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Nonprofit Fundraising 101 by Darian Rodriguez Heyman

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Chapter 7 Measuring Impact: Data, Stories, and Organizational Dashboards

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

—Peter Drucker

Introduction

Making a difference is the reason the nonprofit sector exists, and as we’ve shared in many of the chapters in this book, fundraising success revolves around your ability to make—and relay—impact. Donors, especially younger ones, want to know where their money is going and what it’s accomplishing, and are increasingly demanding metrics to prove it. If you can’t clearly, compellingly show donors and prospects the difference their donations have made, they won’t support your work. Furthermore, you need to know whether you’re putting your organization’s valuable resources and staff time toward something that’s having the impact you intended, or whether a change of strategy is needed or can create even greater impact. That means it’s critical you’re able to set and demonstrate progress toward goals and objectives, which is only possible if you measure progress. When you do, your donor cultivation and stewardship efforts will thrive; plus, you can leverage these insights to refine your efforts, magnifying impact and creating efficiencies.

Said another way, measuring impact serves two connected purposes. First, it provides valuable insights, data points, and stories you can share with the outside world, enlisting their support. Second, evaluation helps you gauge your performance internally, against past performance, other organizations, ...

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