Online donations are without a doubt an important source of income for non-profits. Whether it’s a regular operating grant donated by a philanthropist, corporation or memorial trust or a one-off donation from the average website visitor, these funds are crucial to the continued altruistic work of charitable, religious, research, advocacy and other types of non-profit organizations.
As a result, it’s vital that each organization keeps track of their website, the ways in which these websites can drive and facilitate donations and the effectiveness of the website in achieving an organization’s fundraising targets and goals. This vigilance will provide the evidence needed to find ways to improve the performance of the donations page and make web design and development decisions that result in greater quality ($ per donation) and/or larger quantity of donations (number of donations).
In Google Analytics, there is a way to track individual transactions that go through a ‘check-out’ process where personal and payment information is input and a confirmation message is given to the user in response. The E-Commerce function, despite its name, can be a very useful tool in determining the general trends in donations over time, such as determining the success of a particular advertising campaign or fundraising drive, finding out which countries, regions or cities donate the most and the most often or learning which external websites or Google search terms are sending the most potential donors to the recipient organization’s website. By adding a few extra lines to the standard Google Analytics tracking code and feeding certain pieces of information into it, we can get a more complete picture of who our donors are, where they come from, when they donate and maybe even why they do or do not donate.
Couple the Google Analytics E-Commerce function with Google Website Optimizer, and you’ll be able to test the effect of different form or page layouts, different text or different images on the number and size of donations. The information gained from such tests can teach you how to improve your donations page and your site as a whole (you have to get them to the donations page, after all) to make the most of the visitors who are already coming to your page and are already interested in your cause. Be sure to test and make changes on a regular (or constant) basis so that you’re always improving your website’s performance.
This has been just a brief overview of some of the ways Google Analytics can help non-profit organizations sustain their most precious, yet most fragile, income stream.