Why measure Supporter Engagement?

watercolour style abstract of supporters arm in arm

Why measure Supporter Engagement?

Last month we launched our Engagement Scorecard and described the four dimensions that drive the overall score. So why do we think this is so important?

Tracking engagement will help you understand areas of strength and weakness across your supporter base and rank donors on their levels of engagement across multiple factors. Knowing who your most engaged supporters are will help you steward them better to retain and deepen their support, whilst identifying pockets of your base that are not engaging can help you instigate remedial action to improve their engagement by testing other ways to talk to them.

Furthermore, breaking this down in to the four component dimensions will show you what it is that is driving, or not driving, their engagement and which areas you need to focus on.


Tenure measures the length of their engagement, ie the time between their first and last interactions. Ideally you want to retain your supporters and keep them giving for as long as possible as you no doubt spent a lot of time and money to recruit them and retention is one of the key drivers of Lifetime Value. Understanding how tenure varies for key channels and products will show you where you have holes in your leaky bucket and review your programme to either change investment away from this areas, or build strategies to lengthen their tenure.


Diversity looks at the range of interactions of supporters and highlights where individuals might be engaging in multiple different ways. This includes giving to different products or via different channels, or volunteering as well as giving. Supporters who engage across different touch points tend to build more affinity towards the organisation and so go on to give more and give for longer. Identifying those who only engage in one way can help you plan and target your cross-sell campaigns to better effect.


Frequency includes the number of interactions a person has – whether financial or non-financial. Understanding whether somebody is engaging with you on a regular basis versus those that give occasionally will help you understand how and when to talk to people. And monitoring second gift rates is vital in ensuring you are doing all you can to get supporters over the hurdle of giving again after their initial engagement and starting them on a deeper and more valuable relationship with the charity.


Value is a measure of the strength of those interactions, most typically a financial amount but could also be a measure of time or voice. This is the most commonly tracked measure of engagement, and often the ultimate aim, but many organisations still fail to evaluate this from an individual perspective. Metrics such as lifetime value are vital to ensure you understand your most valuable products and channels and so optimise your investment for maximum effectiveness.

Tracking changes in the average scores will help you evaluate the effect of your communications and stewardship programmes. For example, do you see an improvement in tenure by implementing a welcome programme? Or is your diversity score improving by offering more cross sell opportunities? Ultimately each action you take should be trying to improve engagement to a target audience which will improve their score, and therefore your overall average score. By improving one of the four dimensions you increase engagement which will lead to better lifetime value and also the potential for future legacies.

Charities can use the engagement score and the four dimensions to segment their supporters into groups of common behaviours. These segments can then be used to design strategies to plan supporter journeys and talk to them in appropriate ways.

Get in touch to chat over how we can help or advise you on measuring your Supporter Engagement performance.