Assessment Process

Your fundraising efforts will accelerate when you understand your donors and activists, what they value, and how to build deep relationships with them.

We begin our work with clients by delving deeply into your online fundraising program. That usually includes audience research such as in-person or online focus groups, online surveys, and stakeholder interviews.

We then develop a custom roadmap for you to raise more money and recruit more donors and constituents by identifying priority investments and message strategies.

A potential comprehensive assessment would look like:


Analyze all aspects of your current program to

  • Develop a snapshot of where you are in terms of all the elements that lead to successful online fundraising: site traffic, list-building, acquisition, integrated solicitations and renewals, and cultivation;
  • Identify themes, messages, and stories mostly likely to succeed in fundraising;
  • Establish baselines from which to measure progress over time;
  • Identify both the quick wins and areas that need immediate attention.

This step begins with information gathering and may also include interviews with your key stakeholders.


Email survey of all donors and non-donors to gauge:

  • Brand position and differentiation. How well do donors and potential donors distinguish you from other groups?
  • Affinity. How strongly do donors feel about you? We use the Net Promoter Score as a primary affinity measure. This score has reliably correlated with giving over a range of studies.
  • Propensity to give. Do donors plan to give again? Why or why not?
  • Issues, messages, and stories. What aspects of your work and what messages and stories have the most appeal? Which arguments for support carry the most weight?
  • Engagement preferences. What kind of ongoing communications would interest donors the most?


Depending on the size of your donor pool, we will use online focus groups or phone interviews to delve deeper into the survey results and probe the “whys” beneath the survey responses.


We pull all of the research together to deliver practical, actionable recommendations such as

  • Persona development. Who does the ideal donor look like? Where can we find more like them?
  • Narrative arc and messaging. What are the key messages and storylines most likely to inspire individual donors?
  • Acquisition. What are the best options for expanding your donor base?
  • What tactical changes or investments will quickly and affordably expand your success?
  • Prospects for monthly sustainer and mid-level fundraising.
  • Recommended engagement cycle/calendar.
  • Cadence – what does the ideal outreach calendar look like, within the bounds of what is reasonable for client to execute?
  • Engagement pyramid and key performance metrics for online donors.

“When I started at WomenHeart, I knew I was taking the reins at a unique organization — but we knew very little about our members and constituents. Under the direction and guidance of Sea Change Strategies, we began an in-depth look at who these people are and why they are involved in the organization. The responses we received were illuminating and fascinating and provided the new direction we would take as an organization. Thanks to Sea Change, we have undergone a complete rebranding and developed strategies to engage and involve all of our current members while attracting new ones.”

Lisa M. Tate, Chief Executive Officer
The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

Sample Findings