Quiz | Do you know your charity's chaos quotient?

publication date: Aug 14, 2018
author/source: Sharron Batsch

Do you know your charity's Chaos Quotient? Give yourself one chaos point for each item that applies to your charity.

Who said we need to use the database? We prefer spreadsheets and little lists!

1. Database is not being used and donations are being recorded outside the database.

2. New staff members do not use donor database because senior managers have not mandated its use.

3. Some donor gifts are manually receipted.

4. Special events are handled on spreadsheets.

5. We were unable to invite all previous guests to a special event because the lists were not recorded in the donor management software and so the information was lost.

6. We don’t record how much people spend at the event, so we don’t know who the big supporters are.

7. Documents and lists are everywhere.  Finding what you are looking for is time intensive.

8. Getting a mailing list takes days because information has not been centralized ... it's stored in word processing documents, on spreadsheets, in homemade access databases, on paper, in someone's smart phone or contact management system, even elsewhere.

9. There is no organizational history; we don't even know who past board members have been.

10. There is no accountability for recording touch points with donors, they are non-existent.

Training is a cost. Trial and error is better because it produces a creative mix of methods!

1. New staff members are not trained because senior managers don't mandate training. It is not required.

2. Staff turnover has been an issue, and no one can find any contact information on donors or community supporters.

3. The head of fund development left, and we are at a loss as to where to begin so we start again.

4. A staff member left who was really good at creating mailing lists, letters and emails. Now, no one knows how to do that.

5. Grant proposals have been written. Some were accepted, and some were declined. We can't find the status of all requests and what is still outstanding.

Controls are not something we are interested in!

1. Software updates have been left undone because no one is responsible for ensuring new versions are up to date.

2. We have donors who have given multi-year pledges and the documentation has been lost.

3. We have donors who pledged but have not paid. We don't have a follow-up policy to handle this situation, so we left it.


1. Fundraising dollars at events have decreased or not increased.

2. The ability to inform donors and the public about the charity is onerous and time consuming.

3. Donors call in and no one can find information on their gifts.

4. One of our big donors called to say they wouldn't be supporting us in the future.

5. We are in constant scramble mode, and no one is enjoying their job, morale is low, stress is high.


Give yourself 5 points for every Yes. Add your total and this is your CQ%.

• Anything over 30 suggests a problem.

• Over 50 there are definitely some issues that need addressing.

• After 50, it’s all downhill!

 Sharron Batsch is the developer of @EASE Fund Development Software and the author of From Chaos to Control, Build a High Performance Team Using Knowledge Management. She has worked with a wide variety of charities for over 25 years as both a consultant and volunteer fundraiser and event chair. Her work helps define how charities can best use the data they collect and create. She specializes in information management for the not-for-profit community.

Like this article?  Join our mailing list for more great information!

Copyright, Hilborn Stanois Inc., © 2011-Current. All rights reserved.

Free Fundraising Newsletter
Join Our Mailing List