Monthly Giving Metrics in a Fast-Paced World

fundraising dashboardNo matter the size of the program, monthly giving presents complex metrics that need to be synthesized into a single view to be utilized by anyone that touches the program. MINDset believes that a dashboard is the best way to take this large amount of complex information and make it not only digestible but also actionable.

There are typically three types of dashboard for managing data on any program:

  • An Operational dashboard shows progress towards a tactical goal or performance measure and other metrics in addition to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • A Strategic dashboard provides an executive level view with focus on performance against budget, efficiency metrics and other top-down views.
  • An Analytical dashboard – the kind we prefer for our MINDset clients – is a blend of strategic and operational.

We find this Analytical dashboard to be the most useful when measuring sustainer programs and illustrating them for the diverse audiences that use the dashboard at our client partners. In some cases this includes everyone from the CEO down to the person charged with credit card processing.

The dashboard measures may vary depending upon the life stage of a sustainer program and the organization’s focus on acquiring or converting sustainers, retention and mechanics, and cultivating and building value.

Good basics for any program, regardless of life stage include:

Number of New Sustainers each month and the progress towards an annual goal,

Monthly Revenue from the program, potentially broken down by method of payment and/or by monthly gifts to pledge versus other single appeal gifts

Monthly Activity of the program, meaning the number of monthly gifts versus the number of constituents coded as sustainers in that given month.

Since the number one factor determining the success and growth of your sustainer program is the acquisition and conversion of new monthly donors, a good analytical dashboard will include some focus on this including elements like cost to acquire with and without one time gift defrayal, retention in the critical first three to six month incubation period, and an illustration of the organization’s portfolio of sources including DRTV, canvassing, digital, and other and a tracking tool to look at this mix and how it changes over time.

If an organization has a powerful data warehouse behind the analysis like we do at MINDset, it can also be helpful to look at rolling metrics like long term value (12 and 24 months), ROI by acquisition channel and even overall cost to raise a dollar for your monthly giving with all costs, including acquisition, loaded.
Tracking these sustainer metrics on a monthly basis allows us to see trends as they emerge and recommend adjustments as necessary to keep the program on an upward trajectory.

For more information about how we can help you optimize your sustainer program, please contact


Erica O'Brien

Erica O’Brien, Managing Partner and Co-Owner, has worked within the marketing and non-profit industry for nearly twenty years. Before joining the MINDset team, she worked at Cubine Chapman Adams & Hussey (formerly Adams Hussey & Associates) for nearly a decade, where she served as Principal & Senior Vice President.