The #1 Thing Fundraisers Should Know About Google Analytics

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Google Analytics for Fundraisers

Next to chopsticks, Google Analytics is probably the most incorrectly used tool in the world. Well, at least in the world of fundraising. Overall traffic, page views, visit duration… these are the first metrics a novice will start to analyze but they are nearly meaningless for us without much greater context. Reports that focus on broad traffic trends are missing the #1 essential point fundraisers need to understand about their website: Not all traffic is created equal.

Non-profit websites typically perform a wide array of functions and for most organizations the average visitor is not looking to make a gift. Websites can be volunteer portals. They provide service information. They list job opportunities and so on. Of course, they are also a channel for giving. To make any worthwhile conclusions about the donations on your website, it is crucial to segment your visitors  (view separately) by their motivation for coming to your site.

There are literally an endless amount of filters you could create to segment your visitors. For the many organizations that currently have no filters set up, it can be hard to figure out where to start. That is why I recommend a very simple and powerful segmentation as a starting point: Conversive Traffic.

When we look at conversive traffic, we analyze only traffic from sources that have shown a propensity to give gifts in the past. For example, traffic that comes from an e-campaign is very likely to be considered conversive traffic because of past conversions that have occurred on your site from this source . An example of non-conversive traffic might be from google searches including the search term “jobs” or perhaps a referral from a site like Yelp which is more likely sending you a visitor looking for a service you provide rather than to make a gift. If you want to have more revenue coming in through your website, you should set goals and make a plan to increase conversive traffic.

One of the values of this simple segmentation is that it leads to two valuable discussion points:

1.       How do we increase our traffic from conversive sources?

2.       How can we turn our non-conversive traffic into conversive traffic?

Bottomline in using Google Analytics for fundraising: if are you are not tracking conversions and have not set up any filters, you may as well not bother to log-in to your account at all. The process for both is easy enough for any beginner and we’d be happy to walk you through it.

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