Nonprofit Tips: Four Simple Steps to Measuring Impact

Congratulations! You’ve survived another end of year fundraising season. You’re now probably facing the challenge of communicating and measuring impact of your campaigns in a way that makes sense to your supporters (and your non-marketing colleagues). So sing it with me now…

I-M-P-A-C-T! Find out what it means to… your campaign!


Here at Media Cause, everything we do online is tied to impact in the real world. By impact, we’re not talking about clicks, retweets, likes, or even donations. While these types of actions correlate to important goals like supporter engagement and money raised, they don’t represent your organization’s actual bottom-line goals.

Yes, I am a digital marketer who is acknowledging that clicks won’t change the world. But the opportunities those clicks create sure can! And I’m going to prove it to you.

Let me explain by giving you a real example from a project with one of our awesome clients, Kiva. For this project, they hired us to:

    1. Help design a fresh new campaign theme and marketing plan to celebrate their milestone of giving $1 billion in life-changing loans.
  1. Acquire new lenders via Facebook Ads and Google Ad Grants.

Now I’ll show you our process to measure the real impact of our campaigns and services (and we hope you use it too!).

Step One: State your organization’s bottom-line mission.

Yeah, it’s that simple, and that important. In one sentence, what is your nonprofit trying to achieve in the world? This is your organization’s North Star what all those programs, campaigns, fundraising drives, late nights, and coffee is all about.

When we get to Step Four, you’ll understand why your mission is important to have top of mind.


Step Two: Define your campaign goals.

Before you begin a campaign, you need to first define what you’re trying to accomplish. These goals can be separated into two categories: Qualitative Goals and Quantitative Goals.

Let’s start with the Qualitative Goals. In non-technical terms, this is what you’re trying to achieve through the project. Are you trying to grow your email list? Increase your email open rate? Drive more traffic to your website? List out all of the Qualitative Goals that you’re trying to achieve.

Once you’ve defined your overarching Qualitative Goals, it’s important to create corresponding Quantitative Goals to enable you to more effectively measure success.

Hint: It’s helpful to position Quantitative Goals using the SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound).


Step Three: Measure your campaign results.

Throughout your campaign, you should be continuously monitoring your data, A/B testing different ideas, and optimizing your approach to achieve your goals. But to measure your overall impact, focus on your final campaign results.

There are two types of results, Primary Data that directly relates to your campaign goals, and Secondary Data that isn’t directly relevant to this campaign but will help benchmark your future campaigns.

Pro Tip: When it comes to campaign data, Google Analytics with properly set up goal tracking is your BFF!

Examples of Primary Data from Kiva $1B Campaign:


Example of Secondary Data from Kiva’s $1B Campaign:


Step Four: Measuring impact!

Now for the fun part. While all of those numbers are great and will help you benchmark performance and optimize your future campaigns… what does it really mean? Since I’m fairly certain that your nonprofit’s mission is not to run Facebook campaigns with a low Cost per Acquisition, we need to think back to “Step One: State your organization’s bottom-line mission.” Your campaign impact should always correlate to your organization’s mission.

Let’s give it a whirl. Since Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, the most important metric is the number of entrepreneurs that the campaign funded. To figure this out, we need to do some math:

From, we know that $1.07B in loans (from 1.7M lenders) have been given to 2.4M borrowers. Let’s figure out the average loan per borrower so we know approximately how many entrepreneurs were funded by our campaign.

$1.07B loans — 2.4M  borrowers = $411 average loan per borrower

$6,311,050 (total loans raised from the campaign) $411 avg loan size per borrower = Approximately 15,355 borrowers funded from the campaign

Pro Tip: To go even deeper, you could even measure the resources and money spent on the campaign to determine your bottom-line Return on Investment.

That’s a whole lot of inspiring entrepreneurs funded…now we’re talking real, measurable impact! Let’s turn it into a statement:



Imagine that statement in an email or social media post to your supporters! If I had given a loan during that campaign, it’d give me an incredible amount of pride. And if I hadn’t, I sure wouldn’t want to miss the next campaign. It’s the momentum of communicating real, sustainable impact that will inspire and motivate your community for years to come.

And this is exactly what I meant when I said that “clicks won’t change the world, but the opportunities those clicks create sure can.”

Another benefit of measuring impact is creating a purpose-driven culture at your organization. Envision a workplace where all departments understood how their work directly contributed to impact; not only would people be more fulfilled, but they’d also become more efficient over time.

I hope these four simple steps will help your organization measure and communicate the true impact of your work to your colleagues and supporters!

Looking for help designing, executing, or measuring the impact of a campaign? Contact us! We’d love to chat.


Related Posts