One of the biggest challenges facing campaign decision makers is sifting through all of the data around digital campaigning – especially when it comes to fundraising. Digital’s greatest strength is the ability to track and measure everything, but that can lead to confusion if you don’t know what’s actually important.
Political online fundraising is facing a crunch due to high inflation and stiff competition. Campaigns are looking for every advantage they can when it comes to getting the resources they need to win. Here are the questions you can ask to cut through the noise and get the answers you need about your online fundraising program.
What Is Our Active Email List Size?
The size of your email list alone – how many email addresses you have in your marketing platform – isn’t the best indicator of performance. With challenges around deliverability, inbox placement, and biased spam algorithms, the active list size is what matters.
There’s no clear definition of “active” so specify what you’re measuring. Open rates have become less reliable so clicks are the better metric for activity. The number of subscribers who have clicked on one of your emails in the last six months is a good barometer for how active your list is.
Why it matters: Your housefile email is the best channel for online fundraising and active, engaged email lists are a prerequisite.
What Is Our Average Donation?
Your average online donation is another helpful indicator of the health of your online fundraising program. It’s a simple calculation: divide the amount you’ve raised by the number of donations. A higher average donation indicates a few donors giving large amounts whereas a lower average means many donors giving small amounts.
An average donation around $50 is a good target to aim for with an online fundraising program.
Why it matters: Grassroots donors can give multiple times over the course of a campaign, but major donors can only give once.
What Is The Cost To Acquire New Donors?
Effective campaign decision making is about understanding inputs and outputs. If you’re going to spend resources acquiring new donors, you need to have an estimate of how many new donors you can expect in return.
Starting early gives you more time to collect data and make better decisions. Different channels – Facebook, P2P texting, list rentals, etc. – will have different costs per acquisition.
Why it matters: If your cost to acquire a new donor exceeds the revenue generated by an average donor, it may not be the right strategy and you should look at acquiring donors elsewhere.
Where Do Our Donors Come From?
Tracking the sources that donors come from is also essential to informed decision making. While Facebook might be your best list building source, you may see more donors coming through texting or the volunteer form.
Why it matters: Building a list is great, but donors are the end goal. Drive your supporters through the conversion funnels that produce the most donations.
How Many Recurring Donors Do We Have?
Recurring donors – supporters who give every month – are the foundation of a successful online fundraising program. Emphasizing recurring includes specific emails, landing pages, special offers, and WinRed upsells.
Why it matters: Recurring donations make it easier to plan and forecast each month.
Understanding your online fundraising program takes asking the right questions that cut through the noise and jargon to what really counts. Use these suggestions to have an informed conversation about the effectiveness of your digital campaign.