How to elevate your nonprofit story with data and performance metrics

Third Sector Promotion Sage Intacct

Nonprofits are critical to our communities and even more so in times of crisis. The need for help and services is greater than ever, but sustaining funding is also significant. Joan Benson of Sage Intacct shares best practice in elevating your story with data and performance metrics to better sustain your funding

With a global pandemic disrupting our world, it’s critical that we strongly lead our organisations during this uncertain time. Not only is funding uncertain, but our workforce, including volunteers, is fragile and unsure. Add to that, the demand for our services is increasing. It’s extremely difficult to balance, maintain and move forward at the same time. But now is the time to stop and clarify your impact and your mission. 

Giving insights for your fundraising strategy 

Understanding your potential donors’ interests and priorities is fundamental for creating your strategic plan for the future.

While the number of households in the US donating in each age group has decreased, the good news is that those who are giving are donating more. So it’s really important to create greater engagement with our current donors as well as find new ways to connect with potential donors according to their interests. (Source: A guide to philanthropy in the US)

Most donors research organisations before giving and consider factors such as efficiency, impact, reputation, overall costs and more. Knowing what donors consider before giving, it’s critical that your organisation tracks and reports on these areas and makes it easy for potential donors to find. Donors want to put their money where it will get the most return on investment. 

Organisations tend to focus on the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers because they have been the primary givers for so many years, but it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Generation X and Millennials now represent a growing, significant portion of total giving. So as you create your fundraising plan for the future, be sure to include all the generations, how you will connect with them, and in the ways that they want to give. For example, direct mail is the preferred method for both Generation X and Millennials. 

When it comes to what inspires donors to give, 38 per cent say that it’s when there is a compelling case of extraordinary need; 54 per cent want to give online, using a credit card, and 69 per cent want to be thanked for their donation via email. 

How to share your compelling story 

People connect with your story when it’s easy to understand your mission, your impact and your efficiency. 

Your brand is a powerful tool. When you combine strong images with well-branded messages, you help donors to remember and recognise your organisation, mission and impact. This leads to greater response to your campaigns and your needs, but make sure that your donation forms are mobile-friendly and that the information they need about your mission and impact is easy to find.

Your messaging and branding need to be a primary part of your strategic plan and integrated across all aspects of your communications. Your brand needs to carry your story.

Expanding your reach is so critical today and social media is an effective way to do this. When it comes to telling your story, social media can make a huge difference. Use compelling images, video, messaging and hashtags to reach more people and build engagement. Take a look at the British Red Cross on social media and its #PowerOfKindness branding, which is so powerful and a great example of brand consistency. 

People care about where their money goes and their return on mission, so data and metrics are a powerful tool. Charity:Water is a great example of a nonprofit that clearly communicates its mission, progress and impact. This gives potential donors a sense of how well its performing and how well it does what it says its going to do. And this kind of tracking and measurement allows you to be fully transparent, which is critical in today’s giving environment. 

Link your metrics to your financials

Figure out what truly measures your mission and your impact and then link it to your financials. It’s important that these metrics connect with your donors and potential donors. Once you’ve set up the tools to measure these key metrics, report on them everywhere – along with those powerful images. These data and performance metrics will elevate your nonprofit story and inspire more giving. 

Joan Benson is Director of Nonprofit Industry Marketing at Sage Intacct

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