Measure your #GivingTuesday success.

Giving Tuesday Analysis - blog post

#GivingTuesday is right around the corner. Are you set up to know what worked for you?

A lot of #GivingTuesday action happens online. What’s great about this is you have the opportunity to test out your messaging. What’s most successful at bringing people to your website? What’s most successful at not only bringing people to your website, but bringing people who give?

The easiest (and free!) way to do this is with Google Analytics. Using Google Analytics, you can track which sources drive the most traffic to your website, and ultimately to online giving.

  1. Learn how it works.

If you are new to Google Analytics (GA), do yourself a favor and take Google’s free online beginner analytics training. It’s fast, easy to understand and helpful.

  1. Be sure your website is set up.

Google Analytics tracks visitors to your website based on a unique tracking code that is embedded on your website. When you take the Google training, you’ll learn how this works.

If GA tracking is not already set up, then work with your web designer to get this set up properly, in advance of your campaigns. If you manage your own website with a content management system like Squarespace, Weebly or Wix, check with your vendor on how to inject Google’s tracking code on every page.

  1. Set your goal in Analytics.

On Giving Tuesday, your goal is to raise money. So your goal is to see a successful transaction. Because of the way GA works, your donor’s arrival at the final “thank you for giving” page will be the signal to Google that the goal has been met.

You may also have the goal of adding email addresses to your list. See this great #GivingTuesday contrarian post at Fundraising Authority on why that may be an even better social media goal than generating direct donations.

If you can, set up your online giving service to redirect people to a thank you landing page hosted on your website when their transaction or newsletter signup is complete. That way, the Google Analytics tracking code will be embedded in that page, and you can track not only who visits your online giving or newsletter page, but who successfully completes the desired action.

If you are unable to have donors land on a thank you page hosted on your own site, then your goal will have to be landing on your online giving page or newsletter signup page. Unfortunately, this will not give you a good sense of donor attrition during the giving or signup process, but it is better than not tracking at all.

Analytics can only track things that happen on your site. That’s why it’s important to embed the tracking code in your site, and to host as much of your online giving process as you can on your own site.

  1. Use Google’s URL Builder to make trackable links for each of your social media posts or ads.

By adding special coding to the end of web links that you share via social media, email, or advertising, you can track the performance of each specific post or email. The coding is called UTM coding. Here’s a fairly simple explanation of how it works, including why the U stands for urchin.

Google offers a URL Builder tool to make it easy to generate links that Google Analytics will be able to track. Note that your website page addresses don’t change. The UTM coding is added when you link to your site, and gets passed through to Google Analytics.


Your website’s donate page:

The link to your donate page in your newsletter:

  1. Test your setup before #GivingTuesday.

Make sure that everything is working as you expected before #GivingTuesday rolls around. Test every step of the process, and be sure that Google Analytics is recording data the way you want it to. The training I suggest above shows you how to do this.

  1. Review your stats.

At the conclusion of your campaign, look at your various posts, ads, and emails. Which performed the best?

Click Rate You’ll get your click rate from Facebook, other social media sites, or your email application. Of those who saw your ads/posts/email, how many actually clicked on a link?

Conversion Rate Your conversion rate is the percentage of people who arrive at your site who successfully complete the desired action, i.e. giving. If you use Google Analytics’ goal tracking function, it will automatically calculate your conversion rate for you.

Donor Attrition Where did you see donor attrition in your funnel? If you saw a steep fall-off between arriving at your online giving form and completing the transaction, this is an indicator that your online giving process needs to be smoother so that you lose fewer donors.

Bounce Rate The bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your page shortly upon arrival – those who didn’t like what they saw when they arrived. If one of your posts, ads, emails, etc. has a significantly higher bounce rate than others, then it was targeting the wrong crowd for you.

P.S. Don’t forget! Fundraising Nerd is conducting a short survey, Your Donor Database and You, to understand what you need to make your fundraising database work better. If you complete the survey before November 30, you’ll be entered to win a free softcover copy of my book Donor Database Fundamentals, to be released this spring. You’ll also get a report on survey results.