The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

How to Measure Impact on #GivingTuesday to Apply Next Year & Every Year

The annual day of global giving known as #GivingTuesday (now in its third year) is now behind us, and we in the nonprofit sector are gearing up to acknowledge, celebrate and thank our donors. From the early indications and reports, the day was an astounding success with event close to raising almost $50M (we are being optimistic)!

Along with prepping for recognition, we need to be focused on measuring the impact of #GivingTuesday for our organizations, so we can capture the lessons learned while they are fresh. It’s the biggest day of the biggest season of the year, and getting a sense of ROI is what will set us up for the next year. So don’t shrug off the metrics. Be ready and eager to track them.

Start With Your Goals

#GivingTuesday #GivingTuesday

In the first piece in our #GivingTuesday series we asked you to set goals for your campaign. Those goals offer a starting point for which metrics to measure. Set specific benchmarks you hope to hit based on last year’s results. If you’re new to #GivingTuesday or don’t have prior campaigns to use as a guideline, Sarah Koch, Director of Social Innovation at the Case Foundation, recommends talking to trusted and admired peers to get a sense of an “educated baseline” to strive for. Remember that your metrics from this year will become your benchmarks for next. So even if you’ve never done this before, you’re going to get something out of it. While fundraising might seem to be the number one goal of all nonprofits, there are many other details worth tracking beyond the overall amount raised on #GT. Let’s look at them in depth. Donors In addition to how many people are donating, it helps to know the average donation per person, so you can target your messaging and asks appropriately. Also important are how many of them are NEW and how many are long-term/repeat donors. Your donation platform (Salsa, Razoo, Donate Now, etc.) should help you track these metrics. Long-term/repeat donors can help raise funds and engage new donors, because they know you and can advocate for you without seeming self-serving. And you can measure those efforts as well by providing track-able bitly links for them to use.


This is a big one, and it should be. After all, it’s “#GivingTuesday” – the hashtag is built right in, which means Twitter (and other social media) will feature prominently. So you need to track and document engagement on each platform you used. Here are some considerations:

  • Twitter – Track mentions, retweets, clicks and new followers, as well as Twitter cards if you decide to use them. Twitter has analytics which you can access for free with this workaround. Scheduling platforms like Hootsuite and Social Sprout offer analytics as well.
  • Facebook – Look at likes, comments, shares and new fans. The Facebook page Giving Tuesday University offers a lot of information about measuring results, including this cheat sheet for Facebook insights, for those just getting started using them.
  • Email – There’s a lot to consider, including messages opened, hard and soft bounces, click-throughs and unsubscribes. IdealWare offers explanations of each metric. If you’re not already using an email service like ConstantContact or VerticalResponse, now is the time to dive in, since tracking yourself through Outlook, etc., will be limiting and time-consuming.
  • Website – Use services like Google Analytics or Clicky to see what’s happening with visitors to your site (and your new #GivingTuesday landing/donate page). Are they staying? Donating? Or just clicking away? Knowing will help you refine your messaging.

Carrying it Forward

#GivingTuesday is not simply a single day of massive fundraising, but rather the starting gun of a year-long marathon. So how are you going to follow up after the day? Make sharing your results part of your thank-you strategy. “Your $25 helped us raise $500,000 to provide clean water to X communities.” In addition to recognizing efforts and/or generosity you’re providing a tangible sense of accomplishment donors can share in. Be ready with next steps. Know how you want to continue building that relationship, and then do it. And continue measuring results of every email campaign, every social media push, etc. Strive to constantly build momentum. As Sarah Koch says, “It’s about learning from whatever happens.” That doesn’t have to stop on December 2. Also, be sure to capture what worked, what didn’t and what you thought you could’ve done differently while it is still fresh in your mind. As we suggested in our previous posts, it is helpful to have a holding document where everyone who is involved with the campaign drops rough information and observations like: what other nonprofits stood out, did you see a great ideal for an image or a video? Be sure to capture those examples now so you can not only have it for next year, but also for other campaigns you might participate in. Want more? Look at the Knight Foundation’s GivingDay Playbook for more information on how to measure your efforts.

Ritu Sharma Ritu Sharma

The preceding is a cross-post of the Social Media for Nonprofits December 4th blog post of the same title. Ritu Sharma is the CEO and Co-Founder of Social Media for Nonprofits, an organization committed to bringing social media education to nonprofits worldwide. She convenes thought-leaders and leading practitioners in the social media space in the unique TED meet Twitter style conferences in 14 cities in three countries. She speaks frequently around the world on a variety of topics in the nonprofit and social media spheres with a passion for effecting social change through social technologies. She writes a blog at the Huffington Post on the intersection of social media, social change and leadership. Follow Ritu at LinkedIn or on Twitter @ritusharma1


Topics: Impact