I feel the need to know what the return on investment (ROI) is on our investment in social media is. I think investing in social media is a prudent thing for a charity to do, but somehow having some metrics to analyze makes me feel more like we are doing the right thing. At the same time I never ask our staff what the ROI on their email use is. At this point we just take it for granted that our staff need to communicate with our stakeholders and email is one of the ways they do it. Likely at some point we will just take for granted that social media is one more way we communicate with our stakeholders and we will stop trying to measure it and calculate its value.
However as we speak our organization is trying to find new and better ways to measure the effectiveness of the impact of our social media channels. Right now our team is working on finding better ways to track how likely a particular tweet or face book post is to result in clicking through to make a donation. I suppose no matter how the technology grows or changes as a charity we still want to know what wording in our case of support or what type of appeal actually translates into donor action.
Kerr (2014) has some good advice for the nonprofit trying to measure the effectiveness of their social media efforts. She suggests: “Every organization collecting online donations should be tracking the referred source of the gift to determine how donors found your website. Recent social fundraising research at Artez Interactive found that 14 percent of online donations in client campaigns were referred directly from Facebook!”
If your charity is using social media appeals or peer to peer fundraising companies who sell products to support these types of fundraising such as Blackbaud, Convio or Artez post on their websites benchmarks and reports based on their own research from their users that can be helpful in evaluating your charity’s own results. If you are not using SM to peer to peer fundraise read this blog post:
Kerr (2014) describes some of Artez’s finding on social media impact on fundraising. She describes:” For example, we looked at a marathon event to see how social media was specifically affecting pledges raised by participants. We found that visitors from Facebook who viewed a donation form after a peer-driven or crowd sourced “ask” subsequently converted to a donation 23 percent of the time. Comparatively, traffic from Twitter converted to a donation only 1 percent of the time.”
For our own organization we have some example of people who have initially become aware of us and what we do from our social media posts, later these people become volunteers and/or donors. I am not sure we have found the best way to quantify the ROI on this yet be we do know that in general this type of growing engagement in our organization is a good thing, and we also know that we get a little better at measuring the outcomes every month.
As Kerr explains: “There’s a significant return on investment when using social media to recruit supporters that you eventually convert to fundraisers. Make sure you know the original referral source of new event participants, contacts in your database, or newsletter subscribers. It’s crucial to quantify the role social media played in acquiring new friends of your organization who go on to help you raise money online”
Kerr. (2014) How Does Your Organization Define “Success” in Social Media Fundraising? AFP
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