Sourcing your contacts at MAF Norge

2015-02-06 06:00
Written by

(My name, but blog is actually from MAF Norge's Steinar Sødal)

How to track what marketing effort is most efficient for recruiting donors or members?

All NGOs would dream, hope and maybe pray to expand their database of donors with new ones. Hopefully your NGO is doing more than just dreaming, but actually spending some money trying to recruit new donors or members.

If you are spending money trying to achieve this, you would probably be aware that this is expensive. Newspaper advertising, Facebook and Google ads, webpages, inserts, face-to-face on the street, events and so on. What effort gives you most donors, to the lowest price?

Any sales or marketing business will need a way to measure what marketing effort is most cost efficient. I sincerely think that NGOs should do the same, so that they could understand where their marketing strength and potential lies.

The main Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for donor recruitment should be ”cost pr. new name”. Let me give an example:

One newspaper insert recruit 100 new donors, and are therefore regarded as a success. (But it was a bit expensive though, costing about 10.000€ ...) You have also hired a street recruiter, but she only recruited 3 donors in one day. Is that a success or not? She only recruited 3 people, and costs about 100€ a day (expensive, right?)

Newspaper insert: total costs of 10.000€, recruited 100 donors, cost pr. new name = 100€.
Street campaign: total costs of 100€, recruited 3 donors, cost pr. new name= 33,33€.

Action to be taken: Cancel all newspaper inserts, and rather employ 33 persons to recruit on the street.

Result: 3 times more donors, for the same cost.

How to actually provide this statistics for your organization?
To measure “cost pr. new name”, you need two things; costs, and count of new names.
You need to decide for what level of detail you want to measure. However it only makes sense to record detail of costs and new names if you can distinguish both at the same level of detail.

Newspaper inserts, different bank account numbers.
SMS, different codewords.
Street campaigns, name of recruiter.

There is a native field on the contact summary tab called Source. This could easily be used for this purpose. MAF Norway has instead created a series of four custom fields, where the main two are creation date, and creation event. The creation event is a drop-down list, where we would select what marketing effort that is the reason for the new contact to be created.

At any time I could look in our accounting system to find the recorded costs, and check in CiviCRM how many contacts that has that particular source, and then calculate the cost pr. new name for that specific marketing effort.

PS! (For advanced statistics:) A donor you have aquired in a cheap way on the street, can actually turn out to be a poorer investment than a newspaper insert, because the total amount of money that donor will donate during their entire life cycle as a donor with your organization, could be less. This is called lifetime value, and is another KPI for donor recruitment. To calculate this you also need to have a source for every new contact. So if you are not recording source for new donors, you should start now!


Thanks, Steiner and Erik. It's great to see how tracking one field and doing some math can produce something so valuable.


If you use civisualize, you should get a good overview of your contacts per source (and use that to filter too). May be by automatically build the source based on your custom fields?

Otherwise, should be pretty easy to add a custom visualisation for your needs, including amount of donations and cost per marketing action.

There is a google summer of code to extend civicampaign around your need, would be awesome if MAF could register as "organisation feedback"…