Yesterday, I shared 5 out of the 10 most important statistics in phonathon. Today, I complete that list with a countdown to number one. In total, these are the 10 most important percentages and averages that I recommend tracking and influencing on every phonathon program. Without further hesitation, let's continue...
5. Upgrade/Downgrade Percentage. [Total Upgraded or Downgraded Pledges divided by Total Pledges] Donor retention and growth are keys to a successful phonathon, and moving donors up the giving ladder cannot happen effectively without a strong upgrade percentage from phonathon. If you're not tracking these statistics with all your current donors (lybunts), then you're missing out on a key indicator of caller ability. The best programs achieve 40% or higher with upgrading pledges based on the size of their last gift, while limiting downgrades to 10% or less. That's a 4:1 ratio of moving people up the pyramid versus down.
4. Completion Percentage. [Total Completes divided by Total Prospects] The number one reason programs fail to hit their goal is that they do not complete an adequate portion of their database. Sit up and take note of this key number- 75%. That's the overall average your database should be taken to in today's phonathon to achieve accepted database penetration. Anything less means you're probably leaving money on the table. Donors should go to 80% and nondonors make up the rest. This takes intense planning, strategy, and good mangaement decision-making.
3. Contact Percentage. [Total Contacts divided by Total Completed Calls] This figure can be calculated using many different input factors, but at its core contact percentage is a measurement of data quality. It is figured by taking the total number of contacts (specified pledges + refusals+ unspecified pledges) and dividing it by the total number of completed calls (the three contacts I just mentioned plus all the other completed calls...already pledged, deceased, do not call, remove from list, disconnected numbers, reassigned or wrong numbers, whereabouts unknown, no English, and out of country). Most programs use some combintation of the above-mentioned completed calls, so the calculation is fairly comparable for most programs. Disconnected and wrong phone numbers usually make up the largest percentage of the "other completes", helping to drag down your overall percentage and make it harder for your callers to solicit prospects. Industry average for overall contact percentage varies from 60-85%. Generally speaking, the higher the percentage is the more accurate your data will be. Many factors influence this figure, including the amount of donors vs. nondonors in your database, overall database penetration, frequency and quality of data research, callers properly coding calls, and more. But the bottom line for why contact percentage is important is this- you cannot raise money from a wrong number.
2. Participation. [Total Pledges divided by Total Contacts]. Participation is a fairly universal statistic that almost every program uses. Like a batting average, participation measures the level of effectiveness callers have when persuading prospects to give. And that's really the secret to why this number is so important- drilling down to the caller level. Low participation is a warning sign that negotiation skills may need to be worked on. Rank your callers from best to worst in this category for each segment called and identify the weakest callers for coaching and training.
1. Dollars per Completed Call. [Total Dollars divided by Total Completed Calls]. In my phonathon programs, dollars per complete is king. It's the statistic that is the most important figure I will look at when deciding whether or not the segment I am analyzing is profitable and moving in the right direction. Phonathon is essentially no different that economics or business. It's about the allocation of scarce resources and maximizing the productivity potential of the records loaded in your database. Dollars per complete is the most comprehensive statistic available because it combines the three primary measurements of productivity- participation, average pledge, and contact percentage. In other words, the rate at which your callers acquire the pledges, the size of the pledges they receive, and data quality. If you had only enough time left to complete 500 records, and you had 5,000 prospects left in your database, where would you spend the time to maximize the productivity? On one hand, you could guess based on your prior calling experience up to that point. Or, you could look with a more scientific approach across the spectrum and use dollar per complete to help form your decision. Rank all your segments from highest to lowest in dollars per complete and review where the best opportunities for raising money will be. Your most productive segments will be those with the highest figure. Lybunt areas will commonly top $50.00 per completed call while nondonors will sometimes struggle to achieve $5.00 per complete. While you need to take into consideration the contacts per hour and completion percentage for each segment before rendering a final verdict, dollars per complete generally provides you the truest indicator of performance in phonathon.
And there you have it...the Top 10 most important statistics in phonathon. Remember that there are a number of other calculations managers can and should use to measure the progress of their program. But in my opinion, these 10 are the figures that speak the loudest when it comes to productivity and efficiency, and are directly related to how effective your callers are on the phones. At its most basic level, phonathon is a business. The decisions a call center manager must make are only as effective as the numbers at their disposal.