Round Table Technology
Opinion

Story problems with fundraising metrics: UR doing it wrong

Fightin’ words

           Want to start a fight in a fundraising comment section? That’s easy. Start talking metrics. Opinions are often passionate. And they often conflict. One author explains why 26 metrics are “essential.”[1] Another writes, 

“Fundraisers need to focus MORE on creating memories and moments with their donors … and LESS about hitting those wacky metrics or year-end goals.”[2]

Another questions,

“If philanthropy is all about relationships, then why do metrics only measure money?”[3] 

           So, what’s the answer? Is it “all about the Benjamins?” Or is it “all about the love?” 

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About the author

Russell James, J.D., Ph.D., CFP

After more than a quarter century spent as a planned giving fundraiser, an estate planning attorney in private practice, a major gifts fundraiser/college president, and now as a university professor researching charitable giving and fundraising, my focus is to make and share words, pictures, and discoveries that help others to encourage generosity.

My research has been cited in outlets such as The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Reports, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg News, ABC News, USA Today, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy. My research methodologies include econometric analysis of large datasets, functional magnetic resonance imaging (neuroimaging), skin conductance response, and online and in-person experiments.

My teaching includes classroom and online graduate instruction, webinars, seminars, educational videos, and keynote presentations at national conferences for fundraisers, financial planners, and estate planners.

My publications have appeared in more than forty different academic journals including Cognitive Neuroscience, Environment & Behavior, Applied Economics, Applied Economics Letters, American Journal of Economics & Sociology, Social Indicators Research, American Review of Public Administration, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, International Journal of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Management, Voluntas-International Journal of Voluntary & Nonprofit Organizations, Journal of Financial Counseling & Planning, Financial Services Review, Journal of Personal Finance, Journal for Financial Planning, Journal of Financial Therapy, Ageing & Society, Educational Gerontology, International Journal of Consumer Studies, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Review of Religious Research, The Geneva Papers on Risk & Insurance, Estate Planning & Community Property Law Journal, and UC-Davis Law Review.