Measuring Online Fundraising

When it comes to website data, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the deluge of data that’s readily accessible.  Measuring your online fundraising is no exception.  It’s important to hone in on what truly matters to your nonprofit.

But what is it that really matters?  And how can you boost overall fundraising?

Here we go.

Primary Metric: Total Revenue from Online Donations

Whenever you’re talking about tracking online fundraising, remember one thing:

Everything should boost total revenue from online donations.

That’s the bottom line.  If you get a ton of traffic to your donation page, but you don’t ultimately raise more money through donations, those visits aren’t helping your nonprofit.

Secondary Metrics to Support Online Fundraising

That being said, there are plenty of secondary metrics that can support your online fundraising.  But remember, the following metrics don’t matter in their own right.  They’re only worth measuring because they can have an impact on total revenue from online donations.  They help tell the story behind your data and show ways to improve your online fundraising.

Before diving in, it’s worth noting that some require a bit of customization or setting up within your analytics tool.  But many analytics tools out there should allow you to see variations on the following metrics.

1. Landing pages that lead to the most donations

A landing page is the page a visitor lands on when they first come to your website.  If you’ve set up your analytics tool to track website goals, you should be able to only view traffic from those visitors that ultimately make a donation.

What pages do visitors who make donations tend to land on?  Are any landing pages producing a larger number of donors than others?

Take what’s working on your most successful landing pages and translate it to other pages.  Doing so could help lead to more donations.

2. Average value of each of your landing pages

On a similar note, you can calculate the average value of each of your landing pages.  Some pages will simply be worth more to your nonprofit than other pages.

Which pages are leading to the most total dollars in online donations?  Are any pages leading to significantly larger donations than other pages?

3. Traffic sources that lead to the most donations

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?

4. Average value of a visitor from each traffic source

Sticking with traffic sources, take a look at how much the average visitor from each traffic source is worth in terms of dollars donated.

Are visitors from one source worth a lot more than visitors from another source?  What can you do to drive more traffic from the more valuable sources?  What can you do to drive up the average value of a visitor from each traffic source?

5. Search phrases that produce the most donors

Focus in a bit on traffic from organic search to see what phrases donors are typing into search engines.  This way you’ll be able to see phrases that are working well for your nonprofit.  You can also look for any glaring absences to identify phrases you should target moving forward.

For instance, maybe most of your donors are typing in the name of your organization.  But perhaps you aren’t getting many donations from phrases related to your mission or your services.  It may be time to think of how you can better engage potential donors looking for an organization like you without necessarily looking for you by name.

6. Popular pages prior to making a donation

What pages are visitors looking at right before they decide to make a donation on your website?  You may spot a few key pages that are resonating with potential donors and convincing them to take action.

How can you drive more traffic to these key pages that are already performing well?  And how can you translate what’s working well on these pages to your other pages that aren’t working as well right now?

7. Pages with the highest exit rates

Pages with high exit rates show which pages are driving visitors off your website.  The exit page is the page a visitor views just before leaving your site.

Some pages will have a high exit rate (like a “Thank You for Donating” page) since it signifies the end of a visitor’s journey on your site.  But others may surprise you.

Take a look at those pages with high exit rates to see if there’s anything that could potentially confuse or frustrate your visitors.  Is there anything you can change to bring your exit rate down?  After you make changes to a page, do you notice a drop in your exit rate for that page?

8. Abandonment rate on your donation process

In many analytics tools, you can actually see the number of people that start your donation process but don’t finish it.  You may even be able to see which step in the process they’re on when they give up.

If you notice a high number of abandoners at a specific point in the process, perhaps they’re confused or frustrated by the information you’re asking for.  Make some changes and see if you can drive the abandonment rate down.

Remember, all of these secondary metrics only matter if they support your total revenue from online donations.  Make changes to your website and see how it impacts your online fundraising.  And then come back and tell us all about it.

What metrics do you use to measure your nonprofit’s online fundraising?  Are there any you’ve found to be particularly helpful?  Or any above you think don’t actually matter all that much to your organization?  I’d love to hear from all you fundraisers (and data enthusiasts) out there.

Related Reads

Nonprofit Website Analytics: Measuring What Matters

Website Data Most Nonprofits Should Be Tracking

Measuring “Website Success” for Big Time Impact

Using Advanced Segments in Google Analytics

Using the Landing Pages Report in Google Analytics

Image courtesy of Ken Teegardin, Flickr

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David Hartstein
David Hartstein is the storyteller and measurement guy at Wired Impact where he routinely reads and writes about nonprofits and web geekery. He used to teach elementary school and often walks around barefoot. You can catch up with David on Twitter at @davharts.

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