December 8, 2017 Mark Mangin

Not long ago, a development professional for a ministry commented: “I know how to pull reports from my system, but I don’t know how to read them!”

And he isn’t alone—many organizations feel stuck in an analytics rut, paralyzed by everything that can be measured, and not knowing where to start to derive the knowledge that will help them guide their organization’s fundraising most effectively.

Perhaps you feel the same way. Looking ahead to 2018, it’s critical to make analytics a priority!

Here are Five Tips to Get You Started:

  1.  Act Now!

    Time is money. Every week you spend deliberating about which key performance indicators (KPI) to measure is a week of valuable insight that is slipping away.

    Perhaps you know your income is down, but you don’t know why. You can’t address the loss of income until you know all the reasons why . . . and the sooner you begin measuring, the sooner you can gather those critical insights and act on them.

  2. Start Simple!

    Pick a few easy-to-measure metrics to start with. Even something basic, like: How many donors gave a gift this month? How many last month? What is the trend over the last few years?

  3. Code Everything!

    You can’t track what you don’t know. Use a distinct code on every communication you send out. No matter how robust your analytics are, you can’t measure data that can’t be captured.

  4. Be Consistent!

    Often the most valuable piece of information is what happened over the course of time—this is the trend line. Measuring over time will tell you more than a single snapshot that is frozen in time. Often patterns will emerge when viewed on a longer scale.

  5. Ask for Help!

    Analytics is a big project, and certainly time consuming. If your team can use more support, don’t hesitate to reach out to a partner who can help.

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