by Josh Jacobson

“Looooove… exciting and new….”

Oh, February. Who has a love hangover? Not us at Next Stage! We celebrate Valentine’s Day all month long. And we have the half-empty boxes of chocolates to prove it.

Love is such a powerful emotion, and perhaps unlike our siblings in the private sector, we tend to find it showing up strongly throughout area nonprofits. Staff members who love their jobs. Board members who love the nonprofit’s mission. But how can we identify new (and returning) constituents who feel similar affinity?

In a town of nonprofits who sometimes seem allergic to constituent acquisition, there are some less-analyzed metrics right inside constituent management systems that can point one in the right direction. We call these the love metrics. “Do they just like me? Or do they really like me – like me?” Here’s how to find out:

  • E-mail Marketing Opens – According to MailChimp, the average open rate for nonprofit email marketing campaigns is 25.96%, so if your organization’s e-mails do better than that, congratulations. But too often that is the only metric explored. Looking back at your last ten e-mail marketing campaigns, who has consistently opened and read them? Who has come back and re-read that content hours or even days apart? These are people who are indicating that what you are communicating resonates with them.
  • Likes, Shares & Comments on Social Media – Who said liking something on Facebook can’t change the world? Probably the person not spending any time monitoring how important social media is to building constituency. While it might not take much to click like, there is a reason it is shaped like a heart on Instagram. Someone who is consistently liking, sharing and commenting on your content is virtually yelling out their appreciation for what you do. Maybe you should give them some love in return?
  • Consistent Attendance or Volunteerism – While nonprofits are always seeking the new and different constituents, let’s hear it for the people who consistently show up to your meet-ups, serve days and special events. These individuals see themselves as a member of your flock, that they belong to your nonprofit. Rather than look past them to the new face, it might be worth trying to understand what makes your organization so sticky that it encourages so many happy returns.
  • Three-Year Increasing Support – My favorite metric in the nonprofit donor database is to look at donors who have increased their gift in each of the last three years. This is someone demonstrating love through their contributions, but it might be missed if you’re only looking at giving over a certain threshold. Someone who escalates giving from $25 to $50 to $100 year-over-year is telling you something, but are you paying attention to hear it?

Love is in the air! Smitten kittens abound! Just open up your CRM and slice and dice some data to find your new valentines.