Salsa Blog

What You Need to Know about Scoring and Nonprofit Engagement

What is Scoring?

In the world of nonprofit engagement, scoring isn’t about winning (like a March Madness championship). It’s about measuring a supporter’s contributions to your organization.

You might think that a supporter who makes a financial contribution is more valuable than someone who doesn’t, but how do you compare that supporter with those who are willing to volunteer many hours of their time to set up an event or someone who repeatedly signs your petitions?

That’s where scoring comes in. Scoring is a tool that assigns all supporters a numerical value based on their level of engagement and across all types of activities -- all the actions they’ve taken, all the events they’ve participated in, all donations they’ve made… everything! In other words, it’s a single scale that allows you to easily compare apples with oranges. 

And scoring doesn’t just spit out a number to rate each of your activists. The real beauty of scoring in Salsa is that it guides you towards better list segmentation, so you can group your biggest donors or your newest/most active supporters and target communications based on how they’ve engaged with your work in the past. With more targeted communications, you can boost engagement rates and improve your relationships by offering supporters a more personalized experience.

Ready to try for yourself? 
Watch our training on Scoring in Salsa. But to get you started - here are some terms you’ll stumble across when setting up scoring in Salsa: 

Score or scoring algorithm - A single metric (point value) for each of your supporters
Object - The name of the database table the scoring entry will examine
Multiplier - Number of points each supporter gets for each entry he or she has taken
Half-life - A metric that answers the question, “After how many days will the initial scoring award have dwindled to half it’s original value?”
Minimum - The lowest possible value a scoring entry can have- could be a 0, 0.1, etc. Expiration - The date at which the point value drops to your minimum

And keep in mind - scoring uses three main variables:

1. A table specifying the type of activity to award points upon.

2. A multiplier specifying the number of points to award a supporter for each such instance, e.g., 5 to give five points per activity.

3. Optionally, an expiration specifying the number of days after which an activity no longer counts towards the score, e.g. 365 to score only activities within the past year.

Cheat Sheet:
You can use these variables to look for your activists (i.e. those who’ve taken action on your website) like this:


Scoring in Salsa


or for your donors - see here:


Scoring in Salsa


or for the people who really engage with your emails, check this out:


Scoring in Salsa


Words of Wisdom

Remember: you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Scoring is completely free and requires no maintenance, so it’s zero risk and all upside. Seriously, if you’re already using Salsa, then there’s NO reason not to give it a try!

Still need more guidance? Watch our in-depth training on how to set up scoring in Salsa.

Topics: Strategy