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3 Ways Data-Driven Testing Can Help Your Nonprofit

Marcella Vitulli

January’s Fireside Chat was all about being “data-driven” in your nonprofit endeavors.

It’s a topic especially close to our hearts as admitted data nerds, but more so, it’s the future of how nonprofits will strive toward and achieve greater goals.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on the data bandwagon.

Our distinguished panel drilled down into content marketing, website design, and optimization strategies, offering advice and first-steps to get started with testing and using data to guide your decision-making.

Watch the full discussion or read on for the highlights.


1. Measure people, not clicks or shares.

There are so many metrics to look at when it comes to content marketing, it's hard to know where to start. Devon Hopkins, EveryAction’s Director of Marketing, offers this simple advice: measure people, not clicks.

There is no correlation between social shares and people actually reading your content.

Clicks and shares are easy to measure, but they may not be giving you the insights you need to make effective decisions. Instead, measure how often your readers are returning to your site and how much time they are spending on your content pages.


2. Incorporate user testing into your redesign process

Applying design best practices is a given, but stepping back from your website and running comprehensive user testing may be a crucial step your nonprofit communications is missing.

All is takes is a simple conversation with five individuals. Give them an open-ended task (Sign a petition, make a donation, Find X) and see how they respond on the website. You can run these tests in-person or through a screenshare service like Join.me or Skype.

Design matters. During our chat, Marissa Chapman, EveryAction website designer, pointed out design misconceptions and pitfalls many nonprofits suffer - just say “NO” to carousels and terrible stock photos!

Where are visitors clicking? How are they navigating through your website? How did the addition or substitution of a graphic or beautiful stock photo impact the amount of money visitors donated? If you’re not asking questions like these, your website design may be little more than window dressing - make it work for you!


3. Use your email list to test performance of other assets

“Always be optimizing.” We’re not sure if Rob Winikates, EveryAction Product Director, has any tattoos, but we imagine that if he did, this phrase would be one of them.

Rob recommends first taking advantage of the analytical power of your email platform and CRM tools to test everything from landing page performance to donation form conversion rates. (If your email tool doesn’t allow for this, it might be time to make a switch.)

Tools like Optimizely can also help you interpret your organic traffic data and use the trends to steer your marketing and SEO strategies.

No matter the metric, the most important thing is to have a clear idea of what you’re hoping to optimize. It’s only then that you can best leverage your analytics for data-driven strategy development.


Hopefully you've gotten a taste of what being data-driven can mean to your organization. Have more questions? Send us a tweet - we'd love to talk to you about it! (No, really.)

Want to join us for our next Fireside Chat? Great! RSVP here - we can’t wait to see you on February 24th!


Topics: marketing, design, data