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7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Nonprofit Marketing Impact with Google Analytics

September 25th, 2012 Posted in Marketing

Here’s a scenario I hear all the time from nonprofit marketing folks: We know we should be looking at how our website is doing, but we don’t even have the time to figure out how to start.

Instead, many of you persist in building out your site or blog based on what you think your base is interested in or what you think is the way they enter your site. But here’s the problem with that—it’s all about you, and everything you do nonprofit marketing wise has to be about your audience if you want to engage and motivate them to give, volunteer or sign a petition.

The core insights you need to know are how your site users are finding your site (or blog), and how they interact with it.


  • Consistently quantify site performance and usage. Remember though, that comparison of findings among sites doesn’t mean a thing, since each site has unique goals and audiences. Focus on tracking metrics on your site over time, from the baseline of right now.
  • Build your understanding of how or if your site or blog is meeting stated objectives critical to achieving communications goals.
  • Suggest approaches for course correction if necessary.

So, I urge you to take one to two hours to set up a website analytics (usage measurement) tool. I recommend Google Analytics to our nonprofit clients, and use it myself, because it is reliable, easy to use, and free but there are other strong tools out there as well.

Getting Started with Website Analytics

When you’re thinking about measuring the impact of your website, start with your desired outcomes rather than scanning the dozens of metrics every analytics program provides. Your goals for your site will highlight the metrics that matter.

Your first steps are to:
1. Define site goals.

2. Pinpoint measurable objectives that will demonstrate your moving towards reaching your goals.

3. Identify, as specifically as possible, the target audiences you need to engage to meet your objectives.

Who Should be Involved?

The individual closest to site content and goals should be in charge of website analytics, analyzing them to understand what’s working and what’s not, and making decisions on changes. Google Analytics is quite simple to set up but if you need a bit of help, turn to your organization’s website developer or IT consultant for a brief consult.

Set Up is Quick and Simple?

For Google Analytics, set up is four steps away:

1. Set up an analytics account (you’ll need a Google account, if you don’t have one already, you can create one).

2. Insert the tracking code that’s generated into every single page on your site and/or post on your blog. If you need help with this, ask your website developer or IT consultant.

3. To track conversions—the page a user gets to only once they’ve taken a key action such as making a donation or providing information to get a free research report—set up goals and insert a unique conversion code on the goal (or “end result”) page such as your donation thank you page. Also, track where these users came from (a page on another site or yours, a Google ad or a link on a colleague organization’s site), at which time of the day, and how long they stayed on your site. This pathway is called the funnel, and can also be tracked by Google Analytics.

4. Set up a scannable “dashboard” highlighting key stats. I review our dashboards for the Nancy Schwartz & Company and sites on a daily basis, and frequently use them to make decisions.

Nancy E. Schwartz, Publisher – / President – Nancy Schwartz & Company

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