As you meticulously craft the blueprints for your fundraising and marketing endeavors this year, it’s akin to embarking on a grand architectural project. Yet, just like a master builder scrutinizes every angle and dimension, you also need to ensure you have the right tools to measure your creations’ success. In the ever-evolving landscape of digital channels, navigating the labyrinth of metrics can feel like traversing a maze without a map.

It’s no secret that digital fundraising and marketing have become exponentially more important to fundraisers and marketers. For instance, 63% of donors prefer to give online. But “online” isn’t just one place. There are landing pages, digital ads, social media posts, blog and video content, and email campaigns — and a gift or prospect can come to you from any of them. The only way to know what fundraising and marketing programs are working is to measure your performance on each.

It’s difficult, so we want to give you a reliable map. Let’s look at the most common mistakes fundraisers and marketers make as they measure their campaigns. 

Mistake 1: No Measurement Mark

As you plan out fundraising campaigns, you must also determine what you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s more dollars, donors, gifts, reach, names, or other targets. Think beyond higher revenue. For instance, your goal might be to reactivate lapsed donors in preparation for a larger campaign you plan to launch in the future.

When you know what you want to measure, you can then put in the checks and balances to ensure that, at the end of the campaign, you can go back to see what strategies and tactics worked and which ones didn’t. 

Mistake 2: No System for Channel Attribution

Say someone sees your ad on Hulu. They Google you to learn more and click on a search ad. This takes them to a landing page, where they make a donation. So, which touchpoint led to the gift?

An omnichannel approach drives awareness and can help you reach more donors and prospects. Specifically, it ensures that your organization shows up on all the channels your constituents use. But fundraising or marketing campaigns cost a lot of money, so you must know which channels are worth the investment.  

Mistake 3: No Data Integration Across Platforms

Okay, so you’re using multiple channels to reach donors and tracking data on each one. That could mean dozens of reports to keep up with. Plus, as we mentioned, a donor could travel across several channels before they make a gift. What was the journey, and which specific touchpoints made the difference?

To evaluate your campaigns’ success and know where to spend your money next, it’s important that all these metrics sync in one place. You need a single source of truth: your customer relationship management (CRM) database or an integrated reporting platform.

However, one thing you don’t want is for your database to label revenue as “online” or “digital” and be done. Every modern database has the capability to organize data by channel. The goal is to get as granular as possible. 

Mistake 4: Web Analytics Set Up Incorrectly

You’re likely already using source tracking on direct mail pieces or email campaigns, but web analytics also serve a significant purpose. First, it’s a good backup if someone forgets to put a source code on an email or ad. You’d still be able to see the revenue and the channel.

Web analytics also deliver insights that other platforms don’t. For instance, the conversion rate on a donation form or the number of views on your landing page. In short, web analytics lets you see the whole picture.

When it comes to web analytics, use these best practices:

  • Make sure you’ve upgraded to the new Google Analytics system, GA4. If you’re still on the previous system, you’re not getting any data past July 2023.
  • Implement eCommerce tracking from your web pages to any of your forms. This will ensure you track the complete user journey.
  • Put Google Tag Manager on your webpage and any web forms. You can also use it to track pixels on your ad platforms so you can see and capture donor interactions. 

Mistake 5: Not Prepared for Changing Digital Landscape

The world of digital fundraising and marketing is ever-evolving, so your team must be prepared to keep up. You may not have control over the technical changes that platforms like Apple or Facebook make, but you have control over two key elements that can drive success.

  1. How you make your case stand out with memorable and impactful creative. It’s critical that you tell your nonprofit’s story in a unique and compelling way. Dig deep and uncover the images, stories, and connections that will set your messaging apart.
  2. How you use the first-party data in your CRM and other internal systems. It’s easier than ever to capture, store, and retrieve specific points of information that help you personalize messaging. Lean into that to keep learning more about your donors so you can continue building relationships more personally and authentically. 

Optimize Your Data Tracking with GivingDNA

Getting your measurements in order is the significant first step in ensuring your fundraising and marketing campaigns work. You can make them more effective with GivingDNA, which takes your first-party data and overlays it with third-party data. This gives you a richer look at who your constituents are, how you can segment them, and what opportunities exist within your file.

You have access to more information than you think. Let’s talk about how you can leverage your data in a meaningful way to draw more people to your cause. 

This blog is based on an episode of Fundraising Today and the Go Beyond Fundraising podcast. Listen to the full episode now.

Draw more people to your cause.