Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure.

This is a pretty old adage that most of us will be familiar with. Unfortunately this rings true when it comes to measuring the performance of supporter or donor care functions.

You may have read a post I wrote last year about the large mystery shopping exercise Pareto Fundraising ran here in Canada in 2008.

The findings were shocking to most. Not for me however, as I’ve been doing this in different parts of the world for many years now and see the same stuff over and over again. I've become somewhat numb to it.

Lack of response, poor or no follow up, communications all about the organization, rather than individuals and beneficiaries.

I could go on.

Anyway I’m often asked why charities are so damn bad (generally) at looking after donors, or members of the public.

I respond with a raft of reasons, invariably citing lack of importance placed on this area, difficulty obtaining evidence to show it makes a difference, distraction etc.

One of the other key reasons, I believe, is that very few charities around the globe actually measure service levels.

Do you think large commercial organization’s with inbound call centre’s don’t bother capturing data on how long it takes to answer a call or the number of people they convert to a sale? Of course they don’t.

So why should charities be exempt from setting themselves parameters like this?

They shouldn’t.

The message for today is start actually monitoring, measuring and then managing the performance of your supporter care or donor services team.

Consider looking at things like:

• Turnaround times on mail, telephone and email. I.e. “All mail enquiries must be responded to within 5 business days”.
• The proportion of ‘win-backs’ or ‘downgrades’ achieved I.e. “50% of all attempted cancellations should be downgraded rather than stopped”.
• The level of data capture obtained from supporters. I.e. “80% of all donor calls should result in the confirming or capturing of an email address/contact telephone number”.

These are just a few to begin with.

They key thing is measure them, and make sure you reward those who consistently achieve.

Once you’ve set some measures, or what I call SLA’s (service level agreements) then you’re on your way to being able to understand the impact that getting this right makes on the value of your file.


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