You’ve built a marketing strategy that aligns with your organization’s goals, and you’ve chosen what tactics you’ll use to put the strategy into action. Now, the real work begins: executing on your marketing plan and evaluating its success by tracking the metrics that matter most.
The process of measuring nonprofit marketing metrics may seem daunting. But if you are focused on your specific marketing goals and set appropriate expectations with your team about what marketing can and cannot achieve for your organization, measuring nonprofit marketing metrics can be a simple and exciting process.
Before you can measure the impact of your organization’s marketing efforts, you first need to understand why nonprofit marketing metrics are important. If you’ve never developed a process for tracking them, we have a template to help you get started.
Why is measuring the impact of your nonprofit marketing important?
Obviously, you want to know the impact marketing has on your organization’s goals, and in turn, its mission. But why track the nitty gritty details of the specific tactics you’re executing on?
It allows you to optimize your marketing budget.
According to Prosper Strategies’ 2018 Nonprofit Marketing & Brand Barometer Study, 49 percent of top performing nonprofit organizations don’t operate with a formal marketing budget. If you’re fortunate enough to have one, make sure you’re using it wisely.
Perhaps your current marketing plan includes a mix of social media advertising, Google Ads and email marketing. Because each of these tactics generate different types of results, from potential impressions to number of clicks to your website, looking at their associated metrics side by side won’t tell you much. You need to understand nonprofit sector benchmarks for each metric, as well as your organization’s unique benchmarks within each metric. If your organization has 5,000 social media followers, for example, you will likely garner different results than a larger organization with 1 million followers.
If you notice a tactic is not meeting your organization or sector-wise benchmarks, you should allocate your time and money to better-performing tactics in order to optimize your marketing budget. Companies like M+R Benchmarks, Mailchimp, and Blackbaud regularly release marketing benchmark data for the nonprofit sector. If you want to begin tracking your metrics and measuring them against industry benchmarks today, our Nonprofit Marketing Measurement Dashboard breaks down some of the most important nonprofit marketing metrics in an easy-to-use template.
It ensures your marketing efforts continue to align with your organization’s strategic plan.
If you’ve developed a marketing plan, you know every marketing goal should align with an organization-wide goal. For example, if one of your marketing goals is to employ strategic media outreach to become a community thought leader on homelessness among veterans, you are contributing to your organization-wide goal of leading the way on this core issue of focus. By tracking your nonprofit marketing metrics (in this instance, potential media impressions), you can assess your progress toward your goal (growing as a thought leader in your community), and know that you are working toward your strategic, organization-wide goal (leading the way in the area of homelessness among veterans).If you’ve developed a marketing plan, you know every marketing goal should align with an organization-wide goal. Click To Tweet
In this case, tracking specific metrics like potential media impressions helps you evaluate your progress toward your marketing goals, but also demonstrates the impact of marketing on your organization’s goals. You should bring high-level marketing metrics and takeaways to meetings with your organization’s leaders or board members to communicate how marketing continues to impact big-picture goals at your nonprofit. When they can see the quantifiable impact of marketing, they are more likely to maintain or increase your budget next year.
So, what nonprofit marketing metrics should you track, and how often?
What nonprofit marketing metrics should you measure?
Every organization’s marketing goals are different, so you should track the impact of each tactic you have in your marketing plan. Many tools exist that make reporting easy (and sometimes free):
- Website: Google Analytics
- Social: Facebook, Facebook Ads, Twitter, LinkedIn, Sprout Social, Hootsuite
- Email and Cross-Platform: HubSpot, Pardot, Constant Contact, Mailchimp
- Search/Display PPC Advertising: Google Ads, Optmyzr
Within each tactic, track the metrics that apply to your goals. For example, when measuring the impact of social media on your website traffic, metrics like follower count or number of post likes and shares don’t matter as much. Determining which specific metrics to track is just as important as choosing the right tactics.
You should measure the tactics you’re executing on every quarter at minimum, but we recommend checking in on some metrics more often, especially if you’re testing a new tactic or using paid advertising. Sometimes, you may want to evaluate your nonprofit marketing metrics as often as every week or even every day. If you are running a time-sensitive social media advertising campaign like Giving Tuesday, for example, you will want to check in on your social media advertising metrics often to optimize your ads and budget.
When you’re first starting out with a tactic, remember that testing takes time. If you are experimenting with Google Ads, know that you likely won’t see real results until several months into your first campaign. While we encourage evaluating performance regularly, you shouldn’t make any drastic shifts to your budget or content at the get-go.While every organization might be tracking slightly different nonprofit marketing metrics, we all need a reliable marketing measurement dashboard to evaluate results over time. Click To Tweet
While every organization might be tracking slightly different nonprofit marketing metrics, we all need a reliable marketing measurement dashboard to evaluate results over time. Download our template, where you will receive:
- A nonprofit marketing measurement dashboard
- Nonprofit industry benchmarks for the most important metrics in email, website, content, social media and search/PPC advertising