Learn how campaign tracking can boost your nonprofit’s donations.

How to Boost a Nonprofit’s Donations with Campaign Tracking

Fundraising is a vital aspect of any nonprofit organization, and tracking its success is equally important. Campaign tracking is the process of recording and analyzing a fundraiser’s performance through meaningful data.

From monitoring the key performance indicators (KPIs) of a crowdfunding campaign to recapping a peer-to-peer fundraiser, campaign tracking can help you make informed decisions that maximize your impact. In this guide, we’ll explore three ways to raise more through campaign tracking:

Allow campaign tracking to guide your fundraising efforts—by understanding the successes and failing elements of a fundraising campaign, nonprofits can adjust their approaches and improve their results.

Targeted outreach

An early step in any campaign is to communicate with donors, which is also one of the first opportunities your nonprofit has to collect and leverage data.

Knowing which platforms and messages appeal to donors’ preferences allows you to craft more compelling appeals. In turn, you can increase your chances of converting recipients into actual donors. To ensure you’re targeting the right people with the right message,  track response rates on the following platforms:

  • Social media: These channels typically host mass messages or general promotions. How many of your supporters engage with your posts via likes, comments, or shares? Out of the different social media channels, which platform receives the most engagement from your followers?
  • Emails: Your nonprofit might send emails for multiple uses, but they’re often a little more personal than social media posts. What are the open and click-through rates on these messages?  How many supporters opt-in to your email blasts, and how many unsubscribe?
  • Text messaging: This method can be especially helpful in collecting donations or directing your supporters to campaign information. How many supporters give through your text-to-donate fundraising campaign? Do text messages typically raise more donations or warrant more responses than other channels of communication?
  • Direct mail: Physical mail is by far the most personal way your nonprofit can reach out to supporters. Although engagement is difficult to track with direct mail, you might gather supporters’ opinions on receiving physical mail through a survey. Also, if your mail asks for supporters to take action in any tangible way, you can track how much action was actually taken.

You might leverage every channel in your campaign (and you should!) but the messages on each channel should be slightly different to meet their respective audiences most effectively. For example, Feathr notes that each social media channel has a different specialty that can impact your donors in different ways. To boost donations, you might answer ten matching gift program FAQs in an Instagram post and encourage supporters to check their eligibility via TikTok.

Another way better your campaign with communication data is by comparing the timing of your messages to spikes in donations. Correlations could indicate that certain channels were more effective than others, and your nonprofit can spend more time with these channels in its next campaign.

Donor stewardship

Donation appeals aren’t the only communications that should be driven by data. Campaign data can also reveal important information about your donors so that your outreach ultimately strengthens your relationships with supporters, encouraging them to give more.

Most nonprofit leaders know that donor acquisition demands more resources than donor retention, which is why it’s important to steward your existing donors using your campaign data. Leverage campaign tracking to improve your donor retention strategy, through tactics including:

  • Thank-you messages: Do your donors prefer handwritten letters of appreciation or social media shoutouts? Gather feedback through surveys and record this information in a donor database. Then, send the appropriate messages to each supporter.
  • Impact emphasis: Did donors or volunteers further a specific cause? What difference did their contribution make, and how can you show them? Use information about supporters’ involvement to send specific messages about the impact of their contributions.
  • Growth opportunities: How has each supporter’s involvement with your organization evolved? Give them opportunities to engage with your cause in different ways based on their preferences and past involvement.

Information tracked from previous campaigns provides the context you need to make donors feel significant and appreciated. These data-driven messages will increase donations by creating a sense of loyalty when supporters feel individually recognized for their meaningful participation in your cause.

Progress visualization

It’s obvious that campaign tracking shows the progress of your fundraising efforts, but visualizing this information for your supporters is equally as important as it can incentivize giving.

Think about it like your personal budgeting goals: When you first start saving to buy a new car, the goal seems far away. As you continue to save, however, the goal seems increasingly more achievable. In the same way, showing your fundraising progress can convince donors that the goal is achievable and that their contribution could make a significant difference.

Consider using these campaign tracking visuals during your next fundraiser:

  • Fundraising thermometer: This is an especially effective way to incentivize giving in a peer-to-peer campaign since supporters and their peers can see their collective efforts “raising the temperature.” Snowball Fundraising recommends using a thermometer to create a sense of urgency to give—such an achievable goal could be completed with just a few more donations!
  • Graphs: Campaigns that rely heavily on important numbers can display their progress through bar graphs. For example, you could use a stacked bar graph to show the dollars raised versus the dollars needed.
  • Themed visuals: Get creative with your graphic by theming it to match the goal of your campaign. For example, if your nonprofit is raising money for a community garden, show your fundraising progress through a growing flower on your donation page—every time a donation is made, the flower will grow a little bit more.

Some illustrations are more appropriate for certain campaigns than others. If your nonprofit hosts a fundraiser through a specific software provider, check to see if the platform offers a progress bar or visualization. The provided progress tracker will likely be appropriate for that specific fundraiser. If not, be sure to evaluate your audience as you determine what visual will be most compelling.

Your campaign data shows where your nonprofit has been, what it has tried, and where it hopes to go. All this information can help you plan future strategies or adjust your current one—if you use it correctly.

Be sure to track diligently, not leaving out any information. Also, remember that most fundraising software will track this data for you so that the information from every event and initiative can be compiled.