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Which Nonprofit Metrics Matter the Most?

Today, fundraisers and advocacy groups are not only looking to measure the outcomes of their online efforts (donations made, supporters acquired, petitions signed) they are looking to use that data to better target donors, launch new initiatives, show impact, and repeat successes.

Finding the right metrics that accomplish all these things can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s easier to think about things in terms of your supporter’s journey – the path one individual takes when engaging with your organization.

To understand it best, start by breaking the journey down into three parts that can act as a foundation for finding the metrics that matter the most to your organization:

Acquisition, Behavior and Outcomes/Conversions are your foundation.

ACQUISITION: How Are Supporters Getting to Your Site

Consider your initial meeting. How are supporters finding you? Were they Googling terms related to your cause? Did a friend forward them one of your emails? Perhaps they were invited to one of your events on Facebook? This information is critical to setting the right tone and engaging that supporter in a way that is most relevant and comfortable to them.

These are not only the new people “on your list” or more specifically, in your database, but this can also include any website visitor who has not yet made a donation or completed an action.

Investigate all possible routes: Organic – did they somehow use a search engine to eventually arrive at your website; Direct – maybe they’ve been to your website before and are using a bookmark; Social – did they click on a post you shared via social media; or perhaps you’re running a campaign via Google AdWords and acquiring supporters via Paid Search.

How Are Supporters Getting to Your Site?

BEHAVIOR: What Are They Doing Once They Are There

This is often where people get stuck when analyzing their data, because there’s a wealth of information to discover about how your supporters are interacting with your website.

Understanding how supporters are using your website is critical because it can tell you a lot about what is important to them. Which pages attract the most/least visitors? How did they get there? Where do they go next? Keep your results to no more than 10 to reign in your data collection.

What Are They Doing Once They Are There

OUTCOMES/CONVERSIONS: What Are they Doing that’s Valuable

What are the most important things someone can do on your website: Donate? Complete an advocacy action? Subscribe to a newsletter? Register for an event? In this stage of the supporter journey, you can discover whether supporters are doing the things that align well with your organization’s goals.

“Outcomes” are a good way to think about this stage, but an easier way to track these metrics is by looking at your conversions. The best way to measure this? Tracking your supporter’s actions with forms.

Forms are essential goal posts along your supporters’ journey indicating that they’ve reached some kind of milestone. It’s going to be really difficult to gauge supporter interest or chart the overall journey if you don’t have a few forms (donation, action, sign up, etc) on your site.

What Are They Doing that's Valuable

Now you can begin putting pieces of the puzzle together: Which forms are leading to the highest conversions? What behavior led to it? And of course, how can you replicate it to acquire new supporters?

Putting the pieces together.

Topics: Supporter Management Strategy