Here’s why web analytics are good for your nonprofit’s website

Arab Foundations Forum (WINGS member) and communications partner, Alliance magazine, launched new websites recently, showing how content presentation can be just as important as the content itself. We’re happy with both redesigns and we hope you’ll explore their websites when you’re able.

Are you a WINGS member and redesigned your website? Tell is in the comments below or email us.

Making your content visually appealing and easy to find is important, but what about the “invisible” part — the numbers that tell the story of your website, and how that story fits into the big picture of global philanthropy? While it’s easy to see the benefits of navigating and reading a website with ease, web analytics are still largely ignored, and immediate and longterm gains are often overlooked.

Jim Lynch at TechSoup Global says “web analytics tools gather data that can help nonprofits better engage stakeholders, drive donations, and measure the success of their online presence.” And he’s right. In his blog for TechSoup, Lynch shares some words from tech and philanthropy expert Lucy Bernholz. A recent Cardinal Path white paper on digital data quoted her saying, “Nonprofits and foundations do all the same things with digital data that businesses do — they collect, store, use, share, mine, retain, and destroy it.” The white paper also explains the benefits of collecting web analytics for nonprofits. Knowing who is visiting your website and what they do when they get there is a good way of learning what your audience needs, which in turn can inform strategic planning and board member communications.

Bernholz shares more on private resources used for public benefit in her 2015 annual industry forecast. Download the report from the WINGS Knowledge Center.

The key takeaway is that web analytics can help drive your organization’s mission and work. Lynch shares a list of data tools (including the one we use, Google Analytics) explaining how tracking data lets you see the number of people visiting your site and where they are from, as well as the pages they use and how long they stay. This data gives you a better view of your achieved and potential impact, and might even provide the justification for expanding programs or requesting resources. Here’s another TechSoup blog that gives a nice introduction to Web Analytics Resources for Nonprofits.

We always strive to keep our analytics practices current and we hope you will too! Do you want to use web analytics but aren’t sure where to start? Do you currently use analytics and want to share a best practice or lesson learned? Tell us in the comments below.

Don’t forget to join our webinar on Wednesday 11 Feb, when the Foundation Center will demonstrate ‘Foundation Maps‘, the new data visualization tool that covers more than 3 million grants around the world, and lets users see their work in a broader context and explore giving trends over time. Register here.

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