How to Set Goals in Google Analytics for Non-Profits.png

Samantha Anderson asked, “How do you set goals in Google Analytics for non-profit organizations?”

Regardless of business type, almost every kind of business or organization has financial interactions. Even the most noble non-profit still has expenses that it must pay – salaries, rent, electricity, etc. The only organization which truly doesn’t need to focus on revenue generation are governments which print their own money.

Consider a few examples:

  • Politicians running for office have a binary outcome of elected or not elected (non-financial) but they get there in part through donations and volunteers (labor in lieu of payment)
  • Non-profits obviously have expenses to pay in order to stay in business, such as salaries, rent, tax filings, etc.

Turning Abstract Expenses into Goals

How do we transform these abstract expenses into goals?

Campaign donations for a politician are practically eCommerce these days, and many donor management systems such as NationBuilder have eCommerce modules built into them. Not only can we monitor our campaign donations, we can tie the donations into Google Analytics as a shopping cart, giving us access to all of GA’s enhanced eCommerce functionality.

For non-profits, individual donors follow the same structure. For grants and larger donations, these are effectively B2B marketing and thus, standard B2B marketing metrics such as email subscriptions, marketing qualified leads, and sales qualified leads apply. When I worked in the non-profit world ages ago, we had a few big capital donors who made substantial contributions and then a whole host of individual, smaller scale donors.

Calculating Goal Values

To convert these goals into meaningful goal values, we employ amortization. Suppose 100 people signed up for our email newsletter, and one of those people contributed $100 towards our cause. The effective value of a subscriber is revenue/subscribers, or $1 per subscriber. As we earn more subscribers, we predict that eventually, another subscriber will donate $100, continuing the value projection.

From here, we set the value of a new subscriber at $1 in Google Analytics as a goal value.

Individual Campaigns and Edge Cases

What if our fundamental business goals are non-monetary, or we have a campaign which has no monetary value? Assuming the campaign is worth doing (a strategy question), then there will be times when we can’t compute a monetary value for that specific campaign. However, we should still be able to calculate the campaign’s impact on our overall organizational goals.

For example, a brand awareness campaign should lead to increased organic search. Increased organic search should lead to new subscribers. New subscribers eventually lead, as we showed previously, to donations. So while we may have no dollar amounts tied to the campaign, we still must demonstrate growth in our core business metrics – and that growth is how we set goals in Google Analytics for non-profits.


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