What are the key metrics you track in your donor acquisition efforts?

Do you monitor response rate, average gift and total income generated?

Those are pretty standard, and are probably the most frequent metrics tracked.

But if that’s all you’re tracking, chances are you aren’t maximizing your acquisition efforts.

Recently I had a conversation that reminded me of the importance of tracking the right metrics. I was talking with the CEO of a nonprofit who shared that his acquisition efforts were producing very strong results. They got more donors in 2010 than they had in 2009, and the average gift held strong from year to year. Which also means gross revenue went up. All good things, right?

For sure. But here’s the rub. They were not tracking other, more important performance indicators. They weren’t measuring Cost Per Donor or Long Term Value.

So while on the surface their program looked in good shape, in reality, they were investing way too much to acquire a donor. So much so that they were not likely to ever generate net revenue from those new donors!

Can you imagine investing all that time and money to get new donors, only to find out you paid so much for them on the front end that they aren’t going to provide net revenue for you down the line?


If you aren’t tracking CPD and LTDV of your donors, you need to. Otherwise, you’re blindly trusting that your strategies work, without having the certainty that they really do.