3 Tips to NAIL Your Year End Board Report

Take these 3 motifs and apply them over the next few months. You can do this, your board will be appreciative, and your organization will grow stronger because of it.

A few months back I wrote a blog post titled, “What You Should Include in a Board Presentation (with Examples & A Free Template).” If you didn’t get a chance to read that post (or download the free template), please do. It’s time to be prepared for your board report.

Today’s article is a part deux of sorts. In August’s post I discussed what not to include in your board report, and went in depth on a few key fundraising metrics you should share with your leadership. Today let’s approach this from a different angle, how to present the report. Board members play a special role in your organizations success, and after presenting to dozens of boards over the past 3 years, I have learned some tips and tricks you can leverage.

Data, data, data

board report

Before we can talk numbers we need to talk data. Your board members are sharp — there is a reason their in a leadership position at your organization. Whether they are local philanthropists or titans of industry, you need to prepare to present to an audience that “knows their stuff,” even if they aren’t fundraising professionals.

With that in mind it’s important that you feel confident in the metrics and reports you share with them.

Board members want data. With many members coming from for-profit institutions, data is a way of life. In their day job they may have a whole team of individuals tasked with collecting, organizing, and reporting data. A savvy board member won’t have the same expectations for you in your reporting, but they will appreciate any unbiased data you can convey to them to help with decision making.

What does all this mean? It means you need to be sure of what information you are sharing with the board. Let’s use a quick example…

Let’s say you calculate your organizations year over year donor retention rate and it went up 3 basis points, from 50% to 53%. That’s a huge improvement! You may put that report at the beginning of your presentation to share with the board. But, upon further review you realize that you analyzed a data-set that included soft-credits, not one that contained only cash contributions. With this realization your story changes… “Is our donor retention rate really 50%? Did it really increase by 3 basis points?”

It all comes back to data. If you want to analyze your key metrics with soft-credits included that is a-okay. The only thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that you have to share this tidbit of information with your audience. At the beginning of your presentation clearly articulate to your board what data set you used to calculate the organization’s key fundraising metrics. So long as there is a disclaimer at the start you’re good to go.

What are some of the common donation types that inevitably skew or alter an organization’s key fundraising metrics? I’m glad you asked:

  • Bequests
  • Soft credits
  • Pledges
  • Corporate sponsorships
  • Gifts from individuals in some years, and from family foundations/trusts in others

There are more caveats to be wary of, but these are the most common I’ve come across in the past 3 years.

Be prepared for some common questions

questions to answer for the board

Yes, presenting to the board can be nerve racking, but it doesn’t need to be too daunting. Thousands of other nonprofit professionals do it every year. What does that mean for you in your position? There are a few common threads or themes you can grab on to right now.

As I discussed a few months back in my post “What You Should Include in a Board Presentation (with Examples & A Free Template),” there are templates for what you should present and how you should display it. But, there is another area of content that I have yet to write about — questions you should expect to be asked.

Board members like data (as mentioned above), and they’re smart (for the most part!), so don’t be surprised when you get bombarded with questions during your presentation. Don’t flinch. You can prepare for them.

In my 3 years of presenting to boards there are a few common questions that always seem to come up (especially if you use the template I shared in my last post on this topic).

First, you need to come prepared for those data questions. As we walked through before, it is crucial that everyone understands what dataset your metrics and reports stem from. If you are unsure what data you are using, (or if it is accurate), you shouldn’t be presenting metrics and reports. In that case, should present on how you need to invest in cleaning up the organization’s database.

After data questions come, “How does this compare to other similar organizations?” questions. You can prepare for this too. There are two benchmarks I’d recommend referring to. One is Fundraising Report Card’s Live Benchmarks. You can, and should print out this page (or have it open if there is internet connection) during the presentation. The second is the AFP’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project. Between the two, you can point your inquisitive board members in the right direction, if not answer their questions right there on the spot.

The third line of questioning I’ve come to see most often revolves around “What are we going to do next?” These questions will come from your most passionate (or nervous) board members. Members that see the numbers and recognize that strategies and tactics may need to change to grow and sustain the organization. Like before, you can prepare for these questions as well. I’d recommend (and I do this every time I present to a board), reviewing your key fundraising metrics a few days in advance of the meeting. Take a paper and pen and jot down three bullet points with strategies you think could improve your key fundraising metrics. Generally speaking, your notes will include high-level ideas like, “put in place a new donor welcome series to boost first time donor acquisition rate,” or something along those lines. Regardless of what the tactic is, you can prepare to address questions that ask you, “Where do we go from here?”

Confidence is key

confidence

The final piece of advice I’ll share with you is one that you may find on a more qualified blog or website; it is that is confidence key.

I will make no claims to be a public speaking expert, or even suggest that I am good at presenting to boards (although I do have a lot of experience and get invited back to speak with them…), but confidence has forever been one of the driving factors in presentation success for me, and it can do the same for you too.

When it comes to presenting data and reports you may feel overwhelmed, “I’m a fundraising expert, not a data scientist!” you may say. You’re right, your roll is to raise funds, not create charts and reports, but that doesn’t change the fact that your leadership will be inspired and impressed by meaningful metrics. How do you cope with this juxtaposition? You take ownership of a small number of key fundraising metrics.

data driven fundraiser book

Please, please, please don’t get overwhelmed trying to understand donor lifetime value, segmented retention rates, or even cohort donor analysis. Don’t do it. Just because there is fancy jargon (and some real benefit) to using advanced analytics doesn’t mean you need to get anxiety trying to becomes a “data sensei” in a week. No, not at all.

Read simple materials on basic metrics and gain a complete understanding of how they are calculated.

For examples, and this is a real story, when a board members asks you, “Well, that is the the average donation amount, isn’t mean donation amount really what we want to be looking at?” You can respond confidently, “You’re right! And fortunately for us average and mean or synonymous, you are looking at the mean.”

Be confident in the simple metrics you’ll be presenting and save the deep-dive into advanced analytics for after the meeting.

Applying this at your shop

Over the past few years I’ve written a lot about presenting to the board. This is with good reason. Conveying important information to those that make strategic decisions (and also hopefully fund the organization) is critical to growing a sustainable and healthy nonprofit.

With that in mind, please take these 3 motifs and apply them over the next few months. Please also consider using our live chat (down in the bottom right) to ask me any specific questions that come to mind. You can do this, your board will be appreciative, and your organization will grow stronger because of it.

You’ve got this!

Author: Zach Shefska

I oversee the Fundraising Report Card, a division of MarketSmart. The Report Card is a free tool that empowers fundraisers to make data-driven fundraising decisions. It’s pretty neat.

1 thought on “3 Tips to NAIL Your Year End Board Report”

  1. Our Lord Jesus Christ turning one bread, fish and wine to many and
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    PS:
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    TEMPLATE

    NO RAGE OR EXTORTION AND AM PIVOTING FOR VICTORY.
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    Abbreviation
    —————-
    HFD – Head Finance Department Pvt. – Operating without MGO.
    SNB – Swiss National Bank
    BUDGET – Credit Card ( Each permitted to hold USA$14.3Billion ).
    RTC – Round Table Conference.
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    ———————————————————————————

    Present temporary Address: ( Will be here till 10 June 2019 ).
    —————————————————————————————-
    From,
    Terry Pious Pereira ( S/o War Veteran ),
    Door No. 439,
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    Coimbatore, Pin Code-641045,
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    Original e-mail: snehakumar4453@gmail.com / Mob No: 00918489988124.

    To,
    The Chairman, USA.

    Sub:
    In ” ENGAGEMENT FUNDRAISING ” – For Freely Supporting the
    Poverty People Fund Program-me Which Helps Promote
    Independent Living. Functioning as like Sir Thomas Edison BULBS
    invention formula and today seen in every houses around the world.
    I am DEAF and unable to face the Audio in the Webinar. Passed for
    CFRE Exam held by Dr. Russell James. My Major Gifts depends to
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    USA$1 Million plus or minus because my DATA able to do the
    operation in any amount. Also banning Donors Tax around the world
    because every 3 Government Banks are developing through their
    incomes and not applicable to other pattern and Private Banks
    unauthorized. This considered as OSCAR AWARD WINNER DATA
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    Seeking for job as World Free Fund Director and controller of India.
    Actually in giving the Life Fixed Deposit for females poverty by
    surveying the standard of livings in every countries. VICTORY!
    ***************************************************************************

    Most Respected Sir,

    My New Innovation 2017-18 operating without any computers so more
    suitable for every females poverty. These functioning in 1 HFD Building
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    adjusted. Shortening the management due to latest Computer Technology.
    I inserting directly from the BUDGET to CREDIT CARD and typing the
    INCOME TAX NUMBER then immediate issuance. Thereon every females
    poverty will be receiving ” MONTHLY INTEREST ” for everlasting survival.
    The best date for participating is on 25th every month and to form queues
    in front of INCOME TAX OFFICE.

    Only three Gov Banks in each country are permitted and around the
    world. Whenever the BUDGET decreasing or in stealing double amount
    then ” Automatic Signal ” will shoot in every computers in the following
    Banks mentioned below:

    1) Bank of India ( BOI ),
    2) Central Bank of India ( CBI ),
    3) State Bank of India ( SBI ).

    Every poverty females aged 18 onward and 8 married should hold
    4 Identity Cards for inspection in the INCOME TAX OFFICE as
    mentioned below:

    1) Election ID,
    2) Adhaar ID,
    3) Income Tax ID,
    4) Ration ID.

    —————————————————————————————

    All have to follow the ” TWO SIMPLEST STEPS ” mentioned below:

    1) Forward all the four Identity Cards for inspection and very soon doing
    the ” Thumb Impression Test ” and automatically the passing report will
    shoot in the computer. As to my plan, the Income Tax Officer should
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    automatically will be receiving a receipt mentioning the details and will
    place it in unopened envelope to forward their expected Gov Bank. Also
    his details will be permanently stored in the Income Tax Department for
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    2) Forward the unopened envelope to their expected Gov Bank.They will
    type the Income Tax Number into the Credit Card for soon issuance
    after inserting $7000 ( Indian Rupees 32Lakhs ) from the BUDGET and
    transferring to their Saving Bank Account as Life Fixed Deposit. I have
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    should deliver one photocopy to each female. They will place all the
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    After death passing to next female kin in the same family in any age
    group means limit 8 years. If non available then pass to her husband
    and later transferring back to my SNB Account.

    —————————————————————————————-

    Following I researched three excellent function-able methods and
    selecting either one by surveying the BUDGET through the ” MONTHLY
    INTEREST ” from Swiss National Bank ( SNB ) which mentioned below:

    1) 1st Method – Functioning by Donors unification in strongest Budget
    means from USA$2Trillions for All India.Here operating
    monthly by giving Life Fixed Deposit and for Health,
    Housing and Foreign Education etc; etc; etc.

    2) 2nd ” – Functioning by qualifying and quantifying level adjustment
    in medium Budget means from USA$1Trillion for All India.
    Here operating twice or thrice a month by giving Life
    Fixed Deposit and for Health, Housing and Foreign
    Education etc; etc; etc.

    3) 3rd ” – Functioning by visiting every poverty’s houses in small
    Budget means from USA$1Million onward. Here operating
    daily as to Budget availability by giving Life Fixed Deposit
    and for Health, Housing and Foreign Education etc; etc.
    .

    I will inform to all my stewardship DONORS by sending:

    1) MONTHLY CONSUMERS SPENDING DATA SHEET.
    2) MONTHLY TEAM WORKERS SALARY SHEET.
    3) MONTHLY SWISS BANK INTEREST SHEET.

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    Trillion thanks!

    Yours most obediently,
    Terry Pious Pereira.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Sipoy Certificate.pdf

    Copy of —-.jpg

    Audiogram 25-Jul-2016 23-36-24.pdf

    20170618-214008_p4.jpg

    document.pdf

    ————————————————————————————–

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