Benchmarking, a necessary part of the fundraising endeavor, is more than just assembling a mountain of numbers and letting them sit side-by-side.
During the 2014 Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) International Conference, Maeve O’Byrne and Susan Ryan of the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation said that benchmarking should not just focus on averages. Rather, it can be used to identify areas of excellence in employees, for example, as a way to bring others along on the road to efficiency and productivity.
They said that benchmarking could be useful if the following are kept in mind:
- Understand the importance of good management information;
- Know the numbers — don’t make assumptions;
- Understand the benefits of measuring both cash and production, demonstrating actual growth and sustainability to the board;
- Understand how benchmarking can identify areas of excellence;
- Understand how to use key success indicators for planning;
- Know the importance of understanding not only why people give but also how they give to a particular organization. Causes resonate, but understanding how donors give is key;
- Be aware of why it is necessary to separate science from emotion; and,
- Understand why it is important to know where the organization stands in relation to its peers. Be sure to be familiar with industry standards.