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Charity Digital Benchmark: Using Data for Good

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The Greatest Charity Digital Benchmark

We’ve got some exciting news to share. Uprise Up have created a subsidiary, Digital Benchmark Limited, to use as a focussed vehicle to manage and grow the Charity Digital Benchmark, as we take on the mantle from CharityComms. Some of our clients and friends are members of the Digital benchmark already.

For anyone not aware though, the CharityComms Digital Benchmark has been established since 2013, when CharityComms got together with a number of other charities and charity digital consultant Bertie Bosredom to share their Google Analytics data in a common dashboard.

 

What is the Charity Digital Benchmark?

The basic premise of the benchmark is that by sharing their data with each other in a closed group dashboard, all members will be able to learn from each other, spot opportunities and understand charity sector digital media trends.

Since I first heard about it, I loved the idea. Uprise Up got involved in 2017, when we advised that Data Studio would be the most effective means by which to create a dashboard. Shortly afterwards we were volunteering on the CharityComms Digital benchmark to develop the dashboard, and later, a database to process the data. Since then it’s been a passion project for us, and amazing to have been involved. In 2021 we won the Drum Award ‘Best use of Data’ beating John Lewis, ITV and the NFL!

The new organisational structure

Digital Benchmark Limited’ is now going to manage the CharityComms Digital Benchmark, (now named ‘Charity Digital Benchmark’).

Digital Benchmark Limited is owned by Uprise Up and I am now the MD of both. We created Digital Benchmark Limited as a separate entity that can focus on developing and improving the Charity Digital Benchmark. Also, as a separate legal entity, we can share its financial accounts with CharityComms.

We are still working in close partnership with CharityComms, who will be on our new Advisory Board, and have access to our quarterly financial accounts. Also on the Advisory Board will be Bertie Bosrédon, who has been working on the Digital Benchmark since its inception.

 

Developing the Charity Digital Benchmark

We believe that the cooperative sharing of data in the charity sector will supercharge the rate at which we maximise on the potential of digital media. This will help member charities realise their vision – and it will drive the positive impact of digital campaigns across the sector.

This benchmark database is going to be a significant component to the digital strategy toolkit of all UK charities; and by extension, it will be instrumental in supporting the development of best practice in the industry.

Currently there are four areas of opportunity where we are looking to enhance the Charity Digital Benchmark:

Making a GA4 Analytics compliant version. UA Analytics stops altogether at the end of June, so this is an absolute must. We’re all systems go on developing the new dashboard. Our team are working hard to have it functioning in April.

Improving the existing dashboard.

Because the new dashboard will be using Google Big Query, we expect it to be faster as well as have a greater range of data.

Over time we’d like to increase the metrics we report on, including adding common conversion metrics, such as membership sign-ups, online donations, or volunteer recruitment. We’ll also be able to separate Google Ad grants from Paid search, pull more audience demographic data, nullify the impact of various cookie policies on the data and improve the separation of paid and organic social media.

There will be improved data visualisation and design. We’ve a member of the team focussed on developing this.

Growing the membership. The more members we have, the more robust the sample size. Also, increased membership will help us to better cut the data in various ways, just as by type of charity, size or location.

Deliver greater value to the membership. This includes training and supporting members using the Benchmark, arranging peer to peer meetings, (such as roundtables to discuss sector trends), and sharing more commentary and insight on the benchmark data..

To ensure the benchmark data is accurate, we’ll also be providing a free Google Analytics review and monitoring service for all members, which will act as your third-part check for any data inaccuracies.

 

Join the Advisory Board as a charity member representative

If you’re as excited about the potential of this project as us and can spare a few hours each year, we would love your support to help develop the benchmark further. We’re looking for two charity member representatives to join the Advisory Board. The Board will meet every quarter (online) and discuss improvements to the benchmark, the annual survey and the annual conference.

Members of the Advisory Board will have additional influence over shaping the benchmark for the future. They would also have first sight of modifications, annual survey data, and be able to raise the profile of their charity within the group. Please let me know if you might be interested in joining and I’ll send more details.

 

Timeline for Charity Digital Benchmark development

Timeline for Charity Digital Benchmark Developments

 

Below, we have highlighted key milestones and deliverables we’re looking to achieve over the next few months. As of now, Digital Benchmark Limited are actively managing the current (UA Analytics) benchmark. If you need anything or can see any issues, please let me know.

March

New website. Launches by the end of March. This will be a library for blogs and insights and will be an important tool as we increase membership.

 

April

New GA4 Benchmark operational. We expect this to be ready in April (we’re currently aiming for early April).

New member agreements. New agreements need to be with Digital Benchmark Limited. We’ll also be moving to a monthly subscription model to provide you greater flexibility as members. Continuing members of the current benchmark will be on a £35 rate for at least a year. Our rate for new members will increase in 2024, but the lower rate for current members will be locked-in until at least 2025.

 

May

New Community Manager. Once things are up and running, we will recruit a Community Manager to be your first point of contact. They will keep everything organised, including project management of the continuous developments to the benchmark and onboarding new members. We’ll likely start recruiting for this post in May.

Annual survey. We’d love to reinstate this as it will help us to deliver increasingly better insights and service to our members. We’re aiming for the survey to go out in May.

 

June

Annual online members meeting. We would like to reinstate this meeting too. Our current plans are to host the first one in June.

Updates to the UA dashboard will stop at the end of June. This is because UA Analytics will stop processing data at the end of June as Google moves to GA4. Existing data (up to the end of June) will still be available until 2024, and we are exploring ways to keep the old data on our record. If you would like guidance on how to keep your UA analytics data available after Google deletes it next year, please let us know.

 

Digital Benchmark Feedback

If anyone has any feedback on the digital benchmark, we’d love to hear from you. This is very much a collaborative effort, initially created by its membership. It can be of tremendous value to charities, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Help drive change for the charity sector

If you’re not in it already, we’d love for you to join the Digital Benchmark. There has never been a better time. We are keeping the benchmark free until at least August, so the GA4 benchmark has a chance to demonstrate its value before charging.

All members of the benchmark at that time will have their rate fixed at £59, until at least 2025. In 2024 we expect the monthly rate to increase to £90 for new members. If you sign up now, we’ll be able to add you to the UA Analytics benchmark, as well as the GA4 benchmark which should be live before May.

With a lot of developments coming up across the next few months, sign up now to gain access to the greatest resource of charity data and insights! You can email us at hello@digitalbenchmark.co.uk to discuss becoming a member.

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