Doing More with Google Analytics for Nonprofits

As our marketing manager, Joli, phrased it, “I’ve come across many a Google Analytics account that’s just been created, installed then let go.”

The reason this is problematic for nonprofit marketing analytics comes down to this: it’s a free resource, with so many insights, but it just goes to waste. If you waste the knowledge within Google Analytics, you spend time producing content and making website decisions without reason. You make guesses about your audience without actually knowing what they want and how they use your site.

We can do better. Here’s how.

*If you haven’t yet set up your account, start with “A Setup Guide” and get a general overview in “Get Tracking with the Right Metrics.”

Step 1. Ask questions:

Think about who is coming to your site. Ask yourself, “Why are they coming here in the first place?” You want to know where they’re coming from and what helped them decide to click through to your site.

Then consider what your nonprofit sees as successful goals and metrics. “How many visitors should we have?” “What do we hope the site visitor will do?”

Step 2. Go old school, write it out:

Write out your top 3 to 4 audiences and include why each of them may be coming to your site. If they’ve never been on your site and are looking for volunteer opportunities, maybe they want to learn more about your organization. If they’ve donated before, maybe they want to log into an account or review an in-depth blog about your latest project. If they’re in need of your services, maybe all they need is to know you care and they want the easiest way to get in touch.

Step 3. Set up goals within Google Analytics:

From the example above we could form goals such as…

  • Visit 4 pages+ OR spend 3 minutes+ on the site
  • Click the donate now call to action button
  • Submit the volunteer “request more info” form
  • Contact your organization for more info
  • Watch your latest event video

Once you have these goals planned out, set them up within Analytics. Learn how here. Pay close attention to numbers like Conversion Rate, as they’re your most tangible evidence that your site is leading to action.

Step 4. Track your site’s searches:

If your nonprofit site has a search bar, which most do, wouldn’t it be mighty insightful if you knew what users were looking for?

It takes a moment to set up, but we’ll walk you through it…

  • Enter a search term in your site’s search bar.
  • Look at the URL bar. You should see something similar to: or
  • All sites are different, but there should at least be the equals sign (“=”) which indicates your query parameter is right before that. In the first example your query parameter signified as “s” and in the second it is “search_query”
  • Once you’ve found this, go into the Admin tab in Analytics, click “View Settings” in the right-side column, switch “site search tracking” to ON, and enter the query parameter into this box.
  • When you want to review search term data, go into your Google Analytics under the Behavior section and click on Site Search.

Step 5. Set up Filters:

To see the most accurate data in your Google Analytics account, you’ll want to remove the traffic coming from your own office.

To set this up…

  • Click on Filters in the right-side column
  • Click the Add Filter button
  • Set the dropdown option to > “Exclude” > “traffic from the IP address” > “that are equal to” and then your IP address
  • Find your IP address by searching in Google, “What is my IP address” – Google will know what IP address you use based on where you are
  • Copy & paste this into the IP address box and click save

If you need more help with your nonprofit’s Analytics account, call us up and talk to our marketing manager Joli or download the ebook she helped to publish, “Google Analytics Guide.”