Digital Communications & Marketing

How to Use Website Analytics to Measure “Awareness”

November 6, 2014
I always struggled with the fuzzy goal of “raising awareness” that came along with most of my nonprofit jobs. If a nonprofit raised awareness and no one measured it… did it really happen. The good news is that we can now use a free tool like Google Analytics to identify some markers of increased “awareness”.

Inventing the Future of…Websites

November 5, 2014
When I go about ‘designing’ a website, I think of the website as a sum of parts — planning ahead to how the site’s going to look at the end, and how it’s going to feel.

Measuring Digital Maturity

October 14, 2014
As digital marketing technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, organizations are making large investments to keep up with new innovations; it’s more important for them than ever to measure the progress and impact of their digital programs. This impact needs to be measured through the lens of the company’s overarching goals and performance. What are the challenges associated with digital maturity measurement? How can nonprofits ensure that they are evaluating the right information in order to be successful with their digital initiatives?

Data Visualizations to Effectively Communicate Impact

October 13, 2014
If you’re like me, you’re crunching numbers on your impact metrics at the last minute, pulling together a report on the fly. There’s no time to meet with a designer. And more importantly, the vast majority of graphic designers do not know enough about data to make a decent graph. So I’m going to teach you four basic tweaks you can make to graphs right inside Excel that will elevate them to rockstar status – tweaks that mix data and design – to best communicate your work’s impact.

Developing the Data Value Chain

September 24, 2014
Data is like crude oil. In and of itself it isn’t valuable. Only when you do you something with it does it create real value. Only when it goes through a process is value created from this raw resource. The problem is that when we talk about “data” we often confuse the thing (a raw resource that is not inherently valuable) and the value chain (“the power of big data”). This confusion can lead organizations to under-invest in the value chain and thus not see the results they hoped for.

Data Maturity: Where Does Your Nonprofit Stand?

September 22, 2014
We are all feeling the pressure to quantify our work. Donors want metrics, the board wants key performance indicators, our staff want clear and measurable goals. Increasingly, we are expected to be able to take the nuanced work we do in the community and package it up. The absolute focus on quantifiable measurements is harmful, but it is clear that in the right situation measurements are incredibly powerful tools.

Failing Forward: Why building failure into your organizational culture can make it more successful

September 19, 2014
Most people bristle at the sound of the “F” word. Failing is something to be ashamed of or something to use for deprecation (#FAIL, anyone?). But failing can be one of the most powerful tools your organization has to continuously innovate and improve its programs.

From Big Data to Big Insights: Using data science to transform your work

September 18, 2014
Ah data, that “black gold” that is now everywhere. In fact, many have pronounced that “data is the new oil,” yet we’re still struggling with how to harness its potential. Worse still, many people are struggling just to understand what it really means. All this information could be used to make more informed decisions, react more quickly to changes, and better understand our environments. However, while we are surrounded by more data than ever before, we need a way to extract meaning from all this bubblin crude. Enter data science!

Are you Sending Mixed Messages to your Members?

September 16, 2014
Imagine this scenario: A supporter clicks the “donate” link in one of your emails and gives to your organization through the website. Afterward, the supporter tweets her support and gets an enthusiastic re-tweet from your organization’s Twitter handle. She also receives an automated gift acknowledgement email from your donation system, as well as a mailed “Thank You” letter from your development department the following month.  Through this seemingly simple interaction, the donor has touched your communications, IT, and development departments.

The Six Simple Stages to Successful Campaign Planning

August 21, 2014
Are you looking to win support for an issue, impact policy, or get a corporation or government body to change its policies? Follow this roadmap to put successful campaign strategies in place.