Take the guesswork out of your decision making.
Understand if your nonprofit’s digital marketing is really making an impact with Key Performance Indicators.
How do you know your nonprofit’s Google ads are paying off? If your curated Instagram account is leading to volunteer sign-ups? If supporters are staying on your website or just viewing one page?
Without tracking how your digital marketing strategy is performing, you can’t know how to improve or where to invest next to see results. Analytics tracking takes the guesswork out of important decisions around fund allocation, investment and marketing. Accurate tracking also allows you to adapt quickly if you are heading in the wrong direction, avoiding setbacks.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the trackable factors for which you want to record data in order to work out if you are reaching your SMART goals. For example, if your SMART goal is to increase online donations by 20% year-on-year, your main KPI will be total online donation amount (per year).
There are a few digital marketing performance indicators that every nonprofit should be aware of. You can set more general KPIs for other aspects of your organisation too, such as the number of projects completed for your cause, but for the modern nonprofit, tracking your digital marketing data is vital.
Essential companion reads for this article are our Beginner’s Guide to Analytics and our Guide to Custom Analytics Dashboards for Nonprofits.
11 Important Digital Marketing KPIs
1. Total online donation amount
This is the big one. It depends upon your main goal, but it is very likely your nonprofit will want to track the total amount of donation funding coming into your accounts.
You can track how the numbers compare to previous months, quarters or years and calculate the rate at which these are (hopefully) growing. This gives you an overall idea of the current state of your nonprofit, and how much you are going to be able to pour into your causes.
2. Total online volunteer sign-ups
Alongside their donation amount, many nonprofits will also want to track whether they are seeing an increase in volunteer sign-ups through their website (or other platforms). As above, you can see how these numbers are growing compared to different time periods, and calculate the percentage increase. This gives you an overall idea if you are hitting your main goals or whether you need to ramp up, or rethink, your marketing strategy.
3. Marketing spend per conversion
This is a central KPI to understanding how effective your digital marketing actually is. You might be seeing great results in that your overall numbers are growing, and you are reaching your targets, but if you are having to spend huge amounts of money to do this, then you aren’t actually raising any more money for your causes.
Marketing spend per donation or per volunteer tells you how much money you have to spend in order to gain a volunteer or a donation. It’s simply worked out by dividing your marketing cost by your number of donations, volunteer sign-ups or other goal conversions.
4. Website traffic
Another high-level data set to track is your overall number of website visitors. This will give you a good idea of how effective the website is (generally) in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and if people are interested in your cause.
A low website view rate might not be a sign of a ‘bad’ website, but it might be a sign that it is not correctly designed for SEO, or that your advertising is not up to scratch. A low rate means that supporters can’t find you and/or that your digital marketing does not make them want to visit your website. If you are using data analytics and seeing low web traffic numbers despite your digital marketing efforts, book a consultation with us to see if we can work out the problem.
5. Click-through rates (CTRs)
Another important digital marketing KPI is your click-through rates (CTRs) for things like ads, organic search results or referral sites. These will help you understand more about your web traffic (for example, poor ad performance might be the cause of reduced web traffic rates) and your marketing spend (for example, high spend rates might be caused by pricey but ineffective ads).
CTRs from organic search results are particularly important, as they let you know how your organic SEO is performing and whether you need to adapt your content top make it more attractive to search bots. Both your paid and organic marketing should be optimised to be as effective as possible – don’t rely on one or the other.
6. Number of social media followers by platform
As we’ve discussed in our Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Nonprofits, social media can be an amazing platform for both outreach and to find new donors. Knowing how far your reach stretches, and what rate this is increasing, is key to optimising your performance.
Understanding where you are seeing high amounts of followers gives you a good idea as to who your most engaged target audiences are and what kind of content they like to see (as certain platforms use only certain content, like YouTube). As usual, it also allows you to see underperforming areas and discuss how your strategy on these platforms can be improved.
However, follower number doesn’t necessarily equate to more reach or to more donations. Remember that many people still see your posts and become aware of your nonprofit, without following you. This might even lead them to visit the site and donate, which wouldn’t be represented by the follower number. So it’s important to track your engagement and impressions (views) on posts, too.
7. Conversions by referral channel
This means analysing what percentage, amount, or number of donations or sign-ups come from each different online platform, such as email links, social media platforms or Google ads. This will reveal the real drivers of your donation or sign-up amounts and which are overall being the most effective at driving your growth.
Seeing which channels are underperforming allows you to look more closely at their content and work out what needs to be improved, whereas seeing which channels are performing really well might tell you where your most supportive audiences are or guide you invest more in these digital marketing areas.
If you know which channels are your most effective converters, it makes it easier to plan how you are going to hit your targets. For example, if you know that Facebook gets you the most volunteer sign-ups, and you are not currently meeting your volunteer targets, you’ll know that a Facebook ad will get you the results you need.
8. Website bounce rate
Your website bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your site after only viewing one page. It allows you to see where you are losing out if your website traffic and referral rate for ads, social media and email are okay, but your conversions (donations and sign-ups) are low.
If you have a high bounce rate, it’s an indication that users haven’t found what they are looking for. You can try to reduce this by making the referral content more closely matched to the website content so that users know better what to expect (for example, by changing your ads). You can also try to encourage more conversions by making your navigation more user-friendly, and using more calls to action (CTAs).
9. Email success rates
Tracking the success of your email marketing might mean tracking several different KPIs, such as email open rate, email click-through rate and subscriber numbers.
Email open rate is a good indicator of the quality of your subscriber list and the interest in your brand, as people who open the emails are likely to be invested in your cause. A decent open rate also indicates that your emails provide value to your supporters, which is great. Email CTR is a good indicator of the quality of your email content, and, again, of your email subscriber list. You need both interested and relevant subscribers as well as good email content in order to actually drive progress.
If you are seeing a high number of subscribers but low interest in your email content, you might want to clean up your email list or add a double opt-in when people subscribe to make sure that everyone is actually interested. You’ll also need to review your email content and check it is interesting or valuable to your subscribers.
10. Online donor retention rates
How many of your donors are repeat or even regular donors? Not only do high repeat donor rates usually boost your overall donation amount – as repeat donors will overall contribute a lot more to your cause – they also indicate that supporters are forming a connection with your nonprofit.
If your donor retention rates are low, tweak your digital marketing to foster more personal connections with your supporters. Post one-off donation thank yous, small gifts or social media interactions are a really great way to do this. Share uplifting stories of your successful projects to help supporters feel connected to your ongoing work. Also, you may simply want to add a subscription or repeat donation option to your donation system or make it more prominent.
11. Social media impression and engagement rates
One final performance indicator that nonprofits should use is social media impression and engagement rates. This will probably include tracking the number of impressions and number of engagements, but you could also see engagements as a percentage of impressions or engagements as a percentage of follower counts.
This is essential alongside the follower count KPI because a high follower count is no good if those followers aren’t active supporters. To build a personal connection with your supporters on social media, they need to be engaged and reactive to your posts, not just viewing them passively.
If you’re seeing a high impression rate but little engagement (especially more meaningful engagement, like commenting) then it’s an indicator of poor quality social media content.
How do I track KPIs?
KPIs are tracked through an analytics platform which gathers all your data. That said, analytics software can sometimes not be very user-friendly as it just presents your data sets in ugly tables of numbers and isn’t easy to digest.
That’s why, if you’re actually looking to monitor KPIs, you’ll want to integrate an easy-to-understand, visual dashboard.
Have a look at our easy to use analytics dashboards, customised to your goals and chosen KPIs, so that you can use data to improve your decisions. If you are ready to grow your nonprofit with digital marketing and analytics tracking, schedule a free consultation with us to discuss how we can help.
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