Ultimately, the best proof of whether your legacy fundraising program is successful is legacy income. But as you know, there are many years between recruitment and reception. Thé big difference with all other ways of fundraising where you immediately see clear-cut financial results. Precisely why KPIs are extra important in legacy fundraising.
KPI: a way of measuring a company’s progress towards the goals it is trying to achieve
(Source: Cambridge Dictionary)
To be clear: KPIs are not goals in themselves, but signs that show whether or not you are on the right track. With an extra challenge for us as legacy fundraisers: About 90% of those who consider including or have included an organisation in their will, do not make this known to the charity.
We see this ‘no strains attached’-attitude remarkably more often among Baby Boomers than among the Silent Generation. With diverse motives: “I don’t want the charity to know that I am orienting because I don’t want to be pursued by telephone, post or email”, “for me, this is a private matter”, “I want to feel the freedom to change my mind” or “I don’t need to be thanked, they’ll see the legacy when they receive it”.
We can think of all kinds of wonderful marketing and cultivation processes to answer these attitudes, but there will still be a large majority who behave as they do. This given fact forces us to look beyond our pipeline (the tip of the iceberg) towards our entire target group, the whole iceberg.
If you only focus on the pipeline, you will logically choose telemarketing and surveys because these deliver the most tangible KPIs. But at the same time, you run a great risk of confusing KPIs with goals and miss out on huge potential. Don’t get me wrong: There is nothing wrong with surveys and telemarketing, but there is so much more to add to your program.
Based on these insights, I would like to take you along what I believe to be the most important legacy funding KPIs, why they are important, and how you can apply them. Because despite the additional challenges associated with a legacy fundraising program, the old dogma still applies: to measure is to know.
‘Reach’ is often not (yet) used as a KPI but, in my view, an indispensable one. Given that the majority of your target group does not make itself visible, this KPI indicates how many people you reach with your legacy message. For example, Advertisement: 500,000, Donor magazine: 100,000, Direct Mail: 50,000, TV: 2 million, etcetera. Of course, this is a soft KPI, but if you do not measure this, you risk not steering on this one and keep invisible to a large group of potential legators.
2. Website visitors
Baby Boomers and younger generations are increasingly finding their way online. “If I want to know something, I will check your website”. In addition to organic visitors, you can use SEO, SEA, and social media to attract people more directly to your website.
Overall, if you try to get between the ears of your target audience, Google Analytics indicates whether you are successful in this. Also, remember that the website visit should be a positive experience by offering both inspiring content and easy-to-find practical information.
3. Enquirers/ Leads/ Brochures
An enquirer has actively requested information via the website, social media, reply card, or any other route. Therefore, brochure applicants remain very welcome and essential leads to monitor because they are both an indicator of your marketing activities and leads that need timely and adequate follow-up. They should experience a positive experience during their journey and get convinced to include your organisation in their will.
4. Considerers/ Interested persons/ Prospects
A considerer, also called an interested person or prospect, is someone who is considering putting your organisation in their will. We find out if someone is a considerer from follow-up enquirers by surveys, conversations on the phone, visits, or events. Important to know to cultivate this group towards including the charity in the will. Think of deployment of relationship management, events, direct mail, etcetera.
A pledger is someone who has informed your organisation that your organisation is in their will. Extra special because pledgers are open about this and show a high level of loyalty by sharing this information. It is important to thank your pledgers and engage them further so that they remain confirmed in their choice and perhaps also open to other giving options. To actively invite more people to make themselves known as pledgers, you can actively invite them to do so via calls in your donor magazine, check options on reply cards, or during events or conversations.
As you can see, KPI 3 to 6 are measurements in the pipeline. Conversions within the pipeline are important to keep track of so that, for example, it becomes clear how many considerers have been converted to pledgers in a given period. By linking conversion numbers or percentages as targets to relationship management, you can monitor and adjust this.
Every organisation has a different classification and often different KPIs. The more we know of the behaviour of our target group, the more generations we are servicing, the more it should be reflected in the definition of our KPIs. If you have any additional KPIs or other additional ideas or insights, please share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Elly Lont, February 2022