Reporting and Insight should always be led or driven by the strategic direction of the organisation, whether that be an organisational strategy or fundraising strategy. It’s only knowing where you are now that can help you work out where you’re going and how well your doing against those objectives or targets. So I would always make sure that these strategic documents include ways in which you are planning on measuring success.
The next thing that I would say is break up the kpis into when they make sense to the audience that want or need them. There’s no point giving an appeal and segment breakdown to board members as they won’t be into the detail, they’ll just want to know if you asked us for investment did it work and how much did it return? I recently finished a book by Elizabeth Clarke which talked about understanding your audiences for reporting which was really helpful to me. You can find a link to that book here.
So you should have now an idea of where you’re going and a way in which you’d like to measure the success of those initiatives. The next thing is the data. You can only count what you can record so this should help inform what you want to do with coding structures across your CRM system. Whether its the number of new regular givers or the number of campaigners or the number of facebook fundraisers, all of these things should be recorded in your database somewhere.
So now you have data and targets the next thing to do is work out your baseline, where are you right now. this gives you a starting point to compare yourself to. A key thing here is that you are comparing your organisation to your organisation, not anyone else or any other organisation or any other sector benchmarks to start off with.
And if you don’t have targets, that’s ok, compare yourself to the same period last year (for those of you using power bi, that’s a formula you can use – sameperiodlastyear() ). If you don’t have the data then that’s ok too everyone starts somewhere.
Here are some top line kpis that we record as part of our reporting suite:
- Total Income
- Total Number of Contacts
- Total Number of Donors
- Total Number of Active Regular Givers
- Total Number of supporters that we can email
Using these 5 key indicators should be enough to work out how the organisation is performing, especially when you compare it to a previous period and start to identify trends.
For a board report, that should be enough to get started around income, expenditure would be helpful as well but not many organisations record this in their CRM. I’m a fan of recording some high level numbers for expenditure in your CRM just so that you can begin to work out ROI (Return on Investment) for all the activities that you do. Remeber everything has a cost, so free activities still have costs associated with them, whether it be staff time or freebies that are offered for support.
The other thing with these kpis is they should be relatively easy to pull out of your CRM systems. I appreciate that any kpis that require a snapshot of your data can be a challenge but power bi does make some of that easier with the use of DAX formulas.
Other things that Boards would normally want to know about are forecasted income Whether that be from High Value teams like Major Donors and Trusts or whether that be from things like Regular Giving and Lifetime value.
The key with all of the reporting data, start small and then grow. Once you have a handful of indicators and I would suggest no more than 6 indicators to start off with give it at least 6 months to show trends and then put some narrative around what the numbers say. A thirst for knowledge or curiosity, both of which are really useful may lead you to other things that you might want to look at, like 2nd gift rates, retention, conversion but think very carefully about whether these secondary indicators need to be reported to the board or if it will overwhelm them with numbers – nobody wants a wall of data
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you get started on your reporting journey please get in touch.