Best practices for selecting your campaign goal

An equation for success

Setting a goal for your campaign help give you and your supporters something to work towards throughout your campaign.

Goal Setting can be tricky, but we’re here to help you break it down… with math.

Before we get started, let’s identify a few key metrics that will help you calculate your goal:

DNLD_ Goal Setting-1


Calculating your goal: A step-by-step guide

Step 1: Expected Donation Return for One Messaging Blast

First, consider the size and scope of your donor list, listed in this formula as Prospective Donors List. Based on platform-wide standards, if you contact your entire donor list, you typically would see a donation conversion rate of about 8-12%. To keep math easy, if you have 100 donors on your list, for example, you can expect roughly 10 people to make a donation.

The next step is to determine what your Average Donation will be. Donations for online campaigns in the peer-to-peer fundraising space tend to be between $50-$87, on average. This dollar amount, however, varies from nonprofit-to-nonprofit and campaign-to-campaign. It also can be influenced by a clear call-to-action for a different amount.

DNLD_ Goal Setting (2)-1

Finally, take your Donor Conversion Rate and multiply it by your Expected Average Donation. This final number will give you your Expected Donation Return for One Messaging Blast. This number will come into play in the next equation.

DNLD_ Goal Setting (1)-1


Step 2: Total Expected Donation Return

DNLD_ Goal Setting (3)-1

Developing a messaging calendar will give you an idea of how many times you can reach out to your community during your campaign. Multiply the Number of Messaging Blasts by your Expected Donation Return for One Messaging Blast. This will give you a baseline minimum for your total campaign goal, or, your Total Expected Donation Return.

To break this down, if your donor list contains 100 people, your Expected Donation Return is 10% (.10), your Expected Donation Amount is $50 and you plan on messaging your donors 5 times over the course of your campaign, your equation would look like this:

DNLD_ Goal Setting (3)-2


Step 3: Total Campaign Goal

We typically advise to set your goal higher rather than lower. Since we have already identified what we are expecting as a return on one messaging blast and multiplied it by the number of times we expect to message, we can begin to get more ambitious. To add an extra milestone to rally your supporters, add an additional 25% of your Expected Donation Return to determine your Total Campaign Goal.

DNLD_ Goal Setting (4)-1


Key Takeaways

While this isn’t a perfect science, using the Goal Setting Equation helps determine a starting point for setting a goal instead of relying on speculation and guesswork. As a nonprofit, you are in the business of building relationships with your network, which often involves how you ask and receive donations. To this point, it is important to nurture your donors by messaging often (and well!) while as to not overwhelm them with donation solicitations.

There are many ways to determine your goal and to adjust it as your campaign grows and evolves. Each time you run a campaign, you will get closer to understanding your donor base, average donation size, and the specifications of your “ask,” therefore making your Equation more and more accurate.

If your goal seems low at first, that’s okay. You can always increase your goal if you are getting donations faster or greater than expected. What you want to avoid is setting a goal that is too high early on. Doing so makes donors feel like the value on their donation is diminished, which, in turn, discourages them from giving more or giving again. It can sometimes deter donations all together.

A benefit to using the Goal Setting Equation is that it can work backwards, too. If you have a specific project goal in mind, you can take that total goal and work backwards to determine what your average donation will need to be and the number of messaging blasts you will need to send, at minimum.

For more on Goal Setting strategy, plus the best tips and practices for online fundraising, reach out to your Senior Success Specialist.