What’s Considered Fundraising Performance and Do You Have It Covered?

Every institution should have baselines for establishing fundraising performance of their development team. Having some strategy and evaluation tool helps set the starting point or the “scoreboard” for how well (or poorly) a program is doing.


Make your performance metrics readily available so every team member can easily access the information. Clearly defined fundraising performance metrics prevent wasted resources and can act as a self-evaluation tool. Your team can use the information to either stay the course or course-correct if it is working—ultimately keeping your fundraising team on track.


Here’s how you should be evaluating fundraising performance.


Good—Baseline No. 1


An excellent place to start with your fundraising performance evaluation metrics is to identify guidelines and expectations as it relates to individual and overall goals. Development officers can assess current progress against their established goals. These metrics are commonly focused on dollars raised and productivity.


In this case, productivity is considered how many:


  • donors have been engaged;
  • face-to-face visits conducted;
  • meaningful contacts connected with; or
  • proposals or opportunities established.


On an even more detailed level, assess productivity by establishing officer engagement with the donor to determine:


  • size of the gift;
  • area of your organization they want to support; and
  • actual gift or contribution they want to donate.


Better—Baseline No. 2


Once you’ve identified all the evaluation metrics in the “good,” you can then move on to the “better” way to evaluate your team’s fundraising performance.


In this next tier of performance evaluation, examine the comparison between the progress they’ve made to-date versus established goals—focusing on the overall potential of their portfolio. Ask yourself these questions.


  • What could they be doing?
  • What’s their top dollar amount based on who’s in their portfolio?


Your development officers should understand what your institution expects and how it compares to their goals. Additionally, in this level of fundraising performance evaluation metrics, they will know what their maximum potential is, and if they should “up their game.”


Best—Baseline No. 3


The “best” fundraising performance evaluation level includes everything in the “good” and the “better,” plus analytics analysis.


For example, you’ve established a scoreboard, seen progress, and identified your team’s maximum fundraising ceiling. Now, you can add in analytical insight analysis to discover performance gaps that might exist and decide how you can close them.


To reiterate, baseline one includes your standard reporting with some percentages as an evaluation tool. Whereas baseline two helps you to assess what you’re doing in addition to forecasting. Lastly, baseline three is an analysis of data analytics, while simultaneously evaluating and identifying improvements.


These baseline levels are a maturity model and your institution must go through each tier sequentially.