Evaluating annual giving results can invite the following types of questions from annual giving directors and their supervisors:
- “Did our last direct mail solicitation raise as much money as last year’s?”
- “Is our phonathon on pace to meet our goal for dollars committed?”
- “What was the final giving total from our giving day?”
But such channel-specific questions miss the reality of raising annual giving dollars today. Specifically, we know that donors are receiving information from our institutions through a variety of channels. From direct mail to social media to email to phone, our donors are engaging with our institutions every day through multiple channels.
We also know that donors are giving to us through multiple channels and that cross-channel fertilization is a real occurrence. For instance, that direct mail solicitation might elicit a gift online. That phonathon call might spur a giving day gift. That social media post might be the impetus for a donor to respond to an email solicitation.
The very nature of successful annual giving in 2023 can be best defined as “multiple touches through multiple channels.”
Understanding how annual giving works in a world of multiple communication channels is important, then, to understand how best to evaluate annual giving results.
Evaluating annual giving results shouldn’t begin with analyzing individual channels or individual solicitations. Instead, we should broaden our evaluative lens and pose the question rarely asked:
“Is the amount we spent on annual giving activities at or below our budget and is the amount we raised at or above our goal?”
When we understand the answer to this question, we can then do a deeper, more specific dive into how best to raise more annual giving dollars effectively and efficiently through all available channels.