Social Media for Nonprofits: Proving Your ROI and Impact through Social Media Analytics

Social Media for Nonprofits: Proving Your ROI and Impact through Social Media Analytics

Social media has radically changed the way people discover, consume, and share information about issues that matter to them. 

For nonprofits, that’s more than a good thing. 

Now your work, your impact, and your stories can get the recognition and attention they deserve.

Social media for nonprofits gives you the chance to tell your brand story, interact with your supporters and get them interested to support your campaigns. 

If you haven’t already, you need to start thinking about creating or optimizing your social media strategy.

But wait… 

Being on social media is not enough. Your efforts have to have some sort of return on investment (ROI) otherwise why spend so much time and effort on social media?

So, in comes social media analytics. 

In this blog post, we’ll show you why measuring your social media ROI is important, what you need to be measuring, and recommended tools to use. 

Jump Links:

Why Should Nonprofits Focus on Social Media?

Why It’s Important to Measure your Return on Investment (ROI) / Social ROI 

What Metrics to Track
Engagement
Reach
Website Traffic
Most Effective Channels
Conversion

Assign a Monetary Value to Each Metric Measured

ROI / SROI in Real Action
#WorldElephantDay
United Nations

Best Social Media Analytics Tools

Why Should Nonprofits Focus on Social Media?

Before we dive in, let’s first touch on why social media for nonprofits is an important marketing tool. 

Data by HubSpot reveals that the main reason why nonprofits engage in marketing efforts is to fundraise, generate brand awareness, recruit volunteers and share news.

nonprofits: why they engage in marketing
Source: HubSpot

Social media is perfect to help attain all of those goals.

Why? 

Because over 3.5 billion people currently use social media, meaning there’s no shortage of opportunities to find people who can support your cause through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

What are we trying to say here?

If used the right way, nonprofit social media marketing can greatly help you promote your organization and find people to help with your mission.

Why It’s Important to Measure your Return on Investment (ROI) / Social ROI 

Let’s get down to business.

According to The New Economics Foundation, Social Return on Investment (SROI) captures social value by translating outcomes into financial values.

While social media is exciting to use, it’s also difficult to place tangible value, especially in financial terms. 

So, even though you got 1000 likes on your Facebook post yesterday, how much did those likes contribute to your bottom line?

For marketers in nonprofits, this is a difficult question to articulate an answer for.

In a world where competition for grants is very significant, calculating your SROI can give you a competitive edge.

How? 

Measuring your SROI helps you to identify what is working and what is not. Not all social media platforms are equal. Some are better than others. 

By measuring your SROI, it will help you identify which platforms are giving you the most return, indicating which platforms you should allot time and energy towards.

Examining your social media analytics will help you see where your social media budget is most effective, especially if you use social media ads. 

You will get insights into areas where you shouldn’t be spending so much money on. 

If you don’t practice regular measurement and reporting on your social media efforts, you may end up spending time and effort on a strategy that is not getting you anywhere. 

The needs of your fans change constantly so you need to keep adjusting your social media content to match their needs. You can only do this by keeping up with your metrics constantly.  

Analyzing your SROI will give you insights into whether there are any gaps in your social media strategy, content, and key messages so that you can improve accordingly and continue to offer value to your audience.

By measuring your SROI, you will give everyone involved in the strategy a sense of purpose and a better understanding of why social media platforms are important to your organization’s mission. 

It will also help to emphasize the value your efforts are contributing to your organization’s overall goals. 

What Metrics to Track

Let’s get down to work. 

There are a lot of metrics that you can track if you want to know how effective your social media efforts are. 

However, not all metrics have the same level of importance.

Many nonprofit marketers focus mainly on vanity metrics, which is the number of fans, followers, and views. 

While these metrics are good to be aware of, they are not the most important when it comes to your SROI and measuring your impact. 

You may get excited to see your video got a million views, but you have to go deeper than just the views.

Beyond viewing the video, how many people out of the million viewers took a desired action such as making a donation? 

Worry not, there is an easy way to decide what metrics matter the most to your nonprofit. 

What you need to do is ask yourself these four questions:

  1. What does success look like to us?
  2. How will we know that we are achieving that success when we use social media?
  3. What three quantitative metrics can we create to measure this success? (eg. number of donations received)
  4. What three qualitative metrics can we create to measure this success? (eg. the interest created towards a cause)

With these questions in mind, here are five metrics that can help determine nonprofit social media success:

Engagement

Engagement refers to the kind of response your social media content is getting from your online audience. 

To measure your engagement look at the number of shares, comments, retweets, mentions, and link clicks. 

Here’s our engagement measurement formula:

Why is this an important metric? 

Engagement lets you understand what your target audience values most.

By tracking the amount of engagement your content receives, you’ll know if you’re offering people value and if not, you get a chance to do better in the future.

Reach

Reach refers to how far your messages go beyond your fans and followers. 

When your Facebook fans see your posts are they sharing them with their friends and family? When they read your blog are they sharing it on Twitter?

Reach is important, especially when you’re trying to create brand awareness or promoting a new cause.

You want as many people as possible to know about your organization and its campaigns. 

Website Traffic

You don’t want people to just see your social media content, you want them to take the desired action such as volunteer, donate, get involved in your cause, etc.

The best way to do this is to get them to your website where they can see more about your nonprofit and its activities. 

Make sure that you measure how much traffic your social media efforts are sending to your website, and the kinds of interactions these visitors have on your website.

Most Effective Channels

Focus on the channels that are giving you the most SROI. 

It’s important to understand your most effective channel so that you don’t keep wasting money and effort on platforms that are adding no value to your bottom line. 

Conversion

Remember when we talked about vanity metrics?

Here is where you separate the wheat from the chaff.

Besides attracting millions of fans, you want them to take certain actions.

This could be to donate, click on an ad, attend a charity event, visit your website, etc.

You need to know how many people take your desired actions because this is the one metric that truly informs your bottom line. 

Assign a Monetary Value to Each Metric Measured

Does your social media successfully convert traffic into donations?

proving roi and revenue for nonprofits meme
Source: Procurious

Your nonprofit needs to know whether the money and effort spent on social media are adding some monetary value. 

Guided by social media analytics, assign a bottom-line value to each type of conversion.

This will at first prove to be difficult, but as you continue to understand your social media efforts and corresponding goals, you will get better at it. So be patient with yourself. 

Here are some questions to help you assign a value to your metrics:

How much is each potential visit to your social media platforms and website worth to you?

How many donations can you collect through your social media platforms?

How much does it cost you to run effective ads to achieve your social media goals?

How much does it cost you in terms of labor? (consider the number of hours spent on social media marketing over a given period).

How much do you spend on social media tools? (eg. scheduling tools, analytics tools, etc.)

By answering these questions, you will be able to find out how much you spend and how much you make, thus allowing you to quantify (in monetary terms) your SROI.

ROI / SROI in Real Action

#WorldElephantDay Uses Keyhole to Help Find Investors

Every August 12th, the world gets together to save elephants for #WorldElephantDay. 

This annual awareness campaign is led by the World Elephant Society, a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity organization.

world elephant day

To make sure that the campaign increases reach every year, the organization uses Keyhole for Nonprofits to get more value out of its social media presence in two ways:

  1. Find and connect with influencers: Influencers are a great marketing tool to help make campaigns go viral through their spheres of influence. 
  • Identifying the right influencers can be a daunting task. World Elephant Society uses Keyhole to easily identify top influencers engaging with their hashtag (#WorldElephantDay), and directly reach out to them to amplify their message every year. 
  • By measuring how much reach their hashtag has garnered, they can know which influencers to align themselves with, in future campaigns.

    2. Collect campaign data to help secure investors and sponsoring partners: The organization works with Keyhole to help identify campaign reach, engagement, and growth and then organize all this data. The organization then presents it to potential collaborators and sponsors.

The United Nations Gains Consumer Insights with Keyhole

Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) is a global movement that mobilizes relevant stakeholders to address the major health challenges facing women and children.

Much of EWEC focuses on advocacy and helping people to understand why the health of women and children is critical to societies. 

They needed to understand who they were reaching on social media, and how they could measure the success of their strategies. 

Where are these people from? What devices do they use to access and engage with their content?

It was important for the organization to have this data so they could effectively drive their campaign forward.

Using Keyhole, the organization was able to measure:

  • Audience demographics (geography, gender, sentiments)
  • The effectiveness of partnership engagements
  • The geographical reach of their social media presence
  • How people were accessing their content

The UN was able to access these insights and extrapolate data to pivot their strategies as needed, and to measure success with their social media efforts. 

Best Social Media Analytics Tools

There are several good social media analytics tools that your nonprofit can use to measure its SROI. Here are our top picks:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the best tools to use when tracking your website traffic, audience demographics, on-site conversions and sign-ups emerging from your social media campaigns.

Facebook Insights

Facebook has become a popular charity fundraising platform. Facebook Insights, its built in analytics tool, is great in providing you with useful insights in the ‘People’ tab.

You’ll get to see audience demographics such as age, gender, and geographical distribution. 

These insights will help you understand if you are reaching the right audience and the kind of reach and engagement your social media content receives on Facebook.

Keyhole For Nonprofits

Keyhole helps hundreds of nonprofits prove their impact through Social Media Analytics to maximize reach, get more donors, and secure more sponsors over time.

Our tool helps you collect all the important metrics that you need to prove your impact to your donors and secure your donations.

Keyhole helps you to calculate how much interest and awareness your social media efforts have generated.

With this report, you can show your sponsors exactly how much value you bring as a brand partner.

More supporters bring you more funds. 

Through Keyhole you can practice social listening to find all the people talking about your cause and your nonprofit. 

These are your supporters, your advocates, and your ambassadors, people you probably didn’t know you had.

By knowing who they are, you can engage them and convert them into loyal supporters. 

We cannot emphasize enough the value of influencers to any campaign.

Keyhole will find and engage all the influencers and celebrities out there already excited about your cause. 

You want to know how much your nonprofit is growing, right?

Keyhole lets you watch your nonprofit grow over time. You will always be able to tell if your campaigns are reaching more people and if you have more followers and why. 

Wrapping Up: Where Do You Go From Here?

Measuring your nonprofit analytics is a necessary task that should be part of your social media for nonprofits strategy. 

When you’re armed with the right insights, you will always be able to make any necessary changes that will see your nonprofit achieve its overall goals. 


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free.

How PROJECT 375 Uses Keyhole to Track the Conversation Around Mental Health

Erica Jellerson gives us her expert insight into how the conversation around mental health is changing on social media, and how she and her team are using social media analytics to lead the conversation.

PROJECT 375

PROJECT 375 is a non-profit organization centered around reducing the stigma around mental health.

Erica-Jellerson Photo and Quote: "“Until now, no one talked about it.But we’re changing the conversation.”

The organization was born out of the experiences of its co-founders, NFL star Brandon Marshall and his wife– mental health advocate Michi Marshall.

Project 375 for Keyhole
Project 375 for Keyhole

In 2011, Brandon was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and spent 3 months in an intensive outpatient program at McLean Hospital.

After his experience, the critical need for stigma reduction and mental health education was immediately apparent. That’s why he, his wife, and the team are now dedicated to changing the conversation around mental health through PROJECT 375, which aims to “unlock human potential through conversation, education, and inspiration”.

The 375 Team at a Mental Health First Aid Training:

Project 375 for Keyhole

Mental Health on Social Media

Social media is one of the primary channels where the conversation around mental health is taking place, and, thanks to the public nature of social, it is also the one we have most visibility into.

According to Erica, who has been using Keyhole to monitor the conversation around mental health for years, we are currently experiencing a positive shift in its tone.

“I think we have been seeing a shift in the kinds of conversations surrounding mental health on social media. Just looking at the number of conversations taking place on these platforms, we can see it has grown instrumentally over the past couple of years. We are witnessing celebrities and everyday people alike, looking to social media to tell their stories.”

Naturally, social media is also one of the main ways that PROJECT 375 leads the conversation about mental health and connects with and understands its audience.

“We believe in meeting people where they are at. The fact is people are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all day long! Our presence must be robust on these social channels to continue to galvanize the community and move these critical conversations forward.”

The organization uses its platforms to amplify news, celebrity posts, and studies that support its messaging and further a positive dialogue around mental health, using Keyhole to track, optimize and understand their own success.

Creating Success with Keyhole

“Keyhole is my go-to for all things analytics. Knowing our audience, their likes and dislikes, the kinds of content they prefer and the times they are looking at us is mission critical. I am constantly looking at the data to see what patterns emerge and the different ways we can tweak our strategies to best serve our supporters. Social media is ever-changing and Keyhole gives us the ability to change in lockstep with the latest trends and audience preferences.”

With Keyhole, Erica and her team are able to look at key social media account and hashtag analytics that give them insights into their audience and industry and help them amplify their message.

Knowing Your Audience: Likes, Dislikes & The Content They Prefer.

Knowing your audience is key.

In a non-profit space, this helps build ideal content to increase engagement and brand awareness. By targetting the right people by demographics or location, you can also improve your success with fundraising, petition signing, or event attendance.

Some of the Insights that PROJECT 375 uses Keyhole to measure are:

Follower Location (Worldwide & US-specific):

Keyhole - Follower Location Analytics
Keyhole – Follower Location Analytics

Keyhole - Follower Location Analytics

Keyhole - Top Keywords from Follower Bios
Keyhole – Top Keywords from Follower Bios

Keywords in Bio (to gauge personas, understand interests):

Top Engagement Times (to optimize content scheduling):

Keyhole - Best Time to Post
Keyhole – Best Time to Post

“Keyhole offers us information that we can’t get by attempting to just pull analytics from each channel. It is the most user-friendly, targeted program we have used. As our communications strategies have changed over time, Keyhole has allowed us to make the most informed decisions to achieve our goals.”

Keyhole helps PROJECT 375 understand the changing conversation around mental health, as well as their own content efforts. The Marshalls, Erica and their team are then able to use this data to further their mission, reducing the stigma around mental illness through awareness and community building.

Follow PROJECT375 on Twitter to continue listening.

If you are interested in tracking conversations on social media, try Keyhole for free!

Feature-Stories-Keyhole-Customer-Success-Hero-Stories-Influencers-Social-listening-easy-reporting World Elephant Day

How #WorldElephantDay Uses Keyhole to Help Find Investors

“Media plays an impact, we had 1.6 billion impressions on #WorldElephantDay. Now, we have to find a way to turn that engagement into funding and sponsorship so that it can continue to help the elephants”.

Every August 12th, the world gets together to save elephants for #WorldElephantDay. The annual awareness campaign, which began in 2012, was created by documentary filmmaker Patricia Sims and her colleagues.

“When I started to learn about elephants, their intelligence and their emotional capabilities, I learned also about how complex some of the issues that affect them are, and decided it was important to bring the world together on finding solutions. That’s what inspired me to create World Elephant Day,” shares Patricia.

Today, Patricia continues to lead this annual campaign as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the World Elephant Society, a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity organization that supports World Elephant Day as well as its website and related events.

WED-image of Patricia

Patricia amplifies World Elephant Day through Keyhole year-round by a) finding and connecting with influencers and b) easily collecting campaign data to help secure investors and sponsoring partners.

Influencers: As the campaign has gained traction over the years, it has become globally recognized in the elephant conservation movement. Patricia shares that, as a result, influencers and organizations often use the campaign’s hashtag year round in connection to other elephant conservation movements, sponsoring programmes, and more.

By using Keyhole, Patricia and her team are able to easily identify top influencers engaging with their hashtag, and directly reach out to them to amplify their message.

“Influencers have really helped us with growth- when you can target them specifically, it can help get your message out so much more effectively,” tells us Patricia.

Data for Investors: Patricia’s team works with Keyhole to help identify campaign reach, engagement, and growth, easily organizing all this data and helping Patricia present it to potential collaborators and sponsors.

“With the data collected using Keyhole I turn engagement into action, drafting reports for potential partnerships and funders that demonstrate our growth, reach, and impact.”

Result

Keyhole has helped World Elephant Day get more value out of its social media presence.

In 2018, Patricia and her team will use this data to create a more formal brand strategy, taking advantage of the large brand impact her campaign has in the conservation space to attract sponsors and partners to support the World Elephant Day campaign and her organization year-round.

WED-image of Elephants
*All images courtesy of World Elephant Society

Keyhole Customer Success Story Special Olympics Sports Social Media Listening Influencer Marketing

How The Special Olympics Captures Significant Moments on Social with Keyhole

As the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities, the Special Olympics represent more than 4.9 million athletes, alongside 1 million volunteers across the world. They began to use the real-time social analytics platform Keyhole to capture the social buzz around their 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Special Olympics for Keyhole

How Keyhole Helps

Keyhole’s Dashboard allows Ryan and his social media team to watch the social action of the Special Olympics unfold in real-time, with context-aware Posts that sort audiences based on follower count and engagement. This provides his team with insight into who is truly a “Social Ambassador.”

Special Olympics for Keyhole

While monitoring social media action is a top priority, the social team at the Special Olympics also monitor and organize all celebrity endorsements and ambassador work, which allows the team to be far more robust when planning how social activations roll-out.

When Ryan’s team tapped model and actress Brooklyn Decker to work with the Special Olympics, they used Keyhole to see exactly how much engagement and conversions were being driven by her efforts on social. Combining influencer marketing with celebrities as well as social media stars allows Ryan and his team to really drive at what is the most optimal investment for social, year after year. All of which is monitored through Keyhole.

Social Media Analytics - ROI - Special Olympics for Keyhole

Reports from Keyhole ensure that The Special Olympics stay ahead of the game.

In a noisy social climate, being able to really drive home the organization’s importance is a top priority. Using Reports generated from Keyhole’s Tracker Dashboard, as well as custom reports infused with data from Keyhole’s API (available on certain Plans) allows the Special Olympics team to ensure that they “maintain steady growth.”

How The United Nations Gains Consumer Insights with Keyhole

Every Woman Every Child is an unprecedented global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women and children.

Every Woman Every Child was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit in September 2010.

The movement puts into action the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, which presents a roadmap to ending all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents within a generation and ensuring their well-being.

Every Woman Every Child - United Nations / UN for Keyhole

The Challenge

Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) is a UN initiative aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality, and improving health overall. Much of their work focuses on advocacy, and helping people to understand why the health of women and children is critical to societies. As part of this, they needed to understand who they were reaching on social media, and how they could measure the success of their strategies.

The Questions

The social media team at Every Woman Every Child was kind enough to share with us their goals on social and what they hope to accomplish with their various initiatives. A key component of effective messaging was getting a grasp on their truly global audience- Where are these people from? What devices do they use to access and engage with our content?— while also capturing and mobilizing this data so that they make effectively drive their campaign forward.

  • What is our demographic split in terms of geography, gender, sentiment?
  • Are we reaching enough men and boys as well as women and girls, and if not then how can we improve?
  • What devices are people using to access content?
  • How effective are our partnership engagements?

How Keyhole Helps

With Keyhole, Erin and Nada can track real-time data to easily assess their social media engagement. This allows them to measure the most important metrics to them, such as:

  • The demographic of people engaging with their posts and their mission
  • The effectiveness of partnership engagements
  • The geographical reach of their social media presence
  • The ways in which people are accessing their content

“In terms of users’ demographics: geographic location, gender, sentiment, Keyhole has the best balance of everything we want.”

Feature photo courtesy of Larm Rmah

Life is short and the internet is vast.