Measuring Fundraiser Success


Photo by Geoff Livingston

How do you measure the success of a social media oriented online fundraiser? There are the obvious metrics, donors and donations. These are the awards criteria for contests like Give to the Max Day.

But, from nonprofit perspective, social fundraising measurement should dig deeper. A big mistake with social media is to treat it as a publishing mechanism used for transactional purposes. Using the three As of measurement — Attention, Attitude, and Action — there are several different things a nonprofit can measure to determine its success.

Attention: The overall volume of interest. These metrics include follower counts, traffic and other analytics. You may want to look at how your Twitter and Follower counts grew. Look at your Facebook Insights to see if you engaged more people, too, and if they are viewing your content. On Twitter, are people talking with you? Are you getting replies and retweet? What about inbound blog links, and general social media impressions? None of these are silver bullets for success, all of them indicate whether you were successful at not at getting your stakeholders attention.

Attitude: Overall sentiment and relationship measures. Did you improve your cause’s brand as a result of the fundraiser. Do people feel better about the cause, or do they identify with a personal face or story more? Do they understand what you do better? To measure attitude effectively, you need a benchmark prior to the effort.

Action: Business results of online outreach. We have already discussed dollars raised and donors cultivated as the obvious benchmarks. But there are others, and some may be more important long term with a relational media form like social.

For example, consider repeat donors. Hopefully, you did more than just garner a donation. You probably followed up with a personal thank you that didn’t ask for more dollars right away. You also probably reported back results, and/or what the money will be used for. If a relationship is built and maintained, a donation later on seems more likely. Measuring new donors, and then new repeat donors cultivated from your fundraiser is a very strong measurement approach.

Other actions or forms of engagement can include acts like volunteering, or petitions to Congress. Look for multiple ways to measure real impact beyond the basic transaction.

What measurement tips would you add?

P.S. Thank you, Beth Kanter, for inspiring this post.