Read-A-Thon’s take a lot of work and you should know if your hard work is paying off by having some metrics (i.e. key performance indicators or KPIs) that you can look to that show if your fundraiser was a success. It is up to you and your school to determine which metrics are most important to you, but here are a few KPIs that can help get you started:
Percentage of students that signed up
If you are using ForOurSchool.org, or another Read-A-Thon management platform that offers logins for the students, you can look at the percentage of students that created an account and compare that to the total number of students in your school. While you want this percentage to be as high as possible, a “good” percentage will vary from school to school (a common theme among most KPIs). If you have held Read-A-Thons in the past, you can use that as a baseline. Otherwise, you can compare your Read-A-Thon to other fundraising events you’ve held that require student participation. This KPI shows the overall awareness of the event.
Percentage of students that signed up that recorded at least one reading session
Compare the number of students that recorded one or more reading session to the subset of students that created a Read-A-Thon login. These are considered the “active” students. This KPI shows the effectiveness of marketing of prizes or other benefits of event.
DID YOU KNOW? In ForOurSchool.org, you can compare classes by the percentage of active students
Standard deviation of percentage of each class that sign up
Standard deviation can be tricky, but it is very useful in determining how far some classes strayed from the average. As a result, you likely want this number to be as low as possible. Here are the steps to calculating this KPI:
- Calculate the percentage of students in each class that signed up for a Read-A-Thon account
- Find the average percentage
- For each class, calculate the difference between its percentage and the average percentage from Step 2 and then square that value
- Sum up all the values in Step 3
- Divide the sum total from Step 4 by the total number of classes
- Calculate the square root of the value from Step 5
This KPI shows the consistency of your marketing efforts.
This is likely the KPI that you have always looked at and get asked about most frequently, and for good reason. The Read-A-Thon is a school fundraiser and so its goal is to raise funds for your school and so your total amount raised is likely the ultimate barometer of success. This KPI shows the overall success of your fundraiser.
Average donation amount
One way to increase the total amount of money raised is to increase the average donation amount (another way to is to increase the total number of donations and yet another way is to solicit money from sources other than donations, such as sponsorships). If you find that your average donation amount is lower than you expected, you can try setting a higher anchor donation amount on your donation forms (e.g. set the default donation to $100 rather than $50). This KPI shows the effectiveness of your donation pages.
THAT’S INTERESTING: ForOurSchool.org donation pages include a section for school sponsors
Percentage of students that signed up that received at least 1 donation
If your school raised $1,000,000, but it all came from 1 student, would that be a success? Yes, absolutely! But… you also probably could have done better. If a student receives a donation, they are more likely to want to reach out for more donations and they also may feel motivated to read more. This KPI shows the awareness of how the proceeds will benefit the students and the school.
Percentage of parents that donated to students
Parents are likely being asked to make donations in support of their school continuously throughout the school year, but requesting a small donation at the time the student signs up could help build momentum for future donations. That being said, Read-A-Thons can be a great opportunity to reach out to grandparents and other family members, so the focus should still be on them. This KPI shows the effectiveness of marketing of benefits of parents supporting students.
Percentage of students that donated themselves
If a student makes a donation in support of themselves, they will be more invested in the Read-A-Thon and likely take more provide in their involvement. This KPI shows the effectiveness of marketing of benefits of students supporting themselves.
Total reading time
Along with total donation time, this is the most commonly used KPI. All KPIs related to reading time can be complicated since students have so many conflicting priorities, but total reading time can still be useful because it can indicate the priority that students place on participating in the event. This KPI shows the overall success of the event.
Average reading time
You will likely see large standard deviations in the reading time by student since some students naturally enjoy reading more than others, but the average reading time along with the standard deviation may help determine if students are putting too much (or too little) focus on the event. This KPI shows the importance of the event relative to other priorities.
Standard deviation of total daily reading time
You can expect the total daily reading time to peak at the beginning and the end of the event along with the end of each week if you are doing weekly prizes; however, if the reading time dips too much in the middle of the week or at the last week of the event, that may indicate that event is either too long or that students are forgetting about it. This KPI shows the consistency of the messaging about the Read-A-Thon and effectiveness of the length of the event.
Number of solicitation messages sent
It can be difficult to track the total number of solicitation messages, since your Read-A-Thon platform may not facilitate the direct outreach of messages, and even if it does, students can still contact friends and family in other ways. But, if you are able to track even a subset of the solicitation messages, this can be a critical KPI since the number of messages sent is directly correlated with the number of donations received. This KPI shows the effectiveness of your marketing of benefits of sending solicitation messages and the ease of use of your Read-A-Thon platform’s ability to send messages.
MORE TO KNOW: ForOurSchool.org provides email templates that students can use when soliciting donations
Percentage of students that sent 1 or more solicitation messages
Similarly, if you can inspire a student to send 1 solicitation message, they will be more likely to send a 2nd, so do what you can to encourage students to send that 1st solicitation as soon they can (even before the fundraiser begins). This KPI shows the effectiveness of your marketing of benefits of sending solicitation messages.
Number of feedback messages received
A good rule of thumb is that for every 1 person that sends a message of feedback, 10 more people remained silent, but have similar sentiments, so the more feedback you can solicit, the better understanding you will have of the sentiment of the event. Feedback should come from all sources – students, parents, administrators, donors, and sponsors – so you should actively solicit it and have a way to track and record it. This KPI shows the availability of feedback form and effectiveness of your feedback solicitation.
Percentage of feedback messages received that are negative
Few people like receiving critical feedback, but it can be the best way to identify the areas that need improvement. Hopefully, over time, you will receive more positive feedback than negative, but negative feedback should be encouraged. This KPI shows the overall success of the event.