5 Best Methods to Measure the Effectiveness of a Fundraiser (Part 2)

By Sarah Tedesco, Guest Blogger
Executive Vice President of DonorSearch

Part 2 - Fundraise, Reflect, Respond, Repeat

If you have ever tended to a garden before, you know that if you leave your crops untended, you will not have a healthy, viable yield.

Nonprofit fundraisers are not entirely different from gardening. 

Working as the fundraising farmer in the fields of the nonprofits means that you are susceptible to the varying seasons and the slew of independent variables outside of your control:

  • Unforeseen weather that dampens your ambitious outdoor festival

  • Donors who are unaware of their ability to match their gift and double their impact

  • Changing and tracking donor information

  • Keeping up with the latest technology

  • Updating your donation website

  • Creating relevant and tailored content

No matter the potential issue that arises during your fundraising campaign, your nonprofit’s main goal should be to constantly evaluate how you can do better.

It may sound depressing and you may be thinking: “Will we ever be good enough?” But, don’t think about it as an unattainable goal that your organization will never accomplish. 

Think of it as a continual learning process of fundraising, reflecting, and responding.


Your fundraising campaign this past year may have been wildly successful! You gained thousands of new donors, raised more money than you thought possible, and reinforced donor stewardship as a best practice in your organization. 


But, times and technologies change. So, what you implemented well this year may be outdated by the next.

Document the methods your organization utilized each year and their outcomes to compare the effectiveness of each fundraising campaign’s technique. This will prove handy for years to come as your organization grows and seeks to solidify its strategy.


With the fundraising campaign over, it’s now time to reflect.

Reflection is a chance to improve, to grow, and to cultivate new skills. 

Do not slip into fundraising complacency and allow your campaign to unthinkingly meander on without any real direction. Try listening to feedback from your fundraising team and self-evaluating your methods each year to determine where your organization can improve.


Once your organization has successfully reflected on its recent campaign’s productiveness, it is time to turn reflective ideas into actionable responses.

Begin to craft tangible steps with your fundraising team to be taken throughout the planning, execution, and successive measurement periods for the next fundraising campaign to achieve your outlined goals.

As the fundraising farmer extraordinaire, your fundraising goals should be reactionary, not resistant. Do not maintain stagnancy in favor of experimenting with dynamacy. New issues may arise and new technologies will develop.

Your organization must be keen to the changing environment and respond accordingly to ensure continued support and effective fundraising campaigns.

Sarah Tedesco is Executive Vice President of DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy. Sarah is responsible for managing the production and customer support department concerning client contract fulfillment, increasing retention rate and customer satisfaction. She collaborates with other team members on a variety of issues including sales, marketing and product development ideas.

Wayne GurleyComment