Prospect research creates a foundation for all fundraising programs.  An active prospect research program produces a pipeline of qualified prospects and donors.  These qualified prospects and donors are the most likely to give or increase their current giving. As a prospect researcher taking full advantage of metrics cannot be emphasized enough. Using data can save you both time and money.

Beyond the money

Yes, money provides the...Read more

Just as it is with a capital campaign, it’s important to track and measure your annual fund progress, allowing you to pivot and adjust as needed. Evaluate the success (or not such a success) using reports that focus on previously agreed upon metrics. 

Remember, good metrics are:

  • Relevant – they fit with the organizational and campaign goals and objectives
  • Measurable – they are quantifiable and data can be collected
  • ...Read more

For the last several years we have all been inundated with the admonishment to collect and use data in decision making.  As Joe Tish, Senior Manager for Client Success at Patron Technology suggests in his December 4 blog post, many are asking, "is this really something I can do at my organization?"

Using data wisely takes an organization-wide commitment:

There are steps you can take now to move your organization forward.  Last year we surveyed and interviewed organizations concerning their use of data and technology in making business decisions.  We surveyed a cross section of nonprofit organizations and received 1,126 responses, 11% of which were arts-related organizations.  Respondent organizations ranged in size from those with fundraising budgets of $10K and below to those with budgets of $25M and above.Read more

2013 saw a growing and widespread call for a fundamental change in the way we evaluate nonprofit effectiveness.  For far too long, nonprofits have been rated based on overhead ratios, and 2013 saw a long-overdue call for sanity in the sector.  Overhead ratios have a place in nonprofit management, but unfortunately in the nonprofit sector, over reliance on this one metric to the exclusion of all others has led us down the dangerous path to “The Starvation Cycle,” wherein nonprofit funders use low expenditures on overhead as a criteria to grant funding and nonprofits squeeze overhead at the expense of important management and infrastructure investments, and at times even misrepresent spending, in order to gain funding.  Low expenditures by some cause an increase in competition, and the entire sector becomes a victim of the starvation cycle. Read more

As 2014 gets underway, predictions abound.  With full knowledge that “the best way to predict the future is to create it,” we offer the following ideas for nonprofits to ponder this year and beyond.  Trend One: With the Continued Growth of the Nonprofit Sector, Individual Donors Will Become More Important.  The nonprofit sector is growing in both size and influence, government cutbacks are negatively impacting nonprofit funding and corporate funding, while growing, is a mere 6% of total contributions. Nonprofits wishing to survive and thrive in this uncertain and unsustainable economic climate will have to rely heavily on individual donors.  Identifying, involving and integrating these individuals into partnerships to help solve our most pressing problems will be the challenge of 2014.  Nonprofits will need to understand their donors and supporters on a different level – go beyond wealth and beyond demographics – to dig deep into the psyche and motivations of their constituents.  Read more

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