Your ROI — Yes, there’s math

Fundraising is so important in the nonprofit sector that it is possible to lose sight of how much money must be spent to raise money.

Speaking during the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising, Carrie Collins of the University of the Sciences discussed return on investment (ROI) the benefit and process of ROI reports for frontline fundraisers.

Collins said that the relevant metrics for a worthwhile ROI report include the following:

  • The number of personal visits. This can be on site or at the prospect’s location. It can also include informal chats at events or even phone calls.
  • The percentage of unique visits. This is calculated by dividing the number of prospects visited by the number of visits made. For example, 93 prospects/140 visits = 70 percent uniqueness. Gift officers are most successful at 75 percent.
  • The number of proposals submitted. A tiered approach works well. Goals can be adjusted based on the level of prospects to whom the gift officer is assigned. There should be documentation that a gift office asked a specific donor for a specific amount to support a particular project.
  • The number of gifts closed. This is not the most critical metric, but it can be crucial if a gift officer closes one significant gift and then takes a break.
  • The dollar amount of gifts closed. This is the monetary goal of new gifts and pledges committed during the year.
  • Assists/shared credit. This is appropriate when two or more people work together.