Gathering data is an incredibly important part of your nonprofit’s strategic planning. While it may not feel as exhilarating as planning your next big event or as exciting as landing a well-known title sponsor, analyzing your data helps with measuring your success and honing in on the new opportunities that will take your organization to the next level.
But, what is the right data to be looking at? How often should you be looking at it? There IS such a thing as analysis paralysis, right? While only you and your team can answer some of these questions based on factors that are unique to your organization, we can provide you with some pointers.
One such opportunity to collect information that will help you succeed in future campaigns is during your organization’s hybrid silent auction.
In this guide, we’ll cover seven metrics your organization can track in conjunction with your hybrid auction; both during the event and after it ends.
1. Registration Page Conversion Rate
Before you shudder and get scared of the word “conversion,” thinking back to your high school chemistry days, observing the conversion rate of a website is very simple:
Definition: Your registration page rate = those who arrive on your registration page vs. how many “convert” by signing up.
Importance: Analyzing your conversion rate will show you how impactful your registration page is and give you insight into what you could add or take away to invite more registrations. These variables can include headlines, colors, or even the use of photos on your page.
You might even use A/B testing, allowing half of your audience to see one version of your page and the other half another version to see which converts higher. Then, you can use this information to choose the best version and imitate it in future campaigns.
Application: If people are abandoning your registration page at the last minute, it means your marketing is working to get them there, but something else is driving them away. If you can identify this factor, you’ll be able to encourage more registrations in the future.
You can also use this insight both for fundraising and online auction pages in real time throughout your event to see how many people give during the event itself. This fundraising data will also allow you to raise more money in future campaigns.
2. In-Person vs. Online Attendance
Definition: How many people attended the event in-person vs. online.
Ask your registrants how they plan to attend right at the beginning of the registration process, on the initial form. This way, you can plan ahead, and the data can be stored in your auction software.
Importance: You can use this information to measure any significant differences, such as the amount of money raised, between the two audiences.
Application: This metric is important to measure before your event, because it will help you make decisions like how much event space or food you’ll need for your in-person audience. You should also track this information in donor profiles as a part of your CRM, allowing you to see who is showing up in person vs. online. This will help you market to these audiences in ways that will get their attention and best engage them in your future campaigns.
Understanding your in-person vs. online audiences will also help you to follow up and communicate relevant messaging after your event, and better predict your audiences for future hybrid events.
3. Percent of Value Return
Definition:Winning bid amount divided by fair market value.
Importance: The percent of value return shows you which items have the highest return on value – or – which auction items will give you the biggest bang for your buck!
Application: Knowing how the winning bids matched up against each item’s value is a highly beneficial tool when evaluating your silent auction. This can show which of your items are most popular and help you determine which category of auction items your audience prefers the most. Then, you can emphasize that category in future auctions.
4. Number of Bids Per Item
Definition: How many bids each auction item received.
Importance: Knowing how many bids were placed on each item in your auction will show you how much interest people had in your items, and whether you were able to garner some friendly competition and bidding wars.
Application: If your average number of bids per item was lower than expected, you might have a couple of issues that need to be addressed. There are two key culprits in this situation:
- Your bidding increments are too high. According to Handbid’s Silent Auction Rules, lowering your bidding increments — especially when the auction uses mobile bidding technology — will encourage more bids and more bidding wars.
- You have too many auction items. Next time you might want to increase competition by decreasing the number of auction items per guest.
5. Event ROI
Definition:How much you earned from your event compared to how much you spent.
Importance: When it comes to looking at a nonprofit’s financials, supporters, board members and key stakeholders like to see high efficiency. Considering the cost of an event versus its fundraising potential should be the first question you ask before diving into planning any kind of event for your organization.
Application: If your ROI is low or, heaven forbid, in the red, you can take further action to decrease your spending and increase your revenue the next time around by doing the following:
- Collect outright corporate cash sponsorships to drastically offset your expenses and increase ROI.
- Collect in-kind sponsorships.Often more feasible for companies than large sums of cash, in-kind donations of food, decor, and especially auction items, will help to reduce the cost of your event.
- Create more donation opportunities for people to engage in throughout the course of your event.
- Identify valuable and hard-to-get auction items that will wow your audience and start a bidding frenzy that will be sure to increase your ROI!
6. Attendee Retention Rate
Definition: How many of your attendees return year after year.
Importance: Retention is less expensive than acquisition. In other words, it’s more expensive to gain a new attendee than it is to get an existing attendee to come to next year’s event. Knowing your retention rate will give you insight into how much people enjoyed your event and its activities.
Application: If your retention rate is lower than you’d like, here are a few things to consider:
- The event’s timing: Did you change the time or day, the day of the week, or the time of year from last year to this year? This could be a key factor for attendees, based on many factors like school, work, other events, etc.
- The event activities: Are people participating and having a good time? Do you have enough things to do throughout the course of the event? How was your event program? Was it compelling and did it flow well enough to captivate your guests’ attention?
- Your stewardship strategies: Supporters who feel appreciated and communicated with throughout the year are more likely to come back to future events.
7. Attendee Satisfaction
Definition:How satisfied are your event attendees?
Importance: Knowing how satisfied your event attendees are will show you if your event was engaging and impactful. If your attendees are excited about your event, think of all the free marketing (and more dollars!) that will give you when they invite their friends to next year’s event.
Application: One of the best ways to measure attendee satisfaction is to send out surveys via email after your event. Keep the survey simple, inviting them to rate each element on a scale. Then, ask for comments about what they liked and disliked at the event.
Knowing this information from your guests will help you to make adjustments for future campaigns based on their feedback. It also shows supporters you’re paying attention to them, which is excellent stewardship!
If you’re missing emails from supporters, you might decide to append email addresses so you can contact more of them with your survey and continue contacting them moving forward.
After you’ve collected this important data, save it in your CRM. Update it regularly and delete duplicate and outdated information. Properly maintaining your CRM keeps a clean database, making for more efficient communication and the possibility of both optimizing your guest list and raising more money at future fundraising events.