Data For Nonprofits: 5 Tricks for Tracking Data
Data management for nonprofits can present a challenge. There’s not one tool that records all data for nonprofits into one single database. The common use of “big data” is no longer a far fetched idea. Data should be the driving factor behind the decisions nonprofit organizations make.
For nonprofits, big data can be intimidating. In some cases with limited amounts of resources, collecting data can be difficult for nonprofits, especially when tracking the “untrackable.” As many of you know there is not one tool that can record everything. For instance, things discovered on a Facebook Ad or a direct mail campaign can be difficult to record and categorize. You may be able to associate an increase in traffic due to a campaign that was being run, but where did that traffic truly come from?
Here are a few tricks and tips that will help you record as much data as possible.
1. Google Analytics
At the very least your nonprofit should be using Google Analytics or some type of analytics to record data online. If your website doesn’t have Google Analytics installed, then you’re missing out on a lot of insightful information regarding the traffic on your website. Without this data, your nonprofit cannot make educated, effective, and profitable digital strategy decisions. Did we mention Google Analytics is free?!
2. Track Everything Online
Not only should you have analytics in place throughout your website but also throughout social media. Since Facebook is a third-party domain, you cannot install custom tracking on your page, but you can track all Facebook URLs. Any URL you share on a social media network should have a UTM code attached. UTM tracking is a simple tool Google has created that allows you to track engagement and performance of URLs on social media platforms. The performance of these URLs is recorded in Google Analytics.
3. Record Benchmarks
Before any campaign, ad rollout, or direct mailing, be sure to record a benchmark of your analytics. See where you are now to compare to where you are after. If some data is lost in translation, at the least your nonprofit will have a general understanding of how your efforts performed and some data to support your efforts.
4. Use Reference Numbers
Whether it is a Facebook Ad or a postcard in the mail use reference numbers to internally categorize your efforts. Not only will you be able to decipher how on and offline marketing is doing, but also which specific ad or campaign was the most effective.
This can be done by using reference phrases for those ads or creating individual landing pages per ad. This will show you which ads are successful and which are not. For example, say you are running a Facebook Ad campaign that brings Facebook users to a landing page. Use reference numbers on the Facebook Ad that will be relayed to the landing page. Within the ad description use reference phrases such as FB1 or FB200. The supporter then can rely this on the landing page which will provide you with insights into the effectiveness of that campaign.
5. Just Ask!
It doesn’t hurt to just ask your audience how they found you, or what brought them to your website. It will provide valuable data about your audience. Tell us where you came from in the comments below!