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Choosing the right metrics to target for your charity’s marketing strategy

two digital marketing specialists inspecting a bar graph

Start at the beginning.

It’s easy to get pulled into a conversation where all anyone cares about are how many new followers your charity’s social channels have acquired that week, or what the click-through rate is on the latest ad campaign. But what’s more important is not the stats that answer these questions – it’s whether these questions are the right ones to ask. 

To get to a point where you have everyone in your charity lined up behind the stats you are reporting on, you need to start at the beginning. Go back to the organisation’s overall strategy.

A good example here is Samaritans. (And just to note, I’m using this purely as an example, we’ve not worked with them at all on this, so full credit to the Samaritans team!)

vision mission values infographic for marketing

Their vision:

Fewer people die by suicide.

Their mission: 

Here every day and night for anyone struggling to cope. They make sure people have support and somewhere to turn when they need it most. They work with communities to let people know they’re there for them, and they campaign to make suicide prevention a priority. 

Their strategy: 

Tackling suicide together: providing a safe space in uncertain times.

From these bedrocks, they’ve built out five strategic priorities: 

          1. Access
          2. Reach
          3. Impact
          4. Capacity
          5. Sustainability

Each of these areas could (and potentially should) have specific digital marketing metrics aligned to them. 

Looking at the first area as an example: 

Access: Make sure anyone who needs us can access our support.

The challenge: We cannot always meet the demand for Samaritans’ services and there is a risk that people who are trying to contact us can’t get through or get the response they need.

Ambition: People will be able to access our support whenever they need it and get through to us in a way that works for them.

Samaritans have six action points to achieve this: 

  • Recruit more volunteers
  • Expand digital services
  • Improve service to callers
  • Review and improve accessibility to hubs
  • Undertake targeted recruitment campaigns to increase diversity
  • Improve rotas

Some of these areas link to digital marketing and metrics that could be used to measure progress.

Recruitment needs reach, click-through, landing page sessions, and conversion. To hit the diversity metrics, you could look at specific demographics within the conversion regarding marginalised groups.

Digital service metrics could look at awareness of these offerings through snapshot surveys, landing page sessions (again), conversions around opening the chat option, and the length of engagement.

OKR framework for marketing - diagramTo make the most of these stats, I’d suggest using an OKR framework (objectives and key results). Setting an overall objective for each of these areas (which is already done in this instance – Samaritans could use their Ambition here as the objective) and then key results, including targets for each operational area. This is then measured quarterly, with relevant targets in place.

So in this instance, it may look something like this: 

Objective: People will be able to access our support whenever they need it and get through to us in a way that works for them.

Key results: 

  • Improve reach of recruitment campaign from x to y by Q2
  • Reach xx,xxx landing page sessions on samaritans.org.uk/volunteer
  • Improve conversions of those on the support page, who go on to use the live chat support by x%
  • Hit x% conversions from target demographics

Setting these key results out for each area that you, as Marketing, are responsible for contributing to, is vital in ensuring you can report on areas that matter without being distracted by vanity metrics. If they are tied back to the original organisational strategy, it’s far easier to get buy-in from relevant stakeholders too. Win win!

If you need any support in working out which digital metrics are best to focus on for your charity, get in touch with our strategy team. We’d love to chat. 

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