Measure Up with the Fundraising Fitness Test

By Erin Moloney

How effective is your fundraising?

That was the question posed by Erik Daubert, MBA, ACFRE, Chair of the Growth in Giving Initiative and the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, during opening remarks of the "Using the Fundraising Fitness Test to Strengthen Your Fundraising" presentation at the Nonprofit Connect 501(c) Success National Speaker Series. As the captivated audience of fundraising professionals tuned in to Daubert’s insights, we learned some simple, tactical ways to test the health of philanthropic campaigns with the Fundraising Fitness Test (FFT).

What is the Fundraising Fitness Test?

The FFT is a free tool that enables nonprofits to “understand and monitor their philanthropic efforts." It's a simple way to activate learnings from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), which states that an organization’s financial growth comes from maximizing gains (e.g. new, recaptured and upgraded donors) and minimizing losses (e.g. lapsed new, lapsed repeat and downgraded donors). Using three fields—a donor ID, gift date, and gift amount—from any fundraising software or even a spreadsheet, the FFT aims to help organizations grow.

Working Out the Insights

The FFT yields more than 150 valuable performance indicators that nonprofits can use to develop insights from the gains and losses described as part of the FEP, and provides action strategies.

For example, does your organization have a “dependency quotient,” where a small percentage of your donors contribute the majority of funds? If so, how can you meet with them and build a personal relationship? Or do you need to consider the flip-side of the donor base, where a large majority of donors accounts for a small amount of the overall donations? Can you cultivate these relationships through an online giving or direct mail campaign thanking them for their support?

A Healthy Fundraising Tool

Daubert closed his presentation by asking three CEOs to speak about their experience with the FFT. They described it as a great onboarding tool for helping new associates grasp the organization’s donor history, a good way to segment campaigns for a deeper dive into where donors are giving, and as a simple-to-use yet effective tool for strategic planning with the Board of Directors.

Overall, the FFT helps organizations evaluate their performance, giving them benchmarks to measure against and the opportunity to adjust their efforts in the future.

When you're ready to dive into donor relationships, don't sweat the details—let us do the heavy lifting. Tension has helped nonprofit organizations with effective direct mail fundraising campaigns for generations. Contact us to discuss how direct mail can help shape up your donor relationships.

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