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Readiness Explained

Calculator vs. Questionnaire

First we will examine the questions the calculator asked you, and your responses to them, so it will be a good idea to download our Readiness Questionnaire document. It’s basically just the calculator in the form of a questionnaire. You can print it out and hold it in your hand, make notes on it, share it with others, cross things out, get messy, etc. And eventually you’ll want to do all these things because you’re going to be using it a lot.

Download the file and print out a few copies now.

Identifying Goals

A key feature of the Readiness Calculator you just used, and the Questionnaire you just downloaded, is that they function as diagnostic tools.

How? Your aggregate score is made up of the numerical answers you gave to specific questions. Look first at those questions for which you scored lowest. That’s where your organization needs work. That’s where you start making improvements.

By the way, if you got nothing but high scores, our advice is: look again. These Readiness numbers are only as accurate as your own self-reporting, and every fundraiser should remember to distrust any evidence that seems to say, “You don’t have any work to do!

More Solid Numbers

How do you make sure your Readiness scores are solid? Simple – just get more people in your nonprofit to answer the Questionnaire.

Then you can average the aggregate (overall) scores. This “spreads out” individual inaccuracies and makes them insignificant.

Also:

  • You can average the scores for individual Questionnaire questions for the same effect. You may find this helpful as we progress to the detail level (see “Let’s Break It Down”).
  • You can give greater weight to the answers given to specific questions by your colleagues in specific departments. For example, when someone from your Finance Department gives you an answer to Question #6 about financial stability, you can give their answer greater weight because that’s their field. Similarly, you can give greater weight to the answers you get from members of the Board about how interested they themselves are in planned giving (Question #5)!

We know you’re a fundraiser, not a statistician. And you don’t have to be a numbers expert to get plenty of useful Readiness information out of the Questionnaire.

Sometimes keeping it simple is best. That’s up to you.

Let’s Break it Down

The next section opens up a vast learning opportunity by explaining what’s behind these questions. You’ll also find Reinforcement Resources for each question. These will lead you to even more helpful online content addressing these issues.

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