Data Rocks! | npENGAGE

Data Rocks!

By on Apr 28, 2011


Most of you probably don’t know that “Rock on” is my catch phase and I think we can all be rock stars in our right.

As a proud card carrying data geek, it’s my mission to help fundraisers understand the power that lies in a constituent record or event report.  I’m often asked “how can data increase participation and fundraising performance?”  Another question I often get is “what metrics should I be looking at?” That’s usually followed by “now that I know my average gift, how can this help me?”  These are all great questions and I’ll tackle them for you.  Are you ready to rock?

Understanding you event data from the prior year will help you set goals for the current year.  At the completion of an event I always had a feeling of relief followed by panic.  Relief, because we reached or exceed our fundraising goal and the event was a success.  That feeling of calm was then interrupted by PANIC because, once the event is over you know have to come up with a plan to not just do what you did this year, but grow the event 20%.  This is where data comes in and can help.

For team based event, look at the number of teams formed each month and then break it out by week.  If you ran any contests or promotions, note those events by the weekly team numbers.  Do you see any team registration spikes?  If so, what activities correspond with those peaks?  Was there a promotion?  Or, did you have advertising, PR or PSA’s in market?  Did you make a round of phone calls to past participants?  It’s important to layer the results (team registrations) with the activity.  This helps you measure, which is activity or combination of activities was most effective.  You can also see what can improved for the following year.

When goal setting for the next event take your team numbers and increase them by your percentage increase.  Now, if you know your retention rate you can use your rate to figure out the exact number of new teams you need to recruit.  According to our Event Benchmarking group, the average team captain retention rate is about 40%.  If you don’t know your retention rate, you can use this as a base line.  But, here’s a quick way to calculate your team retention rate.

Retention = number of returning teams for 2010 (divided by) Total number of teams in 2009

Now that we know our retention rate, here’s an easy example calculating the number of new teams to recruit:

80 past team x 15% = 12 additional teams

92 team Recruitment goal

40% team retention rate – 37 teams will be retained

55 new teams

So, obviously I didn’t get to answer my three questions.  Because understanding your data is so important to events, I’m going to make “Data Rocks” a series.  Come by next week and we’ll talk more about metrics and which ones you should keep an eye on.


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

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