top of page

Outcomes-Minded Fundraising

How does your nonprofit plan your fundraising efforts? Many organizations take what they have previously raised and add a modest increase while others start with an ambitious goal. What if you tried a third method and used a common grants approach to your fundraising?

Outputs Vs. Outcomes

We do a lot of meaningful grant work for our clients. We help them understand the difference between outputs and outcomes and how to plan for successful grant applications. By starting with the end goal or outcomes, then you plan your fundraising work based on your teams’ size and available resources.

Output is the work you are doing.

  • Examples are number of people served, number of trainings, or number of meals served

  • Outputs do not measure the change in behavior or knowledge as a result of a grant’s activities.

  • For tracking fundraising, this could be the number of visits, number of direct mail pieces sent, or number of grant applications submitted

Outcomes record the changes in behavior or knowledge that occur as a result of your program.

  • Outcomes are the differences made due to your outputs.

  • Examples are a decrease in homeless population or an increase in reading levels

  • For fundraising, this is the results of your previous outputs or activities so you might expect a 10% increase in your donor retention rates or a 20% increase in new donors

Donor Expectations

Beyond outcomes for your fundraising, donors are increasingly expecting outcomes for your organization’s work. They want to know more than the number of units you are serving.

Dr. Adrian Sargeant’s research on donor retention and loyalty shows today’s donors want to know the impact of their support and how their dollars will be making a difference in their communities.

Much like business cater to customer satisfaction, nonprofits must also be mindful of donor loyalty. Be focused on the results, so the outcomes will guide your fundraising as well as your organization’s work.


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page