2 min Read
June 5, 2014

Three questions to help you evaluate your campaign’s success

So…did we win?

That’s usually the first question on everyone’s minds at the end of a big campaign push. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to answer—and it’s not even the most important question.

Here are the three questions your team should discuss as you evaluate your campaign’s performance.

1. Did we achieve our objectives?

This question assumes that you’ve set clear objectives up front. Without objectives, it’s impossible to say for sure whether your campaign was a success—it’s like asking, “How long is a piece of string?”

Make sure you know at the outset what success looks like, so that you’ll know it when you see it. How many new people do you want on the list? How many dollars raised and from whom? How do you want to change people’s perceptions, and how will you know if you did?

2. Why?

It’s not enough to know whether you succeeded. If you don’t find out why, you’re only getting part of the story.

Perhaps you reached your overall fundraising goal, but only because a major donor stepped in at the last moment with a $10,000 gift. Maybe you fell short of your target registration numbers, but a major national news story caused a big distraction right as you were building momentum.

Understanding these nuances helps you decide how to proceed in the short-term, as well as how you can adapt moving forward. Which leads me to…

3. What can we learn for next time?

You worked hard to make your campaign happen—don’t let all that effort go to waste! A little bit of time reflecting and jotting down recommendations for next time will set you up to do even better in the future (and avoid repeating mistakes).

Here are a few ideas of what you might look into:

  • What tactics (email, word of mouth, social outreach, direct mail, advertising, etc.) worked the best in terms of achieving our objectives?
  • What was least effective? Why?
  • What did we spend the most time on during the campaign, and was it worth the time? 
  • How did each of our emails perform (opens, clicks, completion rates)? Why? Were there any differences by segment? 

That’s my short list—anything I’m missing? Let me know what questions you ask in your own debriefs (and what you’ve learned from them) in the comments.