What Metric Is Most Important? Hits, Visits, Clicks or… Cha-Ching?

Communicators in the nonprofit sector–especially those whose work is heavily integrated with fundraising–have multiple tools to track online initiatives. However, executive directors, officers and board members of nonprofits will not and cannot be satisfied with metrics on visitors to, downloads from or clicks on the latest digital creation.

Photo by 401(K) 2012

The metric that counts will be dollars raised.

Want to help your organization grow and better fulfill its mission? Increase funding.

Want to put your communications department on solid ground and guarantee a seat at the table of your organization’s leaders? Show how your communications strategy is directly linking donors and prospective donors to making donations to annual campaigns, planned giving and capital campaigns.

Stephanie Perry with the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Nathan Sprehe (@sprehe) with Almanac (@brandalmanac) gave an outstanding presentation, “Going Digital: Transitioning Your Communications Projects From Print To Digital,” during the Community Service Public Relations Council’s monthly luncheon on Tuesday. They reviewed the basic elements of online strategy and shared a case study of putting an annual report online. During the second year of the project, viewing sessions increased 55 percent. Volunteer fundraising committees were pleased with the data. They also shared examples of other successful online efforts by various nonprofits.

Fundraising isn’t the only focus of communications. Good digital storytelling can increase engagement that results in more volunteers, growth in programs, participation and other metrics. But communicators who show direct linkage from email, website traffic or social media to donations will become invaluable to their organizations. Ice-bucket challenges will come and go. Consistent, high-quality digital communication can become the cornerstone for nonprofit organizations if it contributes to fundraising or revenue generation.

Stephanie Perry and other communicators like her, with the assistance of talent like Nathan Sprehe and agencies like Almanac, are well on their way to to making those connections. Online technology is getting better and easier to use. Dashboards that provide organized and actionable campaign data are becoming just as important as deign, layout and opt-out.

What are your next steps to link online communication to your organization’s fundraising?

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