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We often chase after data or social media or the latest shiny object without first thinking about why. What does that “thing” really mean for your mission? Is it helping you achieve and advance your goals?

When adopting a data-driven approach, it’s important to have absolute clarity around your goal. Honestly, data and metrics are meaningless if they’re not grounded in organizational goals.

Define Your Organization’s Strategic Goal.

What is your one big goal at the present moment? Most often, the strategic goal is the 3-5 year plan that your organization has set out to achieve. These are often huge and lofty, but can sometimes be short and focused.

Examples of huge and lofty strategic goals:

  • Reduce the incidence rate of a disease by a certain percentage point.
  • Increase the footprint of your organization in new markets on the East coast.

An example of a short-term strategic goal:

  • Increase revenue from existing donors by a certain amount by the end of the fiscal year.

Identify the Objectives Driving Your Strategic Goal.

Once the high-level strategic goal is clearly defined, identify the key objectives that drive that goal. Make sure these objectives are quantifiable and measurable.

Examples of goal-driving objectives:

  • To increase the footprint of your organization, maybe your objective is to acquire 20,000 new donors over the next two years.
  • Or when it comes to the short-term goal of increasing revenue from existing donors, maybe your objective is to raise $10,000 over the next quarter by upgrading donors.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of which systems or sources hold the data tied to this objective. This is important, because without the data sources you won’t be able to measure any of the metrics. Once you have your goal and objectives identified, you can hone in on the metrics you will need to monitor your progress.

Learn more about how data can help you achieve your strategic goals. Download “The Field Guide for Data-Driven Fundraising” now.