Satisfaction and commitment
An obsession with short-term financial key performance indicators is the single biggest reason that donors are dissatisfied with the way charities fundraise, but if all we measure is income we won't change anything. In this piece, Roger Lawson argues that, if we're serious about improving our donors’ experiences, the first thing we should change is what we measure.
If you do just one thing …
Putting into place a donor experience strategy can feel daunting. Maybe that’s why I’m often asked where to start.
If I could do just one thing, I’d do the single most important thing. I’d change what I measure and put in place a KPI around how my donors feel about supporting us. And then I’d ask them. And then I’d report what I find.
What you measure is what you do
If your main KPI is how much money you’ll raise by the end of the financial year then, when things get tight, you’ll delay donor acquisition, stop any spend on donor loyalty communications that don’t have a specific income line against them, and you’ll think that you can squeeze in an extra appeal.
“I know we should be showing our donors how we’re spending their money, but one more appeal this year won't do any harm. And we can always thank them next month.”
But if you have a KPI around how you’re making donors feel, then the conversation will change.
This still leaves the question of what you should measure. To be honest, I don’t think it really matters, as long as you measure something!
In the Commission on the Donor Experience project 3 on Measuring Satisfaction and Commitment, I outline some choices including measuring Loyalty, Commitment or Donor Satisfaction. And I give examples where charities and companies have used standard tools or where they have created their own.
In all cases, it’s the act of measuring something (and reporting it widely) that has created the change – a change for their donors and customers and, in the longer term, a change for their incomes.
If you’re serious about changing your donors’ experience and you don’t measure it then it simply won’t happen. Do it today!
Roger Lawson, Consultant at Roger Lawson Consulting. Roger works with charities help them understand their donors’ motivations, build fundraising programmes that inspire donor loyalty and measure their success.
- donor experience