If September makes you think about stretching outside of your comfort zone, learning something new, and doing something great for yourself and your organization, then Jennifer Turner’s guest post this month is for you. Read on for some great tips on measuring – and getting credit for – your impact. ~Helen
At the mere mention of the term Return On Investment (ROI), some people start to shudder. You may ask yourself, Why would I want to create data driven parameters for myself that could potentially set me up for failure? What possible good could come from setting goals?
You may be afraid that if you do this, your organization could become so data driven, your manager will become obsessed with whether or not you’re meeting these new goals. But if you let fears like that get the best of you, you could be missing an opportunity to demonstrate your amazing value to your organization.
After all, although we know how valuable we are, we also know that the number crunching higher-ups simply respond better to concrete facts and figures.
Who are you calling overhead?
For those of us who aren’t on the front-line money-generating side of the ledger, it can be especially important to put a dollar value on what we bring to our organization to justify the resources we’re given. How can you do this?
If you’ve carefully been tracking all of the new prospects you identified during the past year, it will be easy:
Look at the number of new prospects identified over the previous year and determine who in that batch actually made a gift to your organization. What was the total giving from that group? Has it increased year to year? What other patterns can you see? Are you more successful in finding prospects for particular areas? Are you getting more (or less) traction with specific researcher/fundraiser partnerships?
Forging stronger bonds
Measuring ROI can also improve your relationship with development officers. What better way to do this than by working together to help meet each other’s goals? It works like this:
You identify new prospects to meet your prospect-ID goal, and the development officer makes first contact with them in order to meet his/her initial-visit goal. This encourages constant communication between the two of you, which also encourages team building.
People have gym partners. Why not use a fundraising buddy to serve the same purpose? You will wind up using your development officer’s portfolio to measure your own ROI.
Measuring ROI can also benefit you in your pursuit of outside training and development. You know that conference you wanted to attend but couldn’t because of the amount of money it would cost your department? Here’s where measuring ROI can help your cause:
Show your supervisor how much you’ve contributed to fundraising efforts over the last year. How many of the prospects you identified made gifts last year? What was the total giving? That funding likely would not have come in without your efforts! Once they see the actual dollar figures you helped raise, the money spent on a conference to help you do more of the same will seem like pocket change!
Goals give you something to reach for
Yes, measuring your activity can set you up for having higher expectations placed on you next year. But doesn’t that just put you on the same climb as everyone else in your division?
So go ahead – set some goals that measure your impact. Once you start seeing the results of your work and the money you’ve helped raise, you won’t be able to help patting yourself on the back a little for reaching high.
Reaching your goals and continuing to improve on those goals year after year is a great motivator. It also promotes proactive research and prevents getting into a reactive research rut. Don’t be afraid to set yourself some figure-based goals that show others your true value, which, of course, all prospect researchers know is actually priceless.
What are your thoughts on ROI? Does your organization measure ROI for prospect research? If so, how?