With the ease of instantaneous feedback, and the convenience of communicating with mass audiences with a single click of the mouse, the Internet has become an important tool for fundraisers at nonprofit organizations. Online fundraising can be applied at every level, from smaller peer-to-peer efforts, to larger scale campaigns, and even major gift solicitations. With such a crucial tool, it becomes necessary to make sure you’re measuring results effectively and applying what you learn to future endeavors. Measuring results of a fundraising effort involves much more than adding up dollars and cents, however. Let’s take a look at some of the metrics you should be using to determine the success of your online fundraising.

fundraising measurementCertainly, your biggest overall measurement will be your financial results. With a particularly successful campaign, you’ll want to begin with your website analytics. How are online donors finding your page? Performing a basic analytical report on your traffic sources, and determining which portals bear the most online donation fruit is a great place to begin.

According to a on Wired Impact, using Google Analytics to determine how donors are finding your website can provide you with valuable information to guide your future online fundraising activities. Tracking information on click-throughs that resulted in donations on your website can help inform your messaging and audience targeting that can yield improved fundraising results.

“Analyzing your traffic by source can lead to some very interesting insights.  Traffic sources you’ll likely want to check out include:

  • Organic search (someone using a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing to find you)
  • Paid search (if you’re running ads through something like a Google Grant)
  • Links from other websites leading into your website (called referral traffic)
  • Social media (also referral traffic)
  • Your email newsletter
  • Direct traffic (people that type your URL into their browser or click a bookmark they’ve saved)

Which traffic sources are producing the most donations on your website?  What can you do to drive up the number of donations from sources that aren’t performing as well?  How can you put more resources into the sources that are driving the most donations?”

Among this list, one of the easiest places to focus effort is on search phrases. Doing some simple SEO can improve your results on the spontaneous donations coming through from people who find your site via search engines like Google and Bing.  Assess the keywords users are entering to find your site, and the pages they land on from those searches. From there, you can try to focus your communications messaging, from outreach to web content, on the topics from those pages to attract a larger audience.

If you’re noticing solid traffic referrals from your email newsletter or other communications whose primary purpose isn’t fundraising, be sure to examine that messaging as well—what themes were you focusing on that resulted in click-throughs, and donations? Perhaps focus on those same themes in future fundraising communications. Additionally, use click-through information to segment your newsletter audience, flagging those who donated from links included in newsletters for future fundraising targeting.

Are there any metrics you’re tracking for your online fundraising? How are you using the information to improve fundraising performance in future campaigns? Let us know in the comments!