In these days of tight budgets and belt tightening, all nonprofits are looking for ways to squeeze every last dollar out of their house files. We’ve found that one of the most effective best practices is to dig deeply into your data to uncover trends and early warning signs that things might be off track.
Avalon VP of Analytics Rick Malchow created an ingenious tool, called Avalon VitalStatsTM (Key Performance Indicator Dashboard), to uncover donor-level trends. A valuable management tool, the Dashboard provides at-a-glance summaries of your program’s current performance metrics compared to prior years, enabling convenient program status monitoring and communications. The summaries include donor counts, giving statistics (overall and by donor type), donor retention rates, and program financial performance.
The Dashboard can isolate true new joins, which can be difficult to determine from acquisition reports that often mix in lapsed donors. It also pulls out multi-year and first-year donors and new joins, to help you monitor these key universes in your file.
The Dashboard also helps to pinpoint file trends as they are happening, so that you can take immediate action. For example, for one Avalon client, the Dashboard clearly illustrated an overarching issue with first-year members. The visual representation and year-over-year comparison indicated how strategy in one year (in this case, acquisition) clearly impacted subsequent years.
For another client, the Dashboard helped reassure the team that strategy was on track by following key metrics — like revenue per member and gifts per member — through each quarter, as we implemented revised strategies.
Some nonprofits also use the dashboard to set benchmarking numbers to then report progress or declines – which can be especially useful for reporting top-line metrics to key leadership.
For Avalon clients, it’s quite easy to set up the Dashboard, as most data comes directly from the already-provided files. It’s an added fee, but the in-depth look at key trends on a frequent basis is invaluable, and once it is set up, the dashboard is automatically updated quarterly. If you’d like more information on Avalon’s Dashboard and how it could improve your organization’s bottom line, contact Mark Grayer at firstname.lastname@example.org.