The metrics that matter in digital fundraising (Guest post)

Fran Swaine, a digital marketing consultant for charities and not for profits, takes a look at why analysing metrics is so important in order to get digital fundraising right.

When it comes to digital fundraising, being able to demonstrate impact is crucial. It not only shows what’s worked and what hasn’t, but it also helps determine what actions you might take in the future. For example:

  • How do you know if an email campaign was successful?
  • How can you tell if the hours your content team spent carefully crafting beautiful words for your website was worth it?
  • How can you prove the money you spent on Facebook ads was budget well spent?

The answers to all of these questions are there for the taking, yet many charities aren’t capitalising on this opportunity.


Lack of digital skills is a big problem

A recent survey which mapped the current state of digital skills within the charity sector showed that 78% rated their ability to use, manage and analyse data as fair, low or very low.

If charity professionals don’t know how to analyse their data (or what to do with it once they have it) – then how are key digital marketing decisions being made?


Lucky dip digital

A lot of decision-making in digital fundraising still comes from ‘ideas around the table’ rather than from a data-centric approach to digital marketing.

A new digital fundraising campaign might result in someone suggesting using Facebook ads, and someone else suggesting an email campaign. Both of these might be great ideas – but without the data to back it up – it’s pot luck as to whether the campaign will be a success.

Instead, charities should be looking at past performance to drive future decisions. Has email previously had a good return on investment? What was the cost per acquisition for past Facebook ads?


A huge opportunity for digital fundraisers

The good news is that this is a huge opportunity for charities. Currently online donations account for only 7.2% of all fundraising. This is set to grow to 50% by 2020 and a huge part of this will be down to charities getting smarter with how they approach digital fundraising.

By taking a data-driven approach, charities can boost their digital fundraising and see real tangible returns on their investment.


Understanding the metrics that matter

Charity professionals can find themselves swimming in data from all of the different platforms – Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Facebook…the list is endless. Understanding which metrics are valuable and which are simply vanity metrics is invaluable and can have a huge impact on digital fundraising.

To help charities get to grips with their data, I’ll be running a semi-interactive workshop at this year’s IoF Fundraising Convention. The session will focus on what metrics actually matter in digital fundraising and will provide you with a framework to help measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing.

The IoF Fundraising Convention 2017 takes place from the 3-5 July 2017 at The Barbican. Book your place before 21 April to take advantage of the early bird rate

Photo courtesy: Pexels

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