I recommend that organizations compare their performance (e.g., mission impact, fundraising results, etc.) to their own prior performance. Compare over multiple years. Identify trends and their implications. Learn and plan and change accordingly.
I also recommend that organizations compare their own performance to others in their industry. And, I recommend that organizations compare their own performance to the field, e.g., the fundraising business.
How do your fundraising results compare to the Nonprofit Fundraising Study – in the U.S. or Canada? Did your charitable receipts rise in calendar 2011 – like they did at more than 1/2 of the surveyed organizations? Which fundraising strategies did you use and how do your results compare to the field? How does your board member involvement compare to other organizations in your industry or the similar-sized organizations?
I’m a board member and I want to know. I’m the CEO and I want to know, too. And, of course, the development staff uses this data to monitor progress, adjust activities, and intervene as necessary.