KPIs, Metrics, and Benchmarks- Oh My!...How to Measure Your Year-end Campaigns | npENGAGE

KPIs, Metrics, and Benchmarks – Oh My!…How to Measure Your Year-end Campaigns

By on Nov 7, 2012


Tis the time of year when end-of-year campaigns are in full swing and metrics, measurement, and benchmarks are top of mind. Some common questions include- How much have we raised so far? How are we tracking year over year? What is our average gift size? Who clicked through our emails? Who will win “Dancing With the Stars” this season?  OK, maybe not that last question… but we still need an answer to that too.

Spoiler alert: there are A LOT of ways to measure a campaign’s success. Before we get into a small sampling of what you could be tracking, let me impart a quick piece of wisdom that is often learned the hard way.

One of my most important tips is to ensure you have someone on staff who is responsible for tracking, compiling, and analyzing the metrics for your year-end campaign. It is much easier to define the key metrics, benchmarks, and measurements that you want to track NOW- instead of waiting until you are sipping lemonade by the pool in August and trying to remember and rationalize what happened months and months ago!

Here are few examples of some of the most common metrics tracked for year-end campaigns:

  • Amount raised. OK, this one is obvious. This is usually the first measure tracked as it is very important to know how much money you raised. Some other key variations are year over year giving (one example: how much was raised to date this time last year) and how much was raised for a particular appeal of the larger campaign.
  • Average gift amount. This measures the average gift amount you received per donor.
  • Response rate. This is the calculation of what percentage of your recipients responded to the campaign. To calculate this metric, you can divide the total number of responses by the total number of pieces sent.
  • Cost per dollar raised. This measurement shows you much each dollar that you raised is costing you as an organization.
  • Clickthrough rate. This measures what percentage of your targeted recipients responded by clicking through the links in your email. Many email providers will provide a detailed report of clickthroughs and information about who clicked on what. Read more information about ways to increase clickthroughs with followup email techniques.

There is not a one-size-fits-all measurement strategy for ALL organizations, but these provide a good starting point for discussion. To sum it up, it is very important to establish a clear plan about how and what you will measure for each of your campaigns. If there are variables you are not able to measure, collectively decide how you will account for those results too.

And remember, it is still not too late to pull out some mid-campaign segmentation! As discussed in my last blog post, you could use this year-end campaign time to circle back around to groups like your LYBUNTs or SYBUNTS. Revisit my last post to learn more about segmentation!

Let’s take it to the virtual streets.

How do you measure success at your organization? What are the key metrics that you use for benchmarking your success? What are some lessons learned and tips that you have picked up over the years? Please share with us in your comments below.


As the Director of Vertical Marketing and Strategy for Blackbaud’s Higher Education Solutions group, Tiffany is accountable for leading the strategic management and execution of the team’s go-to-market strategy across the entire higher education landscape in North America. Key areas of responsibility include the strategic planning, commercialization and go-to-market execution of launching solutions and services to meet the ever-changing needs of Higher Education institutions. Additionally, Tiffany leads the team that evaluates and introduces new solutions to the market to affect the entire income stream on campus through partnership and acquisition- one recent example is the acquisition of AcademicWorks scholarship and award management solution into the Blackbaud portfolio in April 2017.

Tiffany maintains a strong commitment to nonprofit leadership and has served on a number of nonprofit boards and steering committees supporting her alma mater, mentorship programs for women beginning careers in Marketing and Technology as well as organizations combatting the many issues that arise with hunger and homelessness in our community. Tiffany currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Lowcountry Food Bank.

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