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Growing Your Charity Through Conversion Goals

Conversions play an important role in growing your charity’s online presence. In the context of your website, a conversion is any action a visitor fulfills that you deem valuable. For example, if you consider a visitor making a donation a valuable action, you would define a donation as a conversion. The more you can “convert” a visitor on your site to make a donation, the more value your website is generating.
Donations is the obvious example, but conversions can really be defined any way you want. Let’s say you’re an advocacy charity trying to promote awareness on a topic. You might consider a visitor simply spending a long period of time on your website as valuable, because it means they’re engaging in your material. In that case, you could define a conversion as a visitor spending a couple minutes on your website.
Conversion goals is a conversion tracking feature in Google Analytics, which is a free tool that tracks and reports data on users of your website. Any charity needs to be using Google Analytics or at least some kind of data tracking tool.

Why You Need Analytics and Conversion Goals

Having Analytics on your website gives you a plethora of data to take stock of where you are, where you’ve been, and how for you’ve gone. Using conversion goals reveals a big piece of that picture because it lets you understand more about the people that complete actions that are valuable to your organization. Why wouldn’t you want to know who your donors are, like where they find you from, and what they looked at. These insights in conversions is what enables you to increase conversions, which in turn grows your charity.

What Are Conversion Goals

Conversion goals are exact definitions of conversions that you set up on Google Analytics. There are four possible goals you can set up in Google Analytics: destination, visit duration, pages/visit, and event. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to focus on destination and visit duration because I find they are the most pertinent to charities.

How Conversion Goals Work

Destination goals work by counting a conversion anytime someone visits a specific page or URL. How you would use a destination goal is by redirecting your visitor to a specific URL, like a thank you page, after they complete the action you want to track. A visualization of tracking the donation process through conversions will help you understand this better.

In step 1, visitors are simply entering the home page. In step 2, visitors navigate to your donation page and make a decision whether to donate. Some will not, but the ones that do and complete the transaction are redirected to a thank you page (usually an option provided by your donation processor) that wouldn’t otherwise be visited. You can then set up a destination goal for that thank you page, thereby tracking the conversion of visitors to donors. This process can be repeated for other actions like signing up for a newsletter, mailing list, or volunteer form.
Visit duration goals are very simple. Any time a visitor spends time on a page greater than what you specified, it will be counted as a conversion. This is particularly useful if you have rich content like videos or podcasts and want to understand if your viewers are engaging. For example, if your video is two minutes long, you might set a goal for two minutes to track whether they watched the whole thing. If a large portion of people don’t, it might not be an effective video or medium.
Conversion goals are an important part of Analytics. By tracking actions like donations or sign-ups, you can better understand your success and how to build upon it. For more information on setting up goals in Google Analytics, you can refer to this help article from Google.

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