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Sorcha Rochford, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Nation Builder, on Data Privacy – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Brady Josephson

Sorcha Rochford, the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Nation Builder, joins the chat with Brady to talk about data privacy, explain GDPR and CCPA, discuss how to navigate data policies to reach donors, and how this election season may impact fundraising.

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Brady Josephson

Brady is a charity nerd. He's an adjunct professor, fundraising writer, speaker, and podcast host and a huge Liverpool FC fan (#YNWA). At NextAfter, he oversees training and research to help nonprofits raise more money online to fund their life-changing work.


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Steven Shattuck, Author of Robots Make Bad Fundraisers, on Fundraising in 2020 – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Brady Josephson

Steven Shattuck, author of the new book Robots Make Bad Fundraisers, joins to talk about the perils of technology and how it applies to the fundraising space, the importance of human relationships, and fundraising in 2020.

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Brady Josephson

Brady is a charity nerd. He's an adjunct professor, fundraising writer, speaker, and podcast host and a huge Liverpool FC fan (#YNWA). At NextAfter, he oversees training and research to help nonprofits raise more money online to fund their life-changing work.


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Kris Putnam-Walkerly, Author of Delusional Altruism, on Philanthropy – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Brady Josephson

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, author of the new book Delusional Altruism, helps philanthropists increase the clarity, impact and joy in their giving. In this episode, Kris shares with us what exactly delusional altruism means, what philanthropy is like in times of crisis, and philanthropy trends and tips that can help nonprofits looking to get more funding.

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About the author:

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Brady Josephson

Brady is a charity nerd. He's an adjunct professor, fundraising writer, speaker, and podcast host and a huge Liverpool FC fan (#YNWA). At NextAfter, he oversees training and research to help nonprofits raise more money online to fund their life-changing work.


The world's most mind-bending virtual phenomenon for online fundraising & digital marketing... NIO SummitLearn More »

Harvey McKinnon, Author of How to Create Lifelong Donors Through Monthly Giving, on Giving – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Brady Josephson

Monthly giving guru Harvey McKinnon has written a new book on monthly giving and joins to chat about that book, why people do or do not give, and how long it would take us to rebuild civilization if we started from scratch today (random, we know).

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About the author:

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Brady Josephson

Brady is a charity nerd. He's an adjunct professor, fundraising writer, speaker, and podcast host and a huge Liverpool FC fan (#YNWA). At NextAfter, he oversees training and research to help nonprofits raise more money online to fund their life-changing work.


The world's most mind-bending virtual phenomenon for online fundraising & digital marketing... NIO SummitLearn More »

Sarah Welch, Vice President at ideas42, on Narrowing the Charitable Intention-Action Gap – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Brady Josephson

People in the US think they spend 6% of their income on charitable giving but in reality, they spend around 3%. That’s the charitable intention-action gap. In this episode Sarah Welch from ideas42 — a nonprofit organization using behavioral science to address complex social problems like charitable giving — shares different research and ideas that organizations can use to narrow and close that gap.

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About the author:

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Brady Josephson

Brady is a charity nerd. He's an adjunct professor, fundraising writer, speaker, and podcast host and a huge Liverpool FC fan (#YNWA). At NextAfter, he oversees training and research to help nonprofits raise more money online to fund their life-changing work.


The world's most mind-bending virtual phenomenon for online fundraising & digital marketing... NIO SummitLearn More »

Laura Gee, Professor of Economics at Tufts University, on The Altruism Budget, Matching, & More – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Brady Josephson

Do people have a set ‘altruism budget’ that once spent is spent or is it more flexible? Can it grow? Does it shift? Laura Gee, Associate Professor of Economics at Tufts University, joins to share research she’s done around the altruism budget as well as other research around donor psychology and giving.

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About the author:

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Brady Josephson

Brady is a charity nerd. He's an adjunct professor, fundraising writer, speaker, and podcast host and a huge Liverpool FC fan (#YNWA). At NextAfter, he oversees training and research to help nonprofits raise more money online to fund their life-changing work.


The world's most mind-bending virtual phenomenon for online fundraising & digital marketing... NIO SummitLearn More »

Justin Wheeler, CEO of Funraise, on COVID-19 Response, Global Trends Survey, & More – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Brady Josephson

Why start a tech company serving nonprofits? How are nonprofits responding to COVID-19? Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Justin Wheeler, CEO of Funraise, answers all of these questions and more in this episode.

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Want to come on the podcast? Have questions you want us to answer or guests you think we should have on? We’d love to hear from you, email us at podcast@nextafter.com.

About the author:

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Brady Josephson

Brady is a charity nerd. He's an adjunct professor, fundraising writer, speaker, and podcast host and a huge Liverpool FC fan (#YNWA). At NextAfter, he oversees training and research to help nonprofits raise more money online to fund their life-changing work.


The world's most mind-bending virtual phenomenon for online fundraising & digital marketing... NIO SummitLearn More »

Marina Glogovac, CEO of CanadaHelps, on Charitable Giving in Canada and #COVID19 Response – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Brady Josephson

Online giving is growing 3 times faster in Canada than overall giving. That’s according to the latest CanadaHelps Giving Report and one of the things Marina Glogovac, CEO of CanadaHelps, discusses in this episode. She also shares other key findings from the report as well as some early insights into Canadian giving in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Want to come on the podcast? Have questions you want us to answer or guests you think we should have on? We’d love to hear from you, email us at podcast@nextafter.com.

About the author:

Avatar

Brady Josephson

Brady is a charity nerd. He's an adjunct professor, fundraising writer, speaker, and podcast host and a huge Liverpool FC fan (#YNWA). At NextAfter, he oversees training and research to help nonprofits raise more money online to fund their life-changing work.


The world's most mind-bending virtual phenomenon for online fundraising & digital marketing... NIO SummitLearn More »

Google Analytics for Nonprofits with Chris Mercer – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Nathan Hill

For the past few months, Chris Mercer – better know as just “Mercer” – has been crafting a course for on Google Analytics for nonprofits. So many fundraisers desperately need the insights that Google Analytics can offer, but knowing how to use the platform to answer key questions is a skill that’s often hard to come by.

In this episode of The Generosity Freakshow, Mercer makes getting started with Google Analytics super simple.

Watch the video interview with Mercer.

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Or, if you’d rather, you can read the full conversation with Chris Mercer on Google Analytics for nonprofits below.

Read the conversation with Mercer on Google Analytics for Nonprofits

Brady Josephson:

Mercer, thanks for sitting down for this interview.

Chris Mercer:

I appreciate you having me. It’s great to be here, Brady.

Brady Josephson:

We just finished this awesome course on Google Analytics for Nonprofits. I say we, but you did all the work.

Chris Mercer:

I couldn’t have done it without your incredible direction, so thank you for that and it was, it was a phenomenal experience.

Brady Josephson:

I want to talk a little bit more about the course, but at a broader level, what is Google analytics and why is it so important for nonprofits and growing generosity? But before that, how in the world did you get into Google analytics and become this wizard of Google analytics.

Chris Mercer:

It’s like this origin story?

Brady Josephson:

Was that your dream, a young boy?

Chris Mercer:

from the time I was seven I thought I’m going to master this platform.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

So the way that we came into it is I actually created a WordPress site that showed people how to build WordPress sites. It was a membership site. It was my first little online experience. That led into people saying, well this is a lot of work. Can you just build a WordPress site for me? So we started doing that, and I built a company that actually created that. What I wanted to do was separate ourselves out. So I decided, well, instead of, because a lot of people build WordPress sites, I wanted to separate ourselves out and say, well I’m going to optimize WordPress sites, because optimization was not a thing back in the day. Now all of a sudden it became sexier in the US with conversion rate optimization. So I was like, okay, we’re going to be optimizers for WordPress sites that we build.

Chris Mercer:

Well in order to optimize, in order to make things better, sort of have to know where you are. So we thought, okay, well there’s this thing called analytics, we’ll throw that on the pages, that’s going to tell us where we are. So we got in and we started using that and we started learning like, okay, you can’t just throw it on the page and then start using it. You have to set it up. It requires some preparation. So we started doing that. We started getting better at it and better at it. And then we were obviously working on optimization, but we would go back and we would show our clients and say, oh, in analytics this is where it tracks your leads. Well in analytics, this is where it tracks your revenue coming in. In analytics, here’s where you can tell you the traffic sources from that most recent campaign.

Chris Mercer:

So we kept doing that and they would be like, okay, well let’s, you know what? Forget about the website, go back to the analytics and show us that. And all of a sudden we started getting referrals and we’ve always been good at getting referrals, but they came from people saying, oh we want you to build a site. Those referrals started becoming, hey, you were talking to such and such, a friend of mine about their analytics. Can I show you my analytics? Can you maybe take a look at that? And so we went, okay, there’s a pivot here.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

Nobody was really teaching this, nobody was doing the way that we did to really help make it useful. So we went through and we really started doubling down on that, and that’s how Measurement Marketing.IO was born.

Brady Josephson:

Amazing. Well and that’s definitely been my experience with Google Analytics, like marketing director and working in digital and so needing to know Google Analytics but having no idea and especially not knowing where to turn. So you Google, Google Analytics, and you get all these different results and it’s too in the weeds and it’s really hard to know.

Chris Mercer:

Some of them are four years old, you’re like, it doesn’t look like this at all right now. I have no idea.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah, it’s so complicated, whereas the reason why we partnered with you on this course is you have this great framework that you walk through, and so much of it starts with actually how to set up, before you even get to reading reports and managing it, it’s actually all the legwork. That was the big aha moment going through this course.

Chris Mercer:

Yeah.

Brady Josephson:

Why is that so critical and crucial to actually using Google Analytics? So people should know what Google is, maybe just give them the quick, what is Google Analytics, and then talk about why the preparation is such a big problem that organizations face.

Chris Mercer:

Sure. So for those that haven’t used Google Analytics, analytics is really a platform that you can use to collect and store and then ultimately build reports on the behaviors that are happening on your site. So you can see what traffic sources are causing traffic to come in. You can see what the results of that traffic are. You can start to measure conversion rates. That’s what analytics can tell you. So it’s an incredible platform for that. The challenge is, and I think we started the same way to be honest, everybody I think starts this, it’s so easy to turn it on, and then you see information coming through and you’re like, oh, reports, let’s go look and see it. And everyone’s like, well, and I’ve heard this a lot, it’s like if only I knew how to search through and hack through that data, I could find the thing that’s going to make me a super marketer. The thing that’s going to make me a hero for my company, if I only knew how to read this report in a certain way and you have this idea that there is a hidden story in analytics. That I understand, because again, I was the same way when it came to that and then I realized it’s only hidden because it’s not prepared in any way, shape or form.

Chris Mercer:

So if you literally took a storybook like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and you rip out the pages and I switched the order around and then I give them to you, that story, is a hidden story.

Brady Josephson:

My son does that by the way.

Chris Mercer:

There you go. So you know, exactly. You’ve been challenged this before. So you have these hidden stories and that’s what it is. The information is sort of out of order, it doesn’t look quite right, isn’t the right format and it’s harder to read.

Chris Mercer:

But if you take the time to say, okay, well I’m going to take the order of the pages and I’m going to numerically put them together. All of a sudden that story becomes simple.

Brady Josephson:

Right.

Chris Mercer:

If you don’t have to, it’s not that you became a better reader. Your reading skill is the same, it’s that now it’s easier to read, and that’s what the preparation of Google Analytics is so important, because all of a sudden the reports aren’t cryptic anymore. They tell a story and you go, oh my gosh, I actually know exactly what’s going on. I know the results I’m getting and I know how I’m getting those results, so I know to stop doing things that aren’t working and to start scaling things that are.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah, well and everyone that we work with and when we teach, we try to teach from a stance of data, and it’s like actually once you understand data, strategy is relatively easy, if the data is clean and you have an idea of what you’re looking at. It’s actually fairly simple then to say, oh, well then this is what we should do.

Chris Mercer:

Exactly.

Brady Josephson:

Even data interpretation is really only a problem because you’re often dealing with poor or unclean or incomplete.

Chris Mercer:

Shouldn’t have to interpret it.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah. It should be pretty straight forward.

Chris Mercer:

It shouldn’t be a lot of energy, it should just be right there in front of you if it’s done right.

Brady Josephson:

How do you get people to buy into the fact that, okay you’re going to have to take some extra time, really understand, commit to a certain UTM tagging structure, updating your reports, staying on top. How do you get that kind of buy-in? Because I’m sure a lot of people will go through the course and be like, oh but I need a report this afternoon. How can we win that almost cultural battle to say this is so critical. Have you had any success or do you run into that or how can we?

Chris Mercer:

There is, that’s a really good question. So there’s two answers that, one is there is a truth to the slower you go, the faster you get there, in a lot of ways. Otherwise what you end up doing is spinning your wheels over and over again, looking at a report, trying to slice and dice data-

Brady Josephson:

Right, every month.

Chris Mercer:

It takes you 18 weeks, and now you’re still not any improvement, really, because you couldn’t take any action, but if you had gone slower and take the setup and waited until the second month, all of a sudden you get actual insights you can then take movement on. You can build momentum. And that brings me to the second part, which is you get good enough to get going. You don’t think about it in terms of, I don’t have time for this complete setup, because my question to you would be like, what do you mean by complete set up? Just start using UTMs for Facebook traffic. And then add UTMs later for email traffic and then all of a sudden you’re going to start getting addicted to that. And you’ll say, what else can we UTM, what else can I determine is traffic? And then you might change how UTM because you want to answer bigger questions now, and all of a sudden you go, well, well how is that traffic working? You’re like, oh, I don’t have any goals set up. Okay, well now I’m going to add goals.

Chris Mercer:

So it’s not about sitting down for 12 hours of preparation. It’s about getting good enough to get going and then you answer the questions at that level and then when those bigger questions come in, you go, okay, well now we’re going to improve things so we can get those answers. That’s how that whole process works. It’s all about getting momentum and that’s a very popular way to get out of that cycle in your head is you think, okay, am I being perfect or am I just need to get good enough to get going? And get good enough to get going, you cannot go wrong.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah, no, that makes sense. That’s what we often talk about with testing too, is don’t worry about running the absolute most perfect tests, but just start testing, and then people do get addicted and go, oh, that was actually pretty easy, or, oh that was pretty cool.

Chris Mercer:

I wonder what else I can do.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah, and then the wheels start spinning.

Chris Mercer:

People get excited about it.

Brady Josephson:

Right. That makes sense. What are some of maybe the common problems that you see? Nonprofit, for-profit, big, small, just common problems that people have with Google Analytics. Maybe more precise. So like setup and planning is a problem, but what are some of the more-

Chris Mercer:

Like within that?

Brady Josephson:

Yeah, within that, once they get going, what are some common things you see all the time?

Chris Mercer:

Yeah, I would say typically what I would see that I can almost, it’s the things like, okay, if you had to bet money, what would you see back there that’s going to be a common thing?

Brady Josephson:

Pretend I asked you that question.

Chris Mercer:

Perfect. I love it. Good question.

Brady Josephson:

Thank you.

Chris Mercer:

Good question, Brady. So the first thing I would say is, if I would go into the backend of their analytics, so I have to go to their admin setups, and I look at the views, chances are they’re going to have one view and it’s going to say all website data. Because that’s the default view, and nobody really knows to change that or to think about changing that. But really you need to have three views and you need a backup view, you need a testing view, you need a production view. The actual one that you make decisions off of. Now why do you need three views? The reason is because you have all of these things that views can do that you don’t know they can do.

Chris Mercer:

Things like filters, so you can create one view that talks about a specific, maybe a certain donor journey that’s coming through, a certain event, maybe you have certain goals around that event. Well that view could just talk about that version of the story and that’s it. You’ve got another view where your team is in there testing things and making sure your site is working left to right. They want to be able to measure and track themselves and that’s maybe your testing view. Then you’ve got another different production view that might be set out there to make sure you’re tracking your email campaigns and there’s goals around email campaigns so they need a view.

Chris Mercer:

So like in our case we have, I want to say probably eight or nine different views that we use for production and each, because each of those views is telling a different story based on the product and the questions that we’re answering. Then we have our testing views, where we’re tweaking and stuff back there. And why do we have testing views? Because we mess stuff up, you’re going to, and it happens all the time. If you messed up in a testing view it doesn’t matter, because it’s a testing view. And then we have the backup view, and why do we have the backup view? And there’s only one of those. The reason we have the backup view, and it shouldn’t be, there’s no filters, there’s no goals, it’s not being used for anything just.

Brady Josephson:

Just pure raw data.

Chris Mercer:

Just pure raw data.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

The reason we do that is because that is our, in case of emergency, break glass. That’s how we look at that. So if we mess something up in our testing view but we didn’t realize it, and then we roll that filter out to production and all of a sudden half of our data gets deleted and then we’re like, oh we can’t get it back, because you can’t, then you have your backup view, which we’ve never needed fortunately, but that’s why we have it so that we don’t need it. It’s like an insurance policy.

Chris Mercer:

We actually had a client that had set up a view because you can include and exclude people. They wanted to basically say, okay, we want to exclude our team, because they had this nice large team, about a hundred people and they were messing up their sites pretty quickly. It’s like, we’re really good at this conversion rate of this funnel. It’s because a lot of their team are testing it and it’s skewing the data.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah, yeah.

Chris Mercer:

So they were like, okay, we’re going to go through, they learned about filters, they set it up and they did a good job. Set up a filter, get it through. They come back a couple days later, they’re like, well let’s look at the analytics again. There’s like 150 users and they’re like, that’s weird. So they went from thousands and thousands of people down to a hundred people. They’re like, what’s going on? They go back to the view and they see it and then they call us and they’re like, hey, you guys know analytics, right? We’re like, yeah. And they’re like, well here’s what’s going on. And it turns out that we were trying to exclude our team, but we included our team. So we hit including instead of exclude.

Brady Josephson:

So it was just an internal view.

Chris Mercer:

So instead of just having the world, we basically just had us.

Brady Josephson:

Their whole team, that’s funny.

Chris Mercer:

And so they lost all that. And they had one view, it was their website data view.

Brady Josephson:

Sp it’s all gone?

Chris Mercer:

It’s all gone. So they came back and they were like, well how do you get that back?

Brady Josephson:

You hop in a time machine.

Chris Mercer:

Exactly. I was like, you can’t, it’s gone. And if they had had multiple views, that would have been okay. So that’s why we recommend multiple views, because just even for that reason alone, and that’s why it’s good to have testing views because, you can play around with stuff and not get, attach the result. You can have fun with it, you can relax a little bit. It’s not such a real freak out for people.

Brady Josephson:

Well even that, even just watching go through the course, there’s all these little things that are so hyper practical. So even that one, one of the problems that we had is we ended up adding goals and goals and goals, and soon we had like-

Chris Mercer:

Ran out of goals.

Brady Josephson:

So many goals we, and we had to eliminate goals, where it’s like, why don’t we just create a new view that’s really focused on just downloads.

Chris Mercer:

That’s exactly right, every set of goals is really trying to tell the story around performance and results and how do you achieve them.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah, and so we were like, how do we create layers. And then we had different sites and so now it’s like, oh, we can use views.

Chris Mercer:

Yep.

Brady Josephson:

So us and our team, it’s not like we know nothing, but there’s some of these basic things that makes so much sense that a lot of times you don’t even know that they exist. I think that was a common theme too of you’re saying things that people haven’t even heard of.

Chris Mercer:

They don’t even know it’s a thing.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

Yeah. Again, I was the same way. For years I used analytics not knowing where the filter was.

Brady Josephson:

Right.

Chris Mercer:

Right, because how are you ever going to learn that? It needs to be somebody saying, well here’s what you do and here’s how you actually use this tool to answer a specific question as opposed to like, here’s a button you can press, because you’re like, yeah, I’ll press that later when I need it, but you never understand the context of it, which is why I really liked doing the course, because it helps puts it in context and say, okay, here’s why this matters to you.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah. So with what you know about nonprofits and working through this course, what do you think is a bigger barrier for nonprofits or maybe what are some unique problems or challenges as it relates to analytics specific to nonprofits? I have my own opinions, but I’m sure-

Chris Mercer:

I think, sure, yeah. I’d love to know if I’m right. Here’s my theory.

Brady Josephson:

All right.

Chris Mercer:

If I’m a nonprofit I am going to make the assumption that resources are limited.

Brady Josephson:

Pretty safe, yeah.

Chris Mercer:

So resources in terms of money, resources in terms of people and so I’ve got to get the most bang I can for the buck. So whatever activities I’m putting out there from a marketing perspective, I need to know that I’m getting the most I possibly can from them.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

How do I do that? Guess?

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

Hope my gut is right.

Brady Josephson:

Right.

Chris Mercer:

Hope that somebody tells me about it? No, I need to be able to measure that with something that’s objective. And that’s what’s great about analytics, is you can set that up and say, okay, did this actually work? If not, great, stop doing that. Try something else. All of a sudden you try a bunch of different things, and what I love about the marketplace is they are very, very obvious, I think, when it comes to what they like or not, they’re either giving you a high five or they’re telling you to try again.

Brady Josephson:

Right.

Chris Mercer:

If you’re not sure which one they’re trying to tell you to try again, they’re just being polite about it.

Brady Josephson:

Right.

Chris Mercer:

So you go and try different things, and all of a sudden analytics will light up and say, bam, now you’ve got donations. And then you can start to say, well, that’s great, how much? It’s like, well here’s how much. Well, what’s my average gift amount? Oh, it’s right there. And all of a sudden you’re like, okay. Then you could start, well, I wonder if there’s a difference between Facebook average gift amount and my emails’ average gift amount. Analytics is like, sure, here it is. All of a sudden there’s a story and you go, okay, now you’ve got more visibility. Instead of wandering around this cave of darkness, where you have no idea what’s going on. You’re stumbling around trying to figure out what’s working and what’s not.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

You’re able to see things. You look around and go, okay, I’ve got a whole new world of possibilities.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

Even though we’re a small team, we’ve got limited resources. We can still make stuff happen and do good in the world.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah. When it’s such a big opportunity, because so often on the digital side it’s like, well my bosses won’t invest in professional development or Facebook advertising, and part of the reason is, well, make the case, and they don’t make the case based on data. So then why would they give you more professional development? Why would they invest more in digital? So it’s kind of like a chicken egg type situation. It’s like, well, I need the money and the resources to know what to do to get the money. Do you know what I mean?

Chris Mercer:

Yeah. That’s exactly right.

Brady Josephson:

But it’s such a big opportunity for us to actually better understand donors and prove value, whether it’s to our bosses or whoever it might be.

Chris Mercer:

100%.

Brady Josephson:

I think that’s why we were so interested in creating this course when we were like, what’s the next course we should build? We’ve been talking about it for years, because we also see how few nonprofits actually use Google Analytics well, like really large sophisticated nonprofits, no revenue or e-commerce data in at all.

Chris Mercer:

It tends to be pushed under the rug a lot.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

It goes back to those areas that you see all the time. It’s all website data is the only view people have.

Brady Josephson:

Yep, common.

Chris Mercer:

It’s they are not tracking the traffic properly.

Brady Josephson:

Also common.

Chris Mercer:

Using UTMs or using UTMs in the right structure.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

And it’s not having results tracked.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

So what else are you going to see? You’re going to see what pages are lighting up.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

And then of course, what do you do with that?

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

And that’s what happens with analytics, people go, well yeah I looked at analytics. I have no idea what it means. I couldn’t really take any action. So we decided to come back to it later.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

Like it’s going to mysteriously be better now.

Brady Josephson:

Right.

Chris Mercer:

Because you haven’t gone back and updated it, and that’s why it’s important. And to your point, when you know the conversion rates, then you can go to your boss and say, listen, I need to take this Facebook course, because here’s what our conversion rate is. So if I can get it to double that by taking this course, it’ll turn into this. So now you can start to say, well here’s what I think will happen if you do offer this training, and you can make a case again based on numbers, like you said.

Brady Josephson:

So for someone who is listening or watching and they’re like, maybe I’ll take this course, maybe not. What’s kind of like the, here’s why you should take this course.

Chris Mercer:

Here’s why I should take this course. I’ll say it because the whole idea behind this course is so that you can measure your results. You’re going to know what results you are getting, and you’re going to know how you’re getting those results. And I think I like keeping things simple. To me, there’s only two types of numbers. It’s a results number, or it’s a how number. That’s it. So it’s going to be what results I’m getting. It’s going to be where I’m getting this results from, what the conversion rates are, all how I’m getting those results. So I’m going to know the donor journey. I’m going to know the donor journey through different traffic sources. I’m going to know and be able to predict and forecast how my email is going to perform. And that’s my favorite part about this, is once you have this idea of, well, here’s how email works for us, or here’s how our Facebook campaign performs, you can start to say things like, and here’s how it should perform next week.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

So now instead of saying, well let’s look back all the time and see what happened, you can start marketing forward.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah.

Chris Mercer:

So you start marketing forward and you start saying, okay, here’s what should happen next week. Next week we’re going to get a thousand people in our Facebook campaign. Of those thousand people, a hundred are going to become leads and email signups, of those maybe 10% become donors, at at least a $25 average gift amount because that’s what’s happened before. Then you can measure against that and see if you’re right and instantly you see what’s not right and now you know where to optimize. You know the exact step, but you have such a solid understanding of how your machinery is working now. Then in a kind of a weird way, it almost gets boring because all the drama goes out. You don’t have to guess, you don’t have to worry, have to fret, you know exactly what the issue is.

Chris Mercer:

Now it’s just like, okay, how do we fix that particular step? And now you just get to focus your creativity on coming up with new ideas, again, to sort of do that, serve that greater good.

Brady Josephson:

Cool. Well, I’m personally excited to go through the whole course. I had to step out for a few sessions, so I’m looking forward to it. I want to shift gears a bit.

Chris Mercer:

Sure.

Brady Josephson:

One of the questions we ask to a lot of people like yourself, and it’s kind of a tangential question, but when it comes to generosity, how do you, as Mercer, think that we can grow, improve and optimize generosity?

Chris Mercer:

How do you grow and improve generosity? That’s a great question. So I think for me, I come down to measuring it, and I know that’s going to be kind of a cliche answer, probably coming from me.

Brady Josephson:

No, it’s your answer. That’d great.

Chris Mercer:

But how do I know that it was achieved? I need to know that, that’s just in my nature. I need to know that when I say something happened, it actually happened. So for me, I want to be able to measure that. So that might be, if I’m going out there and I’m giving away something, I want to know how many did I give away. And maybe I want to measure what they did with it afterwards. I might know something like that. So that’s how I would do it, I would be able to measure it, no matter what that is. Figure out whatever that is for you and put some sort of metric to it, some sort of number or measurement to it so you can tell what the impact is. And then in my nature, I like to make things better all the time.

Chris Mercer:

Then it’s like, okay, well how can I do double that? How can I do triple that? How can I improve that? Even if it’s by 10%, how can I nudge it forward just a little bit better than I did yesterday? So that’s what I would do.

Brady Josephson:

No, I think there’s a lot of room for that. And even when we look at a lot of the sectorial reports on giving, it often talks about just top line revenue and there’s so kind of a movement to be so desperate to show how good giving is and how much it’s growing, that we’ve kind of ignored a lot of probably more accurate metrics of if giving is actually growing, like the number of people who actually give, not just the dollar amount.

Chris Mercer:

Yep.

Brady Josephson:

And then actually the number of people giving is going down, even though the dollar amount is going up, so everyone is high fiving it and think it’s growing.

Chris Mercer:

And it looks skewed, because again, you don’t know how you’re getting that result.

Brady Josephson:

Exactly, so even as a sector we fall prey to the same kind of things where we’re not looking at the right metric, and then alarm bells should have been ringing years ago saying there’s less and less and less and less people giving. And it’s like, no, giving is growing. So even just at a sectoral level, there’s a room for us to be more sophisticated with how we measure, let alone within fundraising, let alone within organizations and let alone programs, which is a whole nother conversation.

Chris Mercer:

Yeah. And that brings us back to that forecasting idea, of being able to look forward and say, well, based on what we’ve done in the past, because we will get caught up in that. That’s a pattern, you get caught up in the past and you say, well next week we’re going to have a hundred donors do 500 a piece and that’s what’s going to happen, because that’s what happened last week. But next week you get 50 donors doing 5,000 and so you, again, you’re happy because more came in, but now you know it was different than how you expected it. So all of a sudden you go, oh, there was a little … It’s good, but yeah, and you can start having those intelligent conversations way before that wave actually hits you now because you can see that coming.

Brady Josephson:

Awesome. So we’ll obviously tell everyone about the course and when they can find it. But where can people find out more about you and all the amazing stuff that you’re up to?

Chris Mercer:

Sure. Just Measurement Marketing.io is a place to go for our website. We’ve got plenty of tools at Measurement Marketing.io/NextAfter, if you want to go there.

Brady Josephson:

Yeah, downloaded one the other day.

Chris Mercer:

Absolutely.

Brady Josephson:

I’m getting emails from you while you’re presenting the course. How is he doing this? Awesome. Well we’ll be sure to send that out. Thank you so much for taking time to do the course with us, but also to have this little chat.

Chris Mercer:

It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for again for having me. I’m looking forward to it.

Take the Google Analytics for Nonprofits Certification Course

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The certification course in Google Analytics for Nonprofits is ready and waiting for you. Over the course of 7 self-paced video sessions, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of Google Analytics
  • How to prepare your Google Analytics account to get the reliable insights
  • What reports will help you answer key fundraising questions
  • Tips to fix common problems
  • A methodology for creating and analyzing goals
  • How to tell a story with your Google Analytics data
  • And a whole lot more

About the author:

Nathan Hill

Nathan Hill

Nathan is the Marketing Director for NextAfter. He spends every day working to help nonprofit organizations discover how testing and optimization can transform their marketing and fundraising, leading to greater impact and organizational growth. He is also a giant Star Wars nerd.


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Mathew Sweezey, Director of Market Strategy at Salesforce, on The Context Marketing Revolution – The Generosity Freakshow

Published by Brady Josephson

What is context marketing? Why is it a revolution? And why not just ask the guy who wrote the book on it… wait, we did! That’s Mathew Sweezey who joins in this episode to chat about his book, his award-wining podcast, and more things marketing. Enjoy!

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Brady Josephson

Brady is a charity nerd. He's an adjunct professor, fundraising writer, speaker, and podcast host and a huge Liverpool FC fan (#YNWA). At NextAfter, he oversees training and research to help nonprofits raise more money online to fund their life-changing work.