Feedback Loops


Every time you send out of piece of fundraising, you’ve sent out a little experiment into the world.

Is your organization reviewing the results of your experiments?

For instance, your organization has done a lot of experimenting with email subject lines (whether you’ve thought about it that way or not). Have you looked at your open rates to see what types of subject lines generate the highest open rates? After all, the more people who open your email, the more people who read your email, the more people who are likely to give to your email.

Bigger picture – every time your organization completes a year’s worth of fundraising, that’s like sending out a slightly larger experiment into the world.

Are you measuring your “overall donor retention rate”? How about your “major donor retention rate”? Or – I love this one – your “major donor revenue retention rate”? (That one tells you whether your major donor management system is keeping and lifting your current major donors, or if you’re reliant on new major donors to hit your goal each year. Big difference.)

So… you’ve done a lot of experiments.

Is your organization looking at the results of your experiments? Is your organization learning from them? Is your organization getting better with each email, each letter, and each year?


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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