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Monday, October 27, 2014

Practicing Counting
Developing a Fundraising Dashboard
By Robb Hansen

steering wheelThe concept of dashboards is popular these days.  Borrowing from the automotive world, the management arena has adopted the concept of tools that offer needed up to date information right in front of you. 

Whether it’s sales reports or debt management or website traffic, the language and practice of dashboard methodology is all but entrenched in business.  Fundraising is increasingly making use of this approach and it isn’t a bad idea. 

Dashboards take the traditional implementation of year to date income against budget to a new level.  Adding a variety of helpful measures, some financial and others not, these tools can and should be customized to fit the needs of your organization. 

By no means should you feel constrained to track these ideas, but the following items have been helpful with our clients.

  • Donors – This is an obvious one, but setting up a chart that clearly shows side by side information for the number of donors who have supported your organization this year versus last year can be helpful. 

  • Donations – This follows the foregoing closely.  Usually a rise in donations means a rise in donors, but not necessarily.  If you’ve launched a monthly giving program you might see a rise in the number of times each donor gives as well. 

  • New Donors – This is a sign of whether your efforts to exposure mission to new people and turn them into donors is having any impact or not.  Also, if you are running ahead in new donors, but total donors is lagging, it is an early sign that you have more people who are not supporting who have in the past. 

  • Database Adds – How many new records have you added this year/this month?  Compare this with last year and you’ll have a ready measure of the effectiveness (or lack thereof) you are having on trumpeting your cause to the public. 

  • Website Visitors – This is an obvious tracking measure today.  Google Analytics will tell you how many new and returning visitors you’ve had, and a host of other helpful information (session length, number of pages per visit).

  • Social Media – If you aren’t very active on social media you probably should be.  Tracking your growth in followers, in discussions, in likes, and so on, will tell you if you’re making a dent. 

Many other areas could be measured.  Chances are you’ll think of some metrics that are particularly useful to your organization.  Experiment with your dashboard tracking.  You’ll refine it as you go.  Once you’ve identified what you want to track.  Do so religiously. 
And one more thing:  be sure to share your results with others in your organization and provide them with insights as to what you think the information tells you.  Don’t be afraid to change, drop, or add strategies that will move you toward the results you want. 

Robb Hansen is the president of Next Level Insights, Inc., a fundraising and communication company dedicated to furthering the effectiveness of nonprofits. 

© 2014 Robb Hansen


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Next Level Insights offers support and assistance in a wide range of nonprofit activities.  Call us today at 1-866-524-2654 to learn more. Our assistance is available on an as-needed (one time or occasional) or ongoing basis. 

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Next Level Insights (NLI) was founded to support the work of nonprofit organizations like yours. We're dedicated to serving small to medium-sized organizations in the nonprofit community, applying contemporary strategies to organizational development and fund raising.

Our objective is to take your public presence with donors and others--to the next level!

To discuss how Next Level may help your organization, please contact us today.

Voice:       847.788.8100 / 866.524.2654


We look forward to hearing from you!




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