Measuring Gift Impact

Posted on 01/21/2017 - by Dan Allenby

Today’s donors do not seem to care much about stories that describe why other donors give or seeing their own name listed on a roster. Instead, they want to know what, in measurable terms, their past support has helped to achieve. When making a decision to give again, some of the questions donors ask themselves include, “How have my past gifts been used?” and “What would another gift from me help achieve?”

That’s why UCLA’s annual giving team has started putting more effort into creating collateral that shows philanthropic impact in measurable terms with tangible outcomes. They’re highlighting how philanthropy bridges the tuition gap from state funding, influences rankings, and provides students with financial aid. They’re also pointing out that smaller gifts can add up to support bigger (and specific) things. For example, 28 gifts of $50 can fund a year’s worth of books and supplies, or 15 gifts of $100 can renew one of the many academic journal subscriptions at the university’s library.

The focus on measurable impact hasn’t been just a one-off effort. It’s part of a year-round, multi-channel print and digital marketing and stewardship effort that includes outbound (direct mail, email) and inbound (website). Their recent postcard (below) features an infographic that describes the various ways donors’ support can make an impact. This messaging is consistently presented on a gift impact page on the UCLA Fund’s website.

While this initiative was originally conceived as a “stewardship” campaign to be promoted over the summer before the fall appeals went underway, it actually evolved into something more. A few weeks after the website was originally made live, the staff added a few give buttons at the bottom of the page so that readers wouldn’t have to navigate elsewhere to make a gift. To their surprise, they discovered (after tracking the page through Google Analytics) that visitors to the gift impact page were actually clicking through to the online donation form. In fact, the page generated double-digit conversion rates.

Donor honor rolls and stories may be appealing, but show your supporters tangible examples of their impact, and you’ll be sure to measure up!

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Stewardship for Annual Giving.