Most marketers measure the effectiveness of each fundraising channel with cost per dollar raised or income per name. Guess What? These metrics are wrong. They are not inaccurate due to lack of trying. In fact, many spend considerable effort ensuring these metrics are extremely precise. Unfortunately, precision is not the same as thing as accuracy.
These types of metrics are not accurate because most are measuring cost per dollar raised within a single channel (e.g., direct mail) or a single program (e.g., events). Organizations are engaging with a given donor across multiple outbound channels while donors are engaging with the organization on their own terms. Only crediting the donor’s response channel discounts all the continued interactions that influence a giving decision.
Why is this a Problem?
Most organizations have a long history of creating budgets and marketing plans using these long-proven methods. However, as retention rates slowly decline and donors become accustomed to a multi-channel, multi-device world, measurement must change as well. While it’s comfortable, direct attribution leads to a few critical blind spots:
- First, it tends to overstate the impact of channels that capture donor demand like search, website, and (gasp) direct mail.
- Second, it provides no satisfying metrics for measuring broader media channels [TV, digital ads, live events].
- Third, it knowingly ignores all other interactions to simplify the measurement process.
In these times where every dollar counts, determining marketing budgets using inaccurate metrics and missing the opportunity to raise more for the worthy cause is no longer acceptable.
What is the Solution?
Luckily, there is a solution to more accurate attribution regardless of an organization’s experience or current state. Over the next few weeks, we will walk through four stages to evolve your organization’s attribution. I choose the word “evolve” carefully as most will benefit from following the below as a step- wise process versus jumping to the end.
Do not worry if you are on the left side of the graphic. Virtually every organization I speak with is on the left hand and each can substantively improve its fundraising efficiency by taking its attribution to the next stage.