How to Measure the Impact of Digital Strategy on Advancement

If your advancement team is like most, you’ve already incorporated social media into your alumni engagement playbook. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become a key part of your engagement strategy—helping your alumni and development offices connect with constituents and get a pulse on what your audiences care about.

Once you’ve mastered the art of creating engaging social content, however, measurement is the tricky next step. To start, you might measure social media’s impact on brand awareness by counting the number of fans, likes, and comments that a social account or post generates.  

Digital Strategy in Advancement

But is it enough to celebrate that you got 200 likes on a Facebook post about your giving day?

While those 200 likes are a good sign that alumni love your institution (and the content you’re sharing), there’s more to it than that.

Think of social media not just as an engagement tool, but also as a lead acquisition and generation tool. Who are those 200 people, and what’s their history with your institution? Did they donate this year? Volunteer? Attend an event? How can your team continue to nurture those social leads with engagement and giving opportunities?

Once you understand that concept, the next step is to connect the dots from social media to pipeline development, dollars raised, and major gift cultivation efforts.

Below, we’ve put together a simple framework to help you do just that.

At the end of the fiscal year, you should be able to measure:

 

1. Did social engagement increase?

a) By how much?
b) What was the cost per socially engaged alumnus/a? (Total Facebook spend divided by the number of socially engaged alumni in the FY)

To measure this, simply compare the total number of socially engaged alumni at the beginning of the FY to the number at the end of FY. So, if you started the year with 5,000 socially engaged alumni and ended with 10,000, social engagement increased by 100 percent.               

If you have EverTrue, you can accomplish this by using the “Engaged on Facebook” and date range filters.

Each year you graduate X people to be alumni, your Facebook page should grow organically, if you're lucky enough to have one page. Our pages will always have growth as long as we make alumni.

Matt Hames
Matt Hames
Communications Strategist, Colgate University

2. Did increased social engagement lead to improved annual giving conversion, directly or indirectly?

a) By how much?

If you’re actively targeting your socially engaged alumni with appeals throughout the year (which you should!), take stock of your conversion rate at the end of year. For example, if you have 500 engagers and 50 of them made a gift during the FY, that’s a 10 percent conversion rate. You could compare that to the conversion rate of unengaged alumni who made a gift during the same time frame.

3. Did increased social engagement grow your donor pipeline?

a) How many new prospects were identified via digital engagement?
b) How many first-time gift officer visits can be attributed to digital insights?
c) What is the value of the cash in or proposals outstanding associated with those digital prospects?

Throughout the year, keep a running list of prospects identified via social media engagement, or create a lead source label in your database called “Social Media” so you can pull the report later. (For EverTrue users, you might create a list called “New Prospects via Social Media FY XX” and add any newly identified, engaged prospects to that list.)

But don’t stop there! As those prospects move into gift officer portfolios, track how they progress through the solicitation cycle. Are socially engaged prospects more likely to take a visit from a gift officer? Make a gift? These data points will help you understand the impact of your social media efforts on fundraising results.          

Learn how Cornell University tracks and measures social engagement to deliver custom content to thousands of alumni.

These are just a few ideas. What is your advancement team doing to measure the impact of your digital presence at the end of the year?  

If you’re an EverTrue customer, your Customer Success Manager is here to help you strategize! Contact us to learn more about implementing this framework in your office.