An obvious fact: the web is here to stay. People engage online with their desktops, tablets and phones. In fact, the use of mobile devices to connect digitally is exploding.
Your donors are increasingly online, so how can nonprofits use this mode of communication to build better relationships with the individuals who sustain their work?
The first step is to consider what you want to achieve as an organization. In this excellent article via Top Nonprofits, some basic business goals for nonprofits are described. They include:
Number of Donors – Is the number of individuals interacting with your organization increasing or is it declining? What kind of awareness can you build to make your cause better known and attract supporters?
Donation Growth – If you were to chart the donations received, is your organization receiving funding in an upwards trend? If not, what can you do to reverse that pattern?
Donor Retention Rate – How many of your donors have been with you over a period of time? Finding new donors is more expensive than keeping existing ones. What are you doing to grow the relationships that have already been established?
Recurring Gift Percentage – Building a stream of recurring donations allows your organization to develop a budget with a strong foundation. How can you increase the number of recurring donations or the number of givers who participate on a regular basis?
Pledge Fulfillment Percentage – Having a pledge is a positive indicator of funding levels, but how many of those pledges are fulfilled? Being able to track the rate over a number of years for a historical perspective gives you an idea of the depth of commitment from your donors.
Online Gift Percentage – Digital giving is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to increase a nonprofit’s bottom line. In coming posts we’ll look at how you can support this metric with your social media efforts and online presence.
Setting up each of these metrics allows the organization to gauge how effective their fundraising efforts are and make changes to improve performance in a methodical way. It has been said that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
What are some tactical measurements you can take to use social media and digital tools as part of your overall marketing toolkit? Socialbrite recommended some of these in a recent article about social media:
Overall website or blog traffic
The amount of time and interactions on your site to improve its “stickiness” as a measure of value that readers are finding there
The number of newsletter list subscribers
Number of newsletter readers who click through to read an article or donate on your website
Followers on Facebook or Twitter for brand or cause awareness
Online registrations for participation in an event
Number of donations made via the online Donate button
The number of successful crowdsourcing campaigns for micro-projects
Search engine rankings using keywords and other SEO strategies
There are some key points to remember:
The first, most important step is to define your business goals. Once these are in place, you can begin thinking about how social media can be used to attain them and what KPIs are most meaningful.
Second, know your audience. Design communications to appeal to the demographic and backgrounds of the donors you seek. Resonating with readers increases engagement and commitment.
Check out your competition. What other nonprofits are working in your sector? What campaigns are they running on which platforms? From checking their social media presence, what can you learn to improve your own efforts?
What measurement tools and other resources do you need to gauge the results of your campaigns? How can you build a campaign with clearly defined elements that are each measurable? If you change an element in your campaign, can you measure the results to see if you achieved a better outcome? Do the results of one change determine additional changes that might improve goal achievement?
Finally, plan for the future. Any marketing professional knows that communications with an audience are ongoing and must be sustained over time to build the relationships needed to establish a strong presence.
In another post, we’ll look at some very specific KPIs for social media and consider which ones are most useful for common nonprofit business goals as they are listed above.
Jayne Dutra is a new member of the nonprofit community and is dedicated to social advocacy for underserved populations and the community at large. She believes in building public engagement to bring awareness and improve conditions for all citizens. She can contribute help with social media, digital content strategy, graphic design, grant writing or data analytics.