Assigning points to measure engagement

April 22, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Attracting donors, keeping donors, bringing back lapsed donors all are necessary parts of the fundraising landscape. Just about every nonprofit manager would like to do all of those things better, but many look for ways to measure success so they can do a better job.

During the recent Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising, Wells Jones of Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc., and Michael Baldwin and Michael Dailey of Advanced Solutions International, said there are ways of measuring engagement (which equals participation) as a way of seeing how the organization is doing with its donor base.

They suggested calculating donor engagement by measuring what can be measured, determining importance and assigning points. The resulting engagement score can be simple, can serve as another data point for segmentation, can improve communication strategy and can be a leading indicator to effect donor behavior.

There is no absolute, one-size-fits-all way of assigning scores to measure engagement, but they offered the following model. (Each number is an assigned point value.)

  • Transactions: Advocacy (10); Volunteer (9); Fundraise (8); Attend events (5); and, Buy products (5).
  • Social media: Follow (5); and, Share (3)
  • Digital: Email clickthrough (2); Use of Website (2); and, Community participation (3).