Webinar Recap: Fundraising Metrics: State of the Industry and Looking Forward with Benefactor Group

Fundraising metrics are a popular topic. From online forums to conferences to white papers to blog posts, there is no shortage of discussion. In July, we hosted a webinar presented by Steve Beshuk from Benefactor Group as part of our Fundraising Technology and Strategy Series on the topic of Fundraising Metrics: The State of the Industry and A Look forward. The intent of this webinar was to help understand:
  • What metrics are being used today?
  • How are they being used?
  • How effective are they?
  • What is changing?
  • And, during unprecedented economic and social upheaval—how do our metrics stand up?

Steve discussed a current research project involving surveying and interviewing a cross-section of nonprofits, industry leaders, and technology companies. Watch the recording of the webinar here to learn more. Read some of the Q&A’s from the session below:


Q: How many organizations took part in the survey? Also, what sizes of organizations were surveyed?

SB: We received data from ~120 organizations and counting. The results represented all organization sizes. 56% were $4M or less; 35% were $5M-$49M, and 8% were $50M+


Q: What are some other examples of new metrics we should be tracking since COVID-19? 

SB: Metrics exist to help us understand what and how we are doing as compared to our plan. The “plan” for major gift fundraising is to create meaningful relationships that help our donors realize their philanthropic vision. In that light, we don’t believe that any new metrics are in order. You should track whether you are talking to the right people (capacity and affinity), to enough of them (portfolio size and saturation), and if the contacts are meaningful (there should be a flag for this on your contact reports). The medium you use – in-person, phone, email, video call – is good to track, but not “new.” Some organizations are putting more emphasis on nurturing and stewardship calls, but again, these should not be new metrics.


Q: Any tips to get leadership “buy-in” to the importance of donor data and database in general?

SB: This is a tough one. We find that the qualities that make great fundraisers (and often great fundraisers become fundraising leaders) like relationship building and networking don’t always lend themselves to being data-driven. We would recommend that you begin by exposing the leaders to use cases. Look for organizations like yours that are doing it well and share. Consider bringing in outside experts (sometimes having the label “consultant” gives the message more import). And try to get quick wins. Demonstrate in your organization how using data in small ways makes a difference.


Q: What metrics will serve us best in the area of promoting diversity and inclusion among our major donors?

SB: I don’t know if this counts as a metric, but I think it begins with the board. Your board development committee should have goals for building an appropriately diverse board. And, there should be goals that inform your hiring practices. If your paid and volunteer staff represent the communities you want to involve, your odds of understanding and engaging with those communities go up. From there, the metrics are the same – make meaningful connections with the right number of people in the right timeframe.



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