Can you only spend a few hours a week on organizational communication? How much do you budget for the few thousand forints that you can spend on communication, advertising and services in addition to the work you put in? An NGO in this case can even less afford to waste time (and money) on communication. So we recommend that you take the time to measure and periodically redesign your communication results. Yes, even of the little time you have, precisely to get the best possible results with the little capacity you have and where you want them, because shooting blindly will take a lot more bullets to hit the target.

You can spend any amount of time measuring communication itself, which also needs to be prevented, but if you identify your goals well and are conscious enough about how you measure the achievement of your goals, and provide yourself with some energy to actually do the measuring, you can end up with much greater results.

Here are some tips on how to get started measuring the effectiveness of your own organizational communications.

  • Make up your mind!

As mentioned above, it can be difficult to find the time to take measurements. But it's also worth remembering that without measuring, you never know how much time you're throwing away on your communication efforts. Wouldn't it be nice to know if it's worth the effort when you're sitting on a Facebook post for fifteen minutes? Wouldn't you want to know which posts and which channels worked so you don't have to come up with something completely new next time? If your answer is "yes, of course", read on!

  • Have goals and plans!

Don't measure "just because", just like you don't communicate just because it's a habit. So once you've set out and taken the time to do it, think about what you want to achieve and who you want to reach, to tailor your message, how you want to achieve it and what channel you want to use. Only when you have created your communication based on a vision can you measure how it has delivered on your plans.

  • Be flexible!

Feel free to let go of what appears to be less effective in organizational communication, even if you really believe in it or have grown to like it out of habit. The point of measurement is to use the results to make changes to your communication where necessary. If you are not open to change, measurement is completely unnecessary.

  • See which communication channel works!

Usually, an NGO communicates through several channels. For example, you organize a training and advertise it on, you create the event on Facebook and LinkedIn, you target a few groups with a Facebook ad, you also put it on your website, but you also send it out in your newsletter and to previous training participants in an EDM. A lot of channels, a lot of work. But what if 80% of the subscribers come from previous training attendees, the remaining 20% come from one of the target groups of the Facebook ad, and the rest are completely redundant and the organization doesn't know about it? Keep up the good work.

In such cases, especially if an activity requires recurring communication (e.g. if you advertise several trainings, or if you collect donations continuously or repeatedly), we highly recommend parameterizing links. It's not as terrible as it sounds, but if you parameterize your URL, it will show you exactly whether the person who clicked on your communication came from a Facebook post, newsletter or Facebook ad.

It is important not to parameterize only 1 channel but all channels/campaigns that are pointing to the same target, because only then you can measure the effectiveness of each channel. Parameterization can also be tedious if there are a lot of links, so parameterizing the links of 1 to 1 major campaign can also be a solution to draw lessons to build on elsewhere.

  • Use Google Analytics!

Google Analytics is now an essential web analytics tool, and it's free. It allows you to measure who is visiting your site, when, from which channel, and what they're doing, so it provides a wealth of information about your website's performance and your visitors' activities. If you haven't already, be sure to integrate it into your website so that you can analyze the results on easy-to-follow graphs! If you don't know how to link it to your website, ask your website developer or operator for help!

  • Pay attention to where you measure the results!

For a fundraising campaign, for example, it doesn't say much if a thousand clicks came from Facebook, four from the supporter newsletter, while two donated through the former and three through the latter channel. For fundraising, we usually look at the results of the thank you page after the donation to see where they came from, who reached out so far, but for training sign-ups, this could also be, for example, the confirmation page after the sign-up (if there is no such page on the site, it's worth putting it in).

Tip: Facebook automatically parameterizes links, but not e.g. newsletters, emails. You can use the Google Analytics URL parameterizer, which will create the link together with the UTM code, which you can embed in the newsletter, and then the data will be measured. You can also find a description of the parameterization at the popular MailChimp newsletter sender here.

  • See how well your individual messages perform!

As with the channel, you can also view the results for different content. It's worth experimenting and seeing what happens when you post the same content on Facebook with multiple titles or images. Which target group responded more actively to which one? And did the content get the reaction you intended? Did it have a high reach or did it convert well? You can look at these in Facebook Analytics, but you can also experiment with newsletters and track and test what works. Sometimes it can also be worth testing which day or time of day people are more likely to open your newsletter - early morning before work or do they prefer to read you at the weekend? Check out the results!

  • Did you reach the person you wanted to talk to?

An important element of communication planning is to identify your target audiences. Be aware that there are some channels where you can target better (e.g. Facebook ads) and others where you can target less. What can you do if you are less able to segment your target group on the channel you are using?

You don't usually create more than one type of website, and for newsletters you may not send out a different newsletter for each target group (although for some target groups this may be justified and there is capacity), in such cases you need to define the content and its presentation in a way that the target group feels like their own. In these cases, you can measure and tailor. You may, for example, find that a call for proposals is very largely answered by women or men, even though you have the opposite idea of the target group. If your channel is reaching your target group well, you may need to test and fine-tune the message or the content, images used, etc.

Tip: With Google Analytics, you can measure basic demographics not only for the website as a whole, but also in terms of the percentage of times an article is opened, or in relation to a single event (e.g. subscribing, opening a link/button, donating, etc.). Some of this you can filter yourself in Reports, but if you can't set conversions, it may be worth asking for help with this.

There are channels where you can better target segmented audiences, such as Facebook or other social media ads, or EDMs. To target EDMs you will of course need systems where you can filter and communicate by target groups, but for smaller data sets a well-built excel will do.

There are some channels where you can better target segmented audiences, such as Facebook or other social media ads, or EDMs. To target EDMs, of course, you need systems where you can filter and communicate by target groups, but for smaller data sets, a well-built excel will do.

With these tools, however, you are better able to measure how a particular target group has responded to your message (if you are interested in how a particular target group has responded, because again, if it's not interesting, it's not worth your time). You can either filter for target groups within the results, or you can target specific target groups in the first place.

For example, if you want to get people from the countryside/county etc. to subscribe to your national newsletter, but you can't properly measure where they are coming from (e.g. you want to keep the newsletter subscription as simple as possible and don't want to ask them), then in the case of a Facebook lead collection campaign, it is worth organizing a separate subscription campaign at county level to compare the results.

  • Use Facebook pixels!

This is essentially the Facebook equivalent of the Google Analytics code. A Facebook Pixel or pixel is a small piece of code, a few lines long, that when placed in the source code of your website, allows Facebook to track the activity of users who are also registered on Facebook on your website. You can find your Facebook Pixel in your advertising account and install it on your website, where you can then track the varied activity of users and see who clicked on what, what posts they were interested in and what they were curious about about your organization. This gives you the opportunity to say, if they downloaded one of your publications from the website, to send them another related message next time that they might also be interested in - be it an event, news, a volunteering opportunity. You can also find plenty of information on setting up Facebook pixels online.

  • Look at what's important to you! Measuring the conversion

As we've stressed several times above, it matters what you measure. Some channels may produce beautiful numbers for reach, which can be a good number for awareness-raising or information transfer goals, but if you're expecting something specific from your target audience, rather than just views, you need to put the energy into actually measuring what you're aiming for.

In Google Analytics you can look at a lot of things. There are pre-set events, but it's worth investing once in setting metrics for the events that matter to us. It's worth doing cross-analysis on 1-1 report, i.e. comparing the result and a dimension, e.g. which age group or gender responded better to which channel.

  • If the target is met elsewhere than where you communicate

Conversion measurement can be hindered if the goal is not achieved where and when you communicate. Take the example of a tax 1% campaign. On the NAV page offering a percentage, we will certainly not be able to measure whether the people who have chosen our organization have come to us on which message of which channel. (Remember: we can, however, link our own website links to our other channels by parameterization). But there are communication events where, with a little attention, we can measure even if there is no direct "tracking". For example, at events we can ask participants how they found out about the event, which can make our next audience management more effective.

  • Get help!

If you can see the benefits of working with measurements but are initially afraid of it because you don't know how, there are several ways to get over it. If you have the resources or a pro bono offer, you can outsource these activities, but in the case of communication and measurement, discussions with outsiders can sometimes take more time and some conclusions and important points can be lost in the process. If you have pro bono options or can afford a few hours of a consultant, consulting is a good transition where you can learn what you can do and if there is something that needs deeper expertise, you can have the expert do it. It's especially worth asking for help to set up things that you can get done once and then track the results yourself (e.g. Google Analytics event or conversion settings). Different training sessions, especially if you're with other NGOs, can give you good tips on who has had what work or where it has helped them in their work.

  • Relax! You don't have to do everything at once!

The key to getting started: you don't have to do everything at once, you can take it one step at a time and see what works. Measuring is not something you have to do at all - as we've said several times - only if it helps you communicate better, cheaper, more effectively! A first step could be, if Facebook is your main platform, to look at reports in Analytics and look for correlations, maybe post the same message with different images or videos, and set up a thank you page for a newsletter, for example, to clarify conversions. It depends on what your goal is and what your capacity is.

If you think it makes sense to measure, experiment! For a campaign that is likely to be more time-consuming, be prepared to use some of these measurement tips so that you can use the results to make your next communication more confident, more targeted and even less time-consuming.

If you would like to hear more about setting up online campaigns, try our free self-paced course!