Analytics Basics for Nonprofits

Written by: 
Molly Niemczyk

From donations to volunteer logs, nonprofits collect an array of data. However, without analysis, that’s all it is: data. It’s not until organizations compile, organize, and analyze that data that it becomes something meaningful, something that can be used to identify trends and make informed decisions on how to push the nonprofit’s mission forward. 


What Are Data Analytics?

In short, data analytics allow nonprofits to identify current trends, predict future trends, find problems, and apply insights to their current operations in order to optimize their efforts. Specific examples of nonprofit data include volunteer contact information, donation records, website traffic, fundraising results, and any transactions or expenses. Analytics is taking those metrics and examining them in order to discover problems, patterns, and trends.


Why Data Analytics for Nonprofits Are So Important

The insights gained from data analytics make it a vital component of any nonprofit organization’s operations. With data analytics, a nonprofit can better understand things like donor behavior and fundraising prospects. 

When and where do people donate? 

What are the characteristics of members and volunteers? 

Which fundraising methods have been most efficient? 

Effective data analysis helps nonprofits to identify issues, confirm hypotheses, and discover new solutions.


The Most Important Metrics for Nonprofits


Organic Analytics

In an increasingly digital world, website performance analytics are some of the most important indicators of how your nonprofit is doing. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two of the best ways to dig deeper into your website’s performance. With these tools, you can analyze what people are searching to find your website, what kinds of people they are, and how long they’re staying on certain pages. Perhaps most importantly, you can measure the success of specific goals that you set up, such as whether users are completing donations or registering for fundraising events.

Say you’ve noticed a drop in donations since updating your website, and you don’t know why. With Google Analytics, you can see that a lot of people are reaching the second page of your donation form, but are leaving before they complete it. That insight can help you to discover that the final “submit” button is broken, hard to find, or otherwise inaccessible.

Perhaps you want to know what is bringing people to a certain blog post on your site. Google Search Console allows you to see the searches that people are typing in on Google that lead them to your page. You can also see how often your page is appearing under certain searches, and whether or not people are clicking.


Ad Analytics

If you have a Google Ad Grants account or are doing any sort of online advertising, it’s important to use the metrics collected in order to optimize your campaigns. That way, you can figure out which messaging, calls to action, and creative works best for your nonprofit.

Google Ads can tell you a lot about your audience, including location, age range, and interests. It’s a good idea to leverage this data to improve your ads and even organic messaging. You can also use this data to segment your ads into categories that cater to specific audiences.


Email Analytics

Does your nonprofit send out newsletters or updates to email subscribers? It’s a good idea to look at your email data analytics in order to determine the messaging that works, and what’s better left unread.

With email data analytics, you can look at open rate, subscription changes, click-through rate (CTR), and even how often people are converting from your emails. With this data, you can identify the best subject lines and content to include in emails, or the best times of day to send messages to your subscribers.


Are you a nonprofit looking to improve your data analytics? Our team of experts at Relevance Advisors is here to help. Reach out today to learn more about this and other services.

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