Nonprofit Marketing Metrics That Matter Most

communication strategy digital marketing email marketing marketing strategy marketing tools social media May 19, 2022

How To Know When Your Nonprofit Marketing is Working

Today we venture into the world of marketing metrics.

As always, it is not enough to simply throw messages out into the wind and hope for the best. It is vital to take a step back and think about how you measure whether your messaging and your outreach is getting you the awareness and support your nonprofit deserves. 

So how do you know if your marketing efforts are really working - garnering volunteers, spreading your message, and securing donations. In the nonprofit space, there are three main indicators of marketing success: in a phrase, “The Three T’s”: Time, Talent, and Treasure.

We at Cindy May Marketing are here to address those three T’s, and how the correct metrics can provide proof of real success, by acknowledging the most effective results/outcomes.


The Three T’s - Time, Talent, and Treasure

Time - Do people volunteer

People choose to volunteer for a number of reasons - to assist those in need, to give back to the community, to make a difference, to develop new skills, to gain experience, and more.

There are many, it seems, who wish to give their time in a useful, beneficial, and worthy way, to a cause that is not only positive but that requires their specific talents. The more relevant the mission, the more fervent the assistance. As a nonprofit leader, a significant portion of your marketing efforts needs to be geared not just toward finding volunteers, but finding the RIGHT volunteers for your organization.

That’s why this is a major indicator of your marketing success - reaching the right audience with your message, so you can guide them to help you make the change you wish to see in the world.


Talent - Do people advocate

On top of volunteer work, finding advocates to help you spread the word - whether it be by sharing your posts on social media, signing petitions, or even going so far as writing to their Congresspeople - is a key indicator of nonprofit marketing success.

Spreading awareness and finding support is a key part of your marketing campaigns, be they through emails, social media, or physical flyers/brochures.


Treasure - Do people donate

And finally, the most obvious and objective of nonprofit marketing campaign success lies in donations and financial support. Are you garnering new donors? Are you retaining previous donors? Are you securing gifts and converting casual viewers into active supporters?

This especially is where marketing analytics come into play. Most donations will likely come via your website - fortunately there are a number of tools available to keep track of success in this regard.



The Nonprofit Marketing Metrics that Matter

It is important to note - not all data is equal in its usefulness to you. That’s why today we’re focusing on the metrics that matter - the ones that you can actually DO something about. 

These metrics break into three main categories:

  • Your website
  • Your emails
  • Your social media platforms


Your Website

In most cases your website is the base of your digital operations. It’s where you have your donation page, where you tell your story most fully, where you give people the opportunity to learn about you and engage with you - whether by donating, volunteering, or simply signing up for a newsletter. It’s where you connect. 

So to begin, take a look at your Google Analytics. It’s free, and it will give you the insights you need for your most vital website metrics, providing a baseline so you can set goals and future measurements for improvements.

Google Analytics can let you know where your visitors are coming from. Here are some of the ones you want to pay attention to:

  • Organic search - these are folks who find you because they entered a phrase on a search engine (like Google, but it can be other search engines too) and your website popped up.
    If you’re seeing low organic numbers, it might be because your website doesn’t have key terms that individuals are searching for, or because the search engine is having a hard time “finding” your site because it isn’t optimized.  
  • Referral Traffic - That’s when people are directed to YOUR site through another website. This is also referred to as “backlinks.”
    When you look at this number, see what external sites are driving the most traffic to your site. And you can also look at how long these visitors are staying on the page they land on. If that page has a call to action like perhaps a donate button, or a volunteer or newsletter sign up form - you can measure if they “convert” and do what you’ve asked them to do.
    If not, this gives you the insight you need to change things up - maybe you reframe that call to action message or add a different image to it or even place it somewhere else - at the top of the page or on the side bar.


  • Social Media Traffic - What social media platforms are driving visitors to your site - and are those visitors taking the action(s) you are asking of them. If, say, your Facebook posts are indeed converting, but your Tweets aren’t moving the needle, that will give you guidance on what platforms you should be spending your time on for the most effective results


To top it all off, Google Analytics will not only talk about where your audience is coming from, but where that audience goes once they land on your website. Check which pages are the most popular, and optimize them.


Your Email Communication

Email continues to be one of the most valuable channels for nonprofit outreach and engagement. And the terrific thing is that most e-communication platforms have analytical tools built right into the program, so you don’t have to hunt for an outside solution to get the metrics you need. 

Here are some email metrics to consider:

  • Your Open Rates - You can’t tell your story or get engagement going if your subscribers aren’t opening your emails.
  • Your Click-Through Rates - these help show engagement levels. Are they opening up the links to your pages - whether to your blog, your donation page, or your petition.

  • Your Email Conversion Rates - As you work to turn email recipients into donors, volunteers or advocates, these will be your guide. And if you see a gap between engagement and conversion - for instance, they click on the Donate Here button on your email, but then never fill out the form - that’s how you know to go back and optimize your landing pages.


Your Social Media Presence

Given the broad spectrum of platforms, the metrics here will help you avoid guesswork and make informed decisions. Look at the likes, shares, and comments your posts create on Facebook, or the number of retweets of your posts on Twitter, or the profile visits from your Instagram posts. These are the types of insights you can gather from each platform. 

Oh, and one last word on social media - remember it’s a social platform, so, keep it social. It’s about relationships, not promotion. Your followers will appreciate the interaction and information, so long as it’s not “sales-y.”


More Metrics

For a deeper look into nonprofit metrics that matter, listen to the full podcast episode, which offers even more insight into this very topic.

And, if you’d like more personalized advice in regards to your marketing metrics - or you need help with your digital marketing in general - please do not hesitate to reach out. You are invited to book a call with me, for a free 30-minute session to go over your digital marketing needs. 


Thanks for reading, and happy marketing!