5 Best Methods to Measure the Effectiveness of a Fundraiser (Part 1)

By Sarah Tedesco, Guest Blogger
Executive Vice President of DonorSearch


You and your team did it!

You finished your fundraiser and you could not be happier.

You had a large turnout, you surpassed your fundraising target, and you even converted some prospective donors into major gift donors with direct communication and honest appeals to their interests.

Well done!

And while it is perfectly acceptable to celebrate your achievements, do not think that your work on fundraisers ends when the fundraising campaign is complete.

Even if you surpassed all expectations, measuring the effectiveness of your fundraising campaign is the only way to ensure that all of your fundraisers are as successful, if not more so.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the 5 best practices for measuring the effectiveness of a fundraising campaign:

  1. Do Your Data Due Diligence

  2. Fundraise, Reflect, Respond, Repeat

  3. Decipher Donor and Prospect Data

  4. Manage Your Mission

  5. Mind Your Time

Incorporating these practices into your nonprofit’s assessment of your fundraiser data will guarantee that you maximize on your successes, grow from your failures, and optimize on new opportunities.

Part 1 - Do Your Data Due Diligence

Analyzing your data at the end of your fundraising campaign enables your organization to highlight the successes and understand the errors. What worked? What failed? More importantly, why?

Completing a data analysis of your fundraiser is one of the best practices to measure its overall effectiveness and identify areas of opportunity.

Data Analysis Essentials

When completing a data analysis of your fundraising campaign’s efficacy, it’s important to start by asking yourself:

“Was our goal met? What was our metric of success? Where did we fall short?”

Analyzing these fundraising metrics provides concrete numbers to illuminate the impact and effectiveness of your campaign:

Matching Gift Rate

Even if your recent fundraising campaign reached its goal, is there a way your fundraiser could go even further next time? Is there a way to maximize the impact of every donation you received?

Let’s examine the best kept secret of the nonprofit world: corporate matching gift programs.

Corporate matching gifts allow your donors to increase the value of their donation without having to contribute more of their own money.

With matching gift programs, an employer will match the donation of any employee that gives to an eligible organization. Depending on the matching gift ratio of the specific corporation, a single donor’s gift could be doubled, tripled, or more!

Educating your donors about the power of the matching gifts program is a pivotal fundraising strategy to apply to your next fundraiser if your organization does not currently receive matching gifts.

According to Double the Donation's matching gift statistics, 1 in 3 donors indicate they’d give a larger gift if matching were applied to their donation. 

Thus, the more informed your donors are about their giving potential, the more likely they are to contribute larger sums to be matched.

There are vast opportunities to maximize the impact of the donations you already receive through corporate matching gift programs.

How can you ensure that you are capitalizing on all of your matching gift opportunities?

Examine your current strategy for matching gifts and consider if including a matching gift database would optimize your return of investment results.

Streamlining your matching gift system will maximize your donors’ potential and effectively increase the impact of your fundraising campaign.

Gifts Secured

You succeeded in raising the funds to achieve many of your campaign’s objectives. But, an analysis of the quantity of each type of donation gift will be important for future strategy sessions.

Examine how many of each gift category your fundraiser secured:

  • Major gifts

  • Planned giving

  • Mid-level giving

  • Small donations

  • Annual fund donations

  • Monthly donations

Once you have the numbers, your organization can better assess the areas you need to optimize, where you are succeeding, and where your next opportunities lie.

Preferred Giving Platforms

Look into the methods of donating that were most popular with your donor base. 

Ask yourself these three questions:

  • How many alternatives do you offer? 

  • How convenient are they? 

  • How can you improve?

Check out this guide to see if incorporating text fundraising, one of the latest donation methods, would increase your fundraiser’s effectiveness.

Return on Investment (ROI) of Campaign

What was the percentage of donors who increased their annual contribution? What was the percentage of donors who decreased their annual contribution? 

For the amount of energy, time, and resources your fundraising team expended to secure prospective donors and engage current donors, did your organization see the expected return?

Consider these metrics to help determine the effectiveness of your campaign’s ROI:

  • Asks made

  • Gifts secured

  • Average major gift size

  • Donor retention rate

Utilize these metrics to understand where you need to focus your efforts to make your next fundraising campaign a smashing success.

Differences in data should translate into differences in strategy!


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