How to Measure Your #GivingTuesday Fundraising Impact

#GivingTuesday is an annual occurrence that unleashes global giving. Nonprofits gear up every year by creating platforms for success and maintain their work long after their event in order to keep donors invested in the cause. It’s time to use the power of Giving Day to support your initiatives.

Where do we start?

You Can’t Do This Alone 

First, assemble the team you believe can plan thoughtfully and collaborate with one another to achieve a common goal of success. This project demands the courage to undertake heightened challenges, storytelling, and engagement that will be critical to putting your brand in the spotlight.

The people you bring in for this effort will help to organize your initiative, spread the word, and build your donor base, all while building and maintaining strong enthusiasm in a process with many moving parts. Team members’ involvement is a big investment on their part and yours, so carefully analyze the roles you need and why you need this specific person in it.

Set Your Goals

‘Success’ is defined by you, it will be unique to your organization and the project at hand. How you define success will be rooted in your mission, vision, history, and the specific impact you’re trying to make with this singular effort.

For example, a yearly campaign focused on providing meals to food insecure students might measure against total meals provided from funds raised, YOY growth among affiliation segments (alumni, current students, etc.), and social media engagement on the posts of affected students who campaign as a measure of overall awareness.

Goals should be laid out prior to the initiative really taking off so you can decide the best way to channel momentum in a way that means something to your specific organization and cause.

The goals set should hone in on growth in whatever manner you decide to track. While it’s always great to meet and exceed a previously set standard or record, don’t be afraid of new undertakings – they can be incredibly valuable and add new dimensions to your fundraising.

Amount of funds raised or the number of active donors are obvious choices for measuring success, but even these can be viewed from other perspectives. A certain dollar figure linked to a stretch goal, percentage of growth YOY, and/or increasing average gift size are just a few variations.

Measurements are critical to your preparation. Goals set prior to the day of giving provide a baseline for the processes you’ll put in place with your team.

Here are some ideas to track, create benchmarks, and set rising goals against:

  • Number of overall donors
  • Overall funds raised
  • First-time donors
  • Recurring donors
  • The participation rate of affiliation groups (alumni, students, faculty, staff, community, friends, etc.)
  • The participation rate of affinity groups (donors who give to specific campaign types like the arts, athletics, medical research, etc.)
  • Omni-channel conversion rates (website, on-campus events, media placement, etc.)
  • Overall media mentions
  • Social media engagements (new followers, likes, shares, etc.)
  • The success of individual challenge goals
  • Available matching funds and matching funds “unlocked” by reaching set goals
  • Cross-departmental participation in promoting the event day-of

Goals based on these metrics are not mutually exclusive and can be combined in any way that feels relevant and necessary to your desired outcomes.

Make a Game Plan for Measurement

A strong timeline of events for your Giving Tuesday initiative offers you structure and checkpoints to ensure smooth sailing during the event. To reap the greatest benefits from your timeline, work backward from the event to schedule deadlines, communications, and meetings in addition to milestones to collect data from marketing channels.

Start early with the planning process in order to ensure you have time to work against your available resources.

Some examples of prep include finding major donors for challenges and matches well in advance to then communicate with your donor base at large about available opportunities. You can set goals against the frequency of these communications, as well as engagement measures like open and click rates if you’re communicating through email.

For tracking social media engagement, try developing a unique hashtag related to Giving Tuesday and your campaign. Get creative, and make sure to search on Twitter beforehand to make sure no one else is using your idea. Once your hashtag is shared out, you can take a look at the people who are involving themselves in the conversation, along with the number of likes, tweets, retweets, and shares on posts involving the hashtag.

Bring It to Life

What you create to represent your organization should be unique and instantly recognizable. Your work is valuable, it deserves attention and support. While branding should be simple enough to be easily identifiable, it should also share some information about your mission and work.

Publish your content. Put your design on display and get potential donors feeling a connection to it.

Try spreading this work among volunteer groups made up of people both inside and outside of your organization who are passionate about promoting your cause. When it comes to fundraising: the more, the merrier.

We measured, now how do we manifest a greater impact?

Stewardship is crucial. Relationships should be built with reoccurring donors because they not only continue giving to the cause, but they can provide yet another avenue for further networking.

Try providing donors with trackable links for social shares that will aggregate how many new people they are connecting you with. Target messages to show donors their personal impact, compelling further donations and proving to them how much you truly value them individually.

Giving Tuesday goes far beyond monetary measurements. Gain the most traction for your efforts by getting others just as passionate about your mission and goals. Use the follow-up opportunity as a way to

This isn’t a one-day sprint, it’s a year-long marathon of building relationships and awareness for a cause.