Using Data to Make Strategic Decisions Independent Education April 17, 2013 Kathleen A. Kavanagh Senior Executive Vice President and Managing Director Grenzebach Glier and Associates
Total Giving in the United States 1971-2011 ($ in billions) Source: Giving USA Foundation™, GIVING USA 2012
Where The Gifts Go Source: Giving USA Foundation™, GIVING USA 2012 Note: Does not include “Unallocated”Data began in 1979 for foundations and 1987 for environment/animals and international affairs.
Who Makes the Gifts? Source: Giving USA Foundation™, GIVING USA 2012
Some Trends and Considerations • Proliferation of causes, charitable opportunities, constant exposure • Ability to react (give) quickly • Aging Boomers • Schools and their needs have not changed significantly
Some Observations About What Impacts Our Work • Wedded to certain practices • Changing expectations • Fewer“alma mater knows best” donors • Growth of communication channels • Growth in number, diversity of our stakeholders
Budget Tensions • Spending operating dollars to raise non-operating dollars • Concerns about growth in size of advancement staffs
A Set of Solutions • Know what you are really trying to do • Innovate, yet remember the basics • Make smart decisions about using your resources effectively • Take thoughtful risks • Be flexible
Once You Know Your Goal • Set hypothesisand assemble evidence for a direction/strategy • Outline short- and long-term impact of this plan on strategic direction • Determine tactics to implement • Agree on percentage of disagreement to accept
The Basics • Major gifts drive fundraising numbers • Major gifts result from: • A “pipeline” of identified, developed prospective donors with capacity • Trusted relationships • Genuine, persuasive case for support • Good stewardship of previous gifts, at every level
Important Data Point #1 • The top 1-3% • Not infinite, doesn’t change dramatically every year • What work is needed by HOS, volunteers, and the advancement officer to attend to these prospects in the individual manner that is proven to be successful?
Some Key Questions That Top Programs Ask, Monitor, and Evaluate • What percentage of your highest-rated prospective donors have had individual, “insider”-level meetings with your Head in the last year? • Which of your top 15-20 prospective donors do you visit at least once every year? • What percentage of your top leadership annual gift donors have had an in-person solicitation by a staff member or volunteer in the last 12 months?
Important Data Point #2 • Constituents with the capacity to make leadership annual gifts: an underserved constituency • What percent of your giving do they represent • Some might become major gift prospects over time
Some Key Questions That Top Programs Ask, Monitor, and Evaluate • How well do we tend to our leadership annual gift donors and prospects? • Are we asking them differently, with different messages and approaches than our “general” annual giving prospects? • Are they first on the list when we need a host, speaker, or focus group member? • What percent are serving in some capacity every year, formal or informal?
Some Key Questions That Top Programs Ask, Monitor, and Evaluate • How are we assessing those who should be building even deeper relationships and moving into “major gifts” relationships? How many make this move into our major gift program every year? • What is our retention rate for our leadership annual donors?
A Few Other Measurements at High-Performing Programs • Total Fundraising Production • TFP per fundraising staff member • Number and value of major gift solicitations • Percent of major gift prospects who make leadership annual gifts
Some More Thoughts About Data • What data isn’t helpful? • Just because you can count it doesn’t make it useful • How many people show up does not equal engagement • Data you can’t maintain • Data with too many changed variables • The wrong peer comparisons • Interesting but not useful • The hardest part: do you know what you want to know?
Recap • Make decisions based on your strategic goals • Remember the basics first • Consider strategic innovation • Make smart decisions about using your precious resources • Be flexible, fight the battles worth fighting, don’t react to every complaint, stay focused