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Measuring Your Social Media Performance is Easy as 1-2-3

The following is a guest post by Frank Barry, a Sr. Digital Marketer at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE.

Social media isn’t a fad any more. In fact, at Blackbaud over 90 percent of our customers use at least one social site to connect with and engage with their constituents.


Frank Barry Frank Barry

Social media isn’t just about being social either. It’s about the impact your social media activity is having on your online fundraising efforts, programs, events and other mission related work.With that in mind, I thought I’d share a very simple, yet effective, way for you to start putting a little measurement into your social media mix. And by measurement, I don’t mean how many fans, friends, comments or likes you have.

Step 1: Create a Landing Page

Let’s say you’re trying to raise money through online fundraising. Whether you’re running a large multi-channel campaign or simply trying to motivate your social networks to give, you’ll need to create a landing page that gives people the ability to make an online donation.

The key is not to direct people to your home page. It might be beautiful, but it was not created and optimized for people to make a donation.

Here’s a good example of an online donation form that’s been optimized to ensure as many people as possible actually make a donation when they get to the page. You can also learn from what Charity:Water and The American Red Cross are doing with multi-step donation forms.

Step 2: Tag Your URL

Once you have a nice landing page created, you’ll want to tag your URL so that you know where traffic is coming from.

I should caveat this with the fact that I’m assuming you’re using Google Analytics. If you’re not, I encourage you to start as soon as possible. Without it (or another web analytics tool) you’ll have a hard time determining if social media is really working for you.

Ok, back to tagging your URL. It’s a simple process:

  1. Go to this website:
  2. Enter your donation form landing page URL in the step one box.
  3. Type in the appropriate variables in the step two section.
  4. Copy your new URL out of the big box right below the variables you entered.

If you follow the above steps using the tool you’ll end up with a URL that looks similar to this:

In my example URL, you’ll notice that the utm_source variable is set to Facebook. That’s because I plan on posting this on Facebook to drive traffic back to my donation form. If I were posting my URL on Twitter I’d change that variable accordingly. Same goes for LinkedIn or any other social site you use.

Google also has a handy URL builder with a bit more information on all of the variables. Check it out here.

Step 3: Post, Post, Post

Now it’s time to share your new page all over the social web – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Here’s an example from The American Red Cross. It’s not directly about fundraising, but it helps to illustrate a few things you should be doing.

  • First, they shared something useful and informative that is helpful to their audience.
  • Second, they used an image. Images, for the most part, get the most exposure on Facebook.
  • Third, they put a link to go take action. In this case the action was to download the app, but if we stick with our example you’d have put your link to drive people to an online donation form.

If you follow these three simple steps, you’ll quickly be able to check your website traffic in Google Analytics to determine how much of it is going to your online donation form from social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

From there, you can get even more advanced and set up conversion goals, but we’ll leave that for a future post.

For now, happy social media measuring!!

Frank Barry is a Sr. Digital Marketer at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE. He digs helping nonprofits excel at digital marketing, social media and online fundraising. Check out the new npEXPERTS eBook to learn more online fundraising ideas.

Topics: Communications