FYI Blog

Key Performance Trends at Bridge

TJ Panel - Key Performance Trends Found Only in Donor File Data AnalysisI had the honor of making a presentation at the 2014 Bridge Conference with Avalon clients, Amelia Koch of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Laura Connors of the National Parks Conservation Association. Photo: (from left) TJ Hillinger, Amelia Koch, and Laura Connors.

We covered a lot of ground in our talk – entitled Key Performance Trends Found Only in Donor File Analysis Data – and I’ve outlined a few of the highlights below.

We used five case studies to illustrate the importance of donor file analysis, showing various ways that it can uncover problems and opportunities in your program to inform your strategy going forward. This includes revealing the reasons for declining numbers and how to improve them, as well as identifying opportunities that should be acted upon.

The case studies we described cover file composition and donor retention, improving long-term donor value, creating a pipeline for major giving, the importance of multi-channel relationships, and the impact of acquisition investment (or no investment).

We recommended the following phases of analysis: First, examine the big picture to get a sense of the overall health of the file and top-level metrics on a donor-level basis. Next, dig deeper to analyze your return on investment (ROI) and long-term donor value; trends across campaigns, programs, and channels; and relationships between key metrics and file views. Finally, predict future performance based on sophisticated forecasting to determine the impact of current decisions on future trends, as well as program trajectories.

We also reviewed which metrics and views are relevant to your program. We have found that comparing key metrics will give you a deeper perspective into the health, future performance, and potential of your donor file. Some of these metrics include income per member, gifts per member, donor value/long-term value, retention (first-year, multi-year, and overall), upgrading rate, and file composition. When evaluating these (and all) metrics, you should compare them over time, and to other organizations’ experience.

All of this information is vital when seeking to educate and get buy-in from organizational decision makers from the corner office to the Board Room. Demonstrating in clear terms (with statistical evidence) how today’s marketing decisions will affect future revenue helps you make the case for further investment and expansion.

For more details, including the nuts and bolts of the case studies we cited, you can find our presentation slides below.

Key Performance Trends Found Only in Donor File Analysis Data – Bridge 2014 from Avalon Consulting