Volume button with red light turned on maximum“A survey of 200 charity and foundation professionals revealed that nonprofits are finding it difficult to determine how valuable social media tools are for their organizations. Seventy-nine percent said they hadn’t found ways to do so.” – Chronicle of Philanthropy, November 12, 2009

For those 79% of nonprofits out there, I have listed 10 social media metrics below that can be easily tracked and plotted on a Social Media Return on Investment (ROI) Spreadsheet (Download). If you are using social media correctly, then your numbers should rise from month-to-month. If not, it may be time to get some training.

1. Website Traffic

Make sure you are tracking your “unique visitors” to your organization’s website from month-to-month. Many small-to-medium sized nonprofits do not realize how little traffic their website is actually getting. This will change quickly as you build your communities on social media sites. If you don’t already, get access to your website’s traffic logs and track and plot unique visitors on the Social Media ROI Spreadsheet. “Hits” are not the metric to monitor.

2. Blog Traffic

I was a reluctant blogger. I only launched Nonprofit Tech 2.0 seven months ago. I didn’t think the world needed another blogger. I was wrong. Blogging was the missing piece in my social media strategy. If your nonprofit is already blogging, plot your stats. If not, here are 5 reasons why your nonprofit should blog.

3. e-Newsletter Subscribers

At the beginning of each of my webinars, I poll my attendees: “Where did you first find out about this webinar?” The number 1 answer is always my e-Newsletter. Though subscription rates are dropping by an average of 1% each year, e-Newsletters are still a powerhouse of ROI. In fact, social media has increased the consumption of e-mail. If you are using social media correctly to build your e-Newsletter list, this number should grow from month-to-month.

4. Mobile Subscribers

Mobile lists are hard to build and most new subscribers come from pitches in e-Newsletters. Pitches in Tweets and Status Updates help too.

5. Online Donations

Online giving in 2008 was up 44% from 2007. Early estimates for 2009 show an increase in online donations of 46% from 2008. My suspicion is that this has much to do with nonprofits utilizing social media over the last few years. Many donors may not feel comfortable donating directly through social media apps and widgets (yet), but they do feel comfortable clicking to your “Donate Now” page on your website from a link posted on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.

6. Volunteers

As word gets out about your volunteer opportunities to your social media communities, and assuming your pitch to become a volunteer is enticing, you should be able to secure new volunteers through utilizing social media.

7. Event Attendance

Whether it is your annual gala or a monthly pizza chat, social media can help get the word out about your events.

8. Testimonials

Every so often a supporter will testify to your good work via a wall or blog comment. These testimonials are invaluable for print materials, funding appeals, and e-Newsletters. If you aren’t receiving any testimonials from your social media communities, ask them to testify!

9. Facebook/YouTube/MySpace Comments and Twitter Mentions

This can be a bit tedious to track, but if your organization is successfully using social media then you should be receiving comments and thumbs up regularly. Community feedback or lack thereof is a clear indicator on whether your are on the right track with your social media campaign.

10.  Fans, Followers and Friends

Social media is a numbers game. Yes… the quality of the fan, follower and/or friend is important, not just the quantity. But the reality is the more quality fans, followers, and friends you have, the higher the social media ROI.