Measuring Matters

Post by Frank Barry - 4.13.2010 - Follow me on Twitter

There is a continuous discussion going on in the nonprofit space that’s centered on measurement. We all know that measurement and determining return on investment (ROI) is important so we’re thinking about how to determine what success looks like in the social media world. Over the years nonprofits have figure out how to measure a lot of things. Direct mail and email are at the top of that list.

Measuring Matters in Social MediaAs you read this you’re probably thinking about some of the things you currently measure to determine if you’re being successful in your area of focus. Let's look at a few of the big ones for nonprofits.


Direct Mail

A tried and true way of communication and fundraising. Direct mail has been around since the invention of the modern address from what I can tell and it’s a huge part of most nonprofit fundraising programs. There are countless nonprofits, consultants and companies who know how to create a successful direct mail program.

We are sophisticated enough to know what metrics to measure, what tactics to deploy and how to apply many different “formulas” to the data (see something like RFM: A Formula for Greater Direct Mail Success by Blackbaud). This allows nonprofits to look at the data in a way similar to the below ...

“If you have 1 million names in your mailing list and a variable mailing cost of 50 cents per piece. You typically get a respectable 1.6 percent response rate and a $32 average gift. So each time you mail, you spend $500,000 and bring in $512,000, for net revenue of $12,000.”

That’s measurable.

 

Email

Email marketing is also fairly “baked” in that it’s been around since the 80‘s. The nonprofit space sees the value and has figure out what to measure and how to take appropriate action based on the metrics being captured.

We’ve tinkered enough to know that our list size and the number of emails we send  matter. We also know that we should be tracking the number of people emailed and measuring the number of bounce backs, unsubscribes, opens, click throughs and response rates (i.e. donations).

There’s reports like the NTEN 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study that help us track industry trends over the past few years. (p.s Their 2010 version hits the web near you on April 29th. Check www.nten.org for more details.)

Again, that’s measurable.


Social Media

Next, insert social media as a communication and fundraising channel. Web sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, and others are fairly new, but they are powerful. They are changing the game.

Social networking now accounts for 11 percent of all time spent online in the US. A total of 234 million people age 13 and older in the U.S. used mobile devices in December 2009. Twitter processed more than one billion tweets in December 2009 and averages almost 40 million tweets per day. Over 25% of U.S. internet page views occurred at one of the top social networking sites in December 2009, up from 13.8% a year before.” (Wikipedia social media stats)

As with any new medium, nonprofit organizations are in the early stages of figuring out how to use the new tools effectively, measure the right things and determine what success looks like.

Questions like “How do I figure out who’s active on Facebook and exists on my direct mail or email list?” or “How do I capture social networking data about my donors?” come to mind. (see Do You Know Your Supporters?)?

We’re in the stage of the game where tools matter. Measuring is tough to do because there are dozens of prominent social web sites and the tools are always changing. Not to mention the fact that the tools are even less mature than the social sites which make capturing and mining the data that much more difficult. Social media is like the online version of the wild wild west.

To that end we’ve started capturing and measuring for our customer. It’s early, but we’re seeing some interesting and exciting results. Check out Making Event Participants More Successful with Social Media Tools.


What questions do you have? What type of measuring tools are you using to figure out if your efforts with social media and social networking are paying off?

 

Photo by Tom M. Schenkenberg

 


Your Organization in Eight Words or Less – Go!

License and Registration, Please

Reach Out or Round Up: Which Social Networking Strategy Should Your Organization Pursue?

Social Media Strategy: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Is Facebook Right for your Nonprofit's Community?

5 Tips for Writing Effective Web Content

Content Inventory: Never Fun, Always Needed

Go Beyond the Typical To Reach Your Base

Continuing the Conversation with Custom Confirmations

A Guide to Facebook Social Plugins for Nonprofits

Get More Twitter Followers Today [Ethically]

Twitter Hits 15 Billion

FIRST

Increasing Website Traffic with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

7 Tips for Successful Online Fundraising

Video Interview with Andre Blackman of Pulse + Signal

10 Volunteering Sites to Help You Do Some Good

OPEN CALL: Do Nonprofits Make Films? We Say Yes!

Stacey Monk talks Epic Change, Tweetsgiving and more …

When In Doubt, Hit Something!

American Idol’s Help Me Give Back Program Rocks Team Fundraising

Chris Brogan Talks Nonprofits and Trust Agents

Chris Noble on Check in for Charity, Pepsi Refresh and Social Media for Nonprofits

10 Steps to Building a Successful Social Media Strategy

Measuring Matters

Video Rules!

Do You Know Your Supporters?

Heading to NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference? Don’t miss these sessions!

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 3 – Adding Photos

Video Interview: NetSquared with Amy Sample Ward

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 2 – Configuring the Homepage

Video Interview: Facebook for Nonprofits by Randi Zuckerberg

SXSW Do-gooding, Inspirations and Nonprofit Takeaways

Spotlight on We Can End This with Scott Henderson

Turn Your Success into New Opportunities!

What to Watch For at SXSW 2010 - The Nonprofit Edition

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 1 – The Background Info

Blackbaud Announces March Web Seminars for Nonprofits

Learning is Everything!

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 0 – The prelude

Online Giving and Rapid Response Trends

Why Would I Use Social Media?

Independent Fundraising Event Trends

Connecting Advocacy to Fundraising: Free Nonprofit Webinar

It’s Kind to Give In Kind

Nothing But Net - Aid for Haiti Gets Webby

Make it Visible

Unlocking the Power of Online Forms in Sphere- Part I

Support Disaster Relief in Haiti

Getting Started with Twitter

Give your 2010 Strategy a Jumpstart with these Free Nonprofit Webinars – Starting Tomorrow!

The Power of One

Email Communication in 2010

The Science Behind the Art - Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS - Part II

Foursquare: 8 Ideas for Nonprofits

Using Social Media to Improve Your Nonprofit's Efforts

How to Choose a Website Vendor- The Solution

2009 in Review

How to Choose a Website Vendor- The Partnership

Use Your Year End Giving as a Starting Point

The Science Behind the Art - Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS - Part 1

The Science Behind the Art - Nonprofit Website Case Studies

Your Network Matters: Fatcyclist Raises Over 135K in 8 Days

Black December?

Obama, Then and Now: Lessons Learned in Online Advocacy and Fundraising (Part I)

Are Nonprofits Ready to Play Foursquare?

A Facebook Success Story: Charleston Animal Society

NetWits Know-How Event Fundraising Webinar Series

#Tweetsgiving Rocks

Watch for Roadblocks: The Road to More Successful Online Fundraising

13 Twitter Search Examples for Nonprofits

50 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits

10 Ways to Make Your Website Fundraising Friendly

10 Tips for Online Challenge Event Fundraising

Social Media Strategy: A Small Nonprofit's Experience

7 Webby Sessions Not to Miss at BBCon

2009 State of the Not-For-Profit Industry UK Survey Results

How to Leverage Your Newsletter Subscriber List to Solicit Online Donations

Cause Marketing and Social Media go Hand in Hand

How Independent Schools Can Embrace Online and Offline Worlds

Creating a Social Networking Strategy (Part 1)

Jumpstart Year-End Giving with eCards

NTEN Webinar - The State of Online Fundraising

Branding Your Nonprofit: Part 2 of 2

What is Google Search Doing for You?

Generation Thumb

Social Media Strategy: National Association of Dental Plans

4 Internet Competencies You Need for a Career in Nonprofit

Turning "Brochureware" into a Fun and Interactive Website

Help Inspire Your Fundraisers!

16 Starter Tips for Nonprofit Blogging

Dive into the Flickr Pool!

Supporting Independent Event Fundraisers Using Online Tools - LIVESTRONG Day 2009

Want More Constituents on Your Website? Don’t Annoy Them! Part 2

How “Intelligent” is Your Nonprofit?

Using the Social Web to Make Local Impact

Mixing Traditional Media with Social Media

New England Province of Jesuits Wins Award for Faith-Based Standard of Excellence

Index of National Fundraising Performance- Q2 2009

11 Quick Tips to Enhance Your Facebook Fan Page

The Answer to Nearly Every Online Fundraising Question Is...

How Blogging and Tweets Generate Support for a Family

Measuring Success Online- Is This Internet Thing Worth the Effort?

Nonprofits and Social Media: Seth Godin, Beth Kanter and The Chronicle of Philanthropy All Chime In

Inside a Website Redesign: Plan Canada

Want More Constituents on Your Website? Don’t Annoy Them!

Twitter 101 for Nonprofits

Branding Your Nonprofit: Part 1 of 2

Are you Ready for the Next Facebook?

What is Google Doing for You?

6 Characteristics of a Nonprofit Trust Agent

(INSERT POST TITLE HERE)

What Not to Do on a Fundraising Call

Tips to Strengthen Your Email Campaigns

Listening Dashboard via Email?

On-site and Online Fundraising Best Practices

The Power of a Thank You

Abundant Options & Opting In

Why Twitter Matters

5 Questions Nonprofits Should Ask Before Sending an Email

Help Your Nonprofit Listen Like Starbucks and Dell

5 Mistakes Nonprofit Websites Make

Peer to Peer Fundraising- Painting a Better Picture with Video

Networking at a Grassroots Level

Thank You for Your Permission

Sign Up for NetWits Summer Camp!

A Challenging Economy = More Donations

Have a Contest to Increase Web Traffic

I’m Listening, Now What? 5 Tips to Make Your Listening Worth It

Are Twitter and Facebook Important for Event Fundraising?

Start a Movement!

Set up Your Social Media Listening Dashboard in 30 Minutes or Less

An eCard Experience

Sink or Swim? Nonprofits in 2010

Social Media Strategy: ChildFund International

How to Boost Event Fundraising with Facebook

The Web 2.0 Rummage Sale!

Summer Festivals: Where Music & Philanthropy Collide

Can Social Media Help Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Efforts?

Design for Good: 4 (More) Nonprofit Design Principles - Part 2 of 2

A Recipe for Search Engine Visibility: Part II

Payment Processing- You Raised the Dollars, Keep Your Cents

Nonprofit Blogging: Goals, Strategy and Tactics to Crush it

Recurring Gifts: Are You Missing Out on Easy Money?

Members Only!

We Need Facebook (?)

The Healthcare Industry is Stuck – 5 Strategies to Overcome and Resources to Assist

4 Tips to Keep Your Recurring Gifts Recurring

Social Media Strategy: LIVESTRONG and the Summer of Social Good

Social Media Strategy: United Methodist Church and 10THOUSANDDOORS

Design for Good: 4 Nonprofit Design Principles - Part 1 of 2

Social Media Strategy: 12for12k Challenge with Danny Brown

Tangible Love

A Recipe for Search Engine Visibility

Social Media Strategy: Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

5 Email Sins to Avoid

Are Your Alumni Bored with You?

How One Multi-Chapter Organization is Succeeding with Virtual Accounts

6 Ways to Build Your Email Subscriber List through Social Media

Power to Your Peeps! Why Real-time Fundraising with Twitter Works

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due...

4 Facebook Tips for Nonprofit Success – See What Others are Doing

Reach Your Audience Where Your Audience Already Is!

Is Twitter Important for Thon Participants?

Mastering "The Google"

What's Really Going on with Events this Season?

Podcasting, Podcasting, Podcasting

Social Media Strategy: Athletes for a Cure

Does Your Website Further Your Mission?

Is Mobile Fundraising the Next Big Thing?

Help a Nonprofit This Mother's Day

4 Keys to Building a Successful Nonprofit Web Site

To Tweet or Not to Tweet is No Longer the Question

Expanded Functions in Sphere Connect API

Are Your Recipients Tired? Look No Further Than List Fatigue: Part II

15 Clay Shirky Quotes That Blew My Mind at NTC

Facebook Launches New API

Facebook to Open a World of Possibilities

Stewardship Isn’t Just a Thank You Letter

Connect Usage Goes BOOM!

4 Ways to Jump Into ‘Fundraising 2.0’

A Good Fundraising Appeal- By My Standards

Design for Good: The Hidden Potential of Footers

Website Omnipotence

When Social Networking Worlds Collide– The Facebook-Extended Personal Fundraising Page

2009 Target User Forum- Day 2

YouTube Video, $10,000 Dollars and Your Nonprofit

The Social Media Nonprofit Event Planner

Facebook & “Old People*”

Are Your Recipients Tired? Look No Further Than List Fatigue.

Don’t Fall Behind, Fundraising is Moving On!

SXSW Recap

Things I liked from SXSW Interactive

Five Things I Saw at SXSW

2008 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis

Why should you get your event participants to send more emails?

To Moderate or Not to Moderate? That is the Question.

Skittles and Your Nonprofit

Takeaways from the Run Walk Ride Conference

Taking Five Website Staples to the Next Level

Assigned Affinity

Don’t Dump – Learn to Listen

Twitter: Time Waster or Valuable Tool?

Using Twitter for the First Time

Bigfoot Sighting

RSS: Best thing since sliced bread

One Life is Enough!

Get free updates of the the blog articles sent to your inbox by entering your email address:

Make sure to check out our Social Media for Nonprofits resources section or browse by topic ...

Popular Posts

Recent Posts


Nonprofit Tech Featured Blog