- Internal, detailed reports for the development team
While there generally is some overlap, each category has a different purpose and so the reports within that should also have different information.
External Reports to Inform Leadership
Your Leadership team might include your executive director, executive leadership team, board, and perhaps even a donor development committee. External reports are meant to inform these groups. They serve to celebrate successes and help to identify where change might be needed. It is important to keep this report in a simple and consistent format, especially if you are not sharing any reports with the board at this point. There are a few different options as far as format and what type of data to share but pick one and stick with it! Whoever presents this data to leadership needs to fully understand it and be able to answer questions about it.
Finance reports are important and should be reconciled with when pulling fundraising reports. But they should not be shared in place of fundraising reports. There are different ways to classify things and a different level of detail required in both systems. If the only report leadership is seeing is about cash in the bank, it becomes difficult to get organizational buy-in and a discussion around other important but not dollar related fundraising goals.
Internal Reports to Inform the Development Team
There are helpful reports to pull in order to inform fundraising goals and planning each year. It is important for development staff to look at a variety of metrics, and more data and detail than is shared with leadership. When planning, use at least three years of comparison to inform your development plan. Giving by Donor Type: Between individuals, businesses, and foundations, recording the number of dollars per category, per year.
• Giving by Gift Type: How many gifts to you get by check, credit card, online, securities, in-kind, or other?
• Major Donor Metrics: How many new major donors are you getting each year? How many major donors increased their giving this year over last? What dollar figure comes from major donors each year?
• Acquisition Metrics: How many new donors are you getting each year? What are those appeals that acquire the most new donors each year?
• Retention Metrics: What is your overall donor retention rate? What is your retention rate for new donors? What appeals have the best and worst retention?
• Lapsed Donor Data: Where and when are we losing donors? Can you put a structure in place to look at donors 3 months ahead of time and try to capture them before the lapse? How are we engaging with event donors who didn’t attend an event?
• Event Data: What are the amounts raised in each segment of your event (sponsorships, ticket sales, donations, donations from those who cannot attend). What are your expenses and what’s the overall net?
• Gift Metrics: What are your most common gift amounts, particularly in direct mail/online giving? Look at your “check boxes” both in hard copy and online and consider changing those to allow donors to more naturally upgrade their giving.
Having a few consistent reports that are regularly reviewed can not only help keep everyone on the same page, but it can help inform strategies and focus on the right priorities. If you need a sample or just don’t know where to start, please reach out! We are happy to help.