Sometimes because of one situation or another your organization will not give you measurable statistics. Maybe you are working on a venture project that has not yet been created, maybe you’ve been told to raise money for something that is a good idea but has no staff support. Here are a few things I’ve done to survive in this measureless world.

Straight away I’ll make sure that I can measure my own fundraising success to help me in building a future case for measurable results. It is important that you keep trying to get these measurable results. Do not settle for doing a bad job at showing your organization and it’s projects are a success.

A great stepping stone I’ve used is to set-up equivalencies so you have example numbers of what a gift can purchase. This allows donors to trust in how you will be spending their money but can provide them with great tangible ways of understanding the difference their gift can make.

When facts and measurements are scarce, you have to make sure that you are selling the ideas or founding principles of your organization. You can do this through client stories of success or of opportunity. Even “generalized” client stories of what a life could be like can make a significant impact. Client stories are really great as they provide you a way to re-tell the success of your organization through someone else. People will often connect to a compelling story before a promising statistic or a measurable result.

What does your organization do? I think we should strive for measurable results but when those results are scares we need to do something. What do you do in your organization?


It is always good to make every attempt to have and provide measurable results to your donors. I have found, that sometimes we do not have the opportunity to do this to the degree we would like to or should. I have been frustrated many times with how little measurable and tangible things that I am raising money for.

If we do not have enough measurable tangible results in what you are fundraising for try talking with your. Explain to them how important it is that donors know you have a plan for donation. If you think that is impossible to connect every donor to a specific gift take World Vision, they raise around $2 billion dollars a year and their money goes all over the world. But they can tell every donor what goat they purchased or which child they are sponsoring.

It is hard to tell a donor that their gift has made a difference unless you are using their specific gift to make a difference. Sure this will be harder with a gift of $20 than with a gift of $2,000 but it is important to find creative ways to do this. Use one hundred $20 gifts to make the same difference that the $2,000 gift is making.

I should say that the reason why so many fundraisers do not do this is because they want to keep money unrestricted. But you can show measurable results and a strategic direction without raising only restricted money. I’ve found that donors don’t always care exactly where their money is going they just want to know that it is going to something specific. If you can show the donor specific things money is going to they will feel more comfortable.


Oh No! Not Another Good Idea

September 2, 2014

Do you ever feel like you have way to many ideas?  Or do you feel like you have a lot of great ideas and things you want to do but never end up with time to get them done?  How do you manage your good ideas?  Do you ever find yourself partway through a new […]

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Development Fatigue

August 26, 2014

Are you experiencing “Development Fatigue”? Many donors go through “Donor Fatigue” when they have been asked too often for a donation but that’s not what I’m talking about. Do you ever feel like you have been asking too much and just don’t have any more “development” left in you? I think this happens to the […]

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Sample Solicitation Semantics

August 19, 2014

Try to say that ten times fast. Sample solicitation semantics… Sometimes we get lost in the semantics of how to ask for a gift so I thought I’d provide you with some examples of ways you can ask for money.  There are thousands of unique programs and partnerships that you could create to help in […]

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A Day in the Life of a Major Gifts Officer

August 12, 2014

One area you asked me to write a little more about is: What is it like to be a fundraising professional?  Many of you already know exactly what it is like in your specific department but maybe you are thinking about going into a different area.  Today I’m going to focus on Major Gifts fundraising.  […]

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Ask Out Loud

August 5, 2014

I have set-up and counseled quite a few board members on how to do a successful solicitation. One of the best pieces of advice that I was given is to “practice the ask out loud.” This means that once you have set-up the solicitation pair and figured out who is doing what piece (ie. Who […]

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Be Quiet!

July 29, 2014

I’ve mentioned this in previous post but I wanted to hit on the point in a little bit more depth.  After you have asked for a gift or even for a volunteer’s involvement and help their should be silence. The next person to talk should not be you, it should be the donor.  Many people […]

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How to ASSURE a Gift

July 22, 2014

What are the steps of a successful solicitation?  Every solicitation should be made up of a few simple things a thank you, a story, an ask, a close, and follow-up.  ASSURE is an acronym (or as I call it an ASKronym) that we are currently using with our campaign when we approach a potential donor.  […]

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The Pre-Emptive Gift

July 15, 2014

Have you ever set out to ask a donor for a gift, you set everything up perfectly, have a great solicitation plan, and then you go to ask them for their gift and they offer you a smaller gift before you can ask? Or maybe your donor tells you I’m just going to give this […]

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