Get the Insights Your Nonprofit Needs

using Google Analytics

In this guide you’ll learn how to

  • Analyze your nonprofit’s website traffic
  • See where your users are coming from
  • See what actions users are taking on your site
  • Measure the success of your marketing campaigns
Get the Insights Your Nonprofit Needs

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that can help you analyze your website traffic and measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. It can help nonprofits optimize their website to turn their traffic into donations, event registrations, or volunteer applications.

By using Google Analytics, your nonprofit can measure return on investment, identify which strategy yielded the most results and understand what content is performing best. Data can also help inform staffing decisions, which is incredibly valuable for nonprofits who are often resource constrained.

Get the most out of Google Analytics, by linking your Ad Grants account

Your Google Ad Grants account

Make sure that you’re using a Google Account that has Administrative access to your Ad Grants account. If you have not yet activated Ad Grants for your nonprofit, you will need to complete that process before you can link the account to Analytics. Please refer to the Ad Grants activation guide for specific instructions on getting pre-qualified and setting up your account.

To Link your Ad Grants account to Google Analytics

Linking your Google Ad Grants account to your Analytics lets you see the full customer cycle, from how they interact with your marketing to how they finally complete the goals you’ve set for them on your site (donate, volunteer etc).

Fundamentals of Google Analytics

Before digging into Google Analytics data, ask yourself what you are looking for and what you need to know, based on your nonprofit’s needs. For example, it might be helpful for you to learn about how your users are engaging with your site - are people signing up to volunteer or are they donating online? Are your landing pages relevant for your users? Analyzing your website traffic helps inform your online marketing by identifying what content is working well and engaging your users to complete desired actions. Let’s look at some of the top questions that nonprofits like you might have.


These definitions will help you quickly get started with terminology used in your Analytics reports.
InteractionInteractions can include pageviews, events, or ecommerce transactions. For example, registering to become a volunteer, or purchasing a ticket to an event.
SessionInteractions are grouped into sessions. By default, a session ends after 30 minutes of inactivity. If Google Analytics stops receiving hits for a period of time longer than the timeout length, the session ends.
UserGoogle Analytics can recognize if multiple sessions are from the same user because of the Google Analytics cookie in the user’s browser.
SourceThe origin of your traffic, such as a search engine (for example, Google) or a domain (
MediumThe general category of the source, for example, organic search (organic), cost-per-click paid search (cpc), web referral (referral).

Are my landing pages relevant?

Your landing page (the first web page a user sees when they click on your domain) should match the expectation set by any marketing you use and should have engaging content that offers users easy paths to the next steps you want them to take. Using Analytics, you can analyze which pages on your site are the most engaging for your users. Try to incorporate design and content elements from successful pages throughout your site.

If the success of your site depends on users viewing more than one page, then a high bounce rate is not good. Examine if your content relates well with the marketing you use to drive users to those pages and if those pages offer a clear navigation path. Both “pages/session” viewed and “average session duration” are useful metrics for content engagement analysis.

A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site.

Bounce Rate is the percentage of all sessions on your site which users viewed only a single page.

Are my landing pages relevant

See where your users are coming from

While you might operate a small organization locally, you could be surprised that people farther away are supportive of your cause. 31% of donors worldwide give to NPOs and NGOs outside of their country of residence and 55% of Millenials prefer to give online*. Online giving technology, combined with access to a 24/7 global news cycle and more affordable international travel has led to an increase in donors with an empathetic worldview. Your website has the opportunity to reach global supporters and understanding where your users are coming from can help you to better tailor your marketing and communications to their needs.


The Audience Overview is what you see when you first log into your website’s Google Analytics. These reports help you better understand the characteristics of your audience/users by giving you reports on specific data about your site visitors such as the country they are from, the language they’re searching in, and other demographics. Understanding these demographics, behaviors and interests of your visitors can help you improve your online marketing.

See where your users are coming from

You can also create audiences to view specific reports to explore audience behavior in response to your marketing. Audiences in Analytics are users that you group together based on any combination of attributes that is meaningful to your nonprofit. An audience might be simply current donation providers. You can create broad definitions like all users who at any time made a donation, or all users who have donated within the last 12 months, but not during the last two.

Click here to learn more about creating audiences in Analytics!

See what actions users are taking on your site

There are a multitude of things you can and should be tracking for user behavior on your site. You might have a place on your website for people to make donations or perhaps a sign-up form for people to register as a volunteer. For these key behaviours, it’s helpful to understand where the users came from. Were they directed to your site from a Google search, an email campaign, or a social post? Analyzing the behaviour against where the users came from provides insights to which of your communications are performing most effectively.


  • The Real-Time Overview shows the top-ten pages on which users are currently active, the source for the users on each page, and the number of active users on each page. If you are running a 1-day campaign (for example, to promote the founder’s event), you can see how many active users were referred by that campaign, whether they are coming in through the appropriate landing page(s) and their geographic locations.
  • See what actions users are taking on your site

  • Use the Real-Time locations report to see the geographic locations of your active users. You can also see how many pages/screens were viewed from each city during the past 30 mins.
  • The Top Social Traffic section uses the same social referral groupings that are used in the Social Reports. This allows you to see all the social networks that refer traffic.
  • Use the Real-Time Content/Screens report to see which pages/screens have been viewed during the past 30 minutes. For example, you can see whether content you posted today is popular!

Click here to learn more about Real-Time reports!


How can you track what is most meaningful to your nonprofit? You can define what activities are important to you to measure and then use goals to see how often your users are completing those activities. And you don’t need any coding skills to set this up!
  • A conversion is a completed activity that is important to your nonprofit. A conversion can be a macro conversion or a micro conversion.
    1. A macro conversion is typically a completed transaction - a donation, or volunteer registration.
    2. A micro conversion is a completed activity that indicates that the user is moving towards a macro conversion - visit the contact page, or visit the volunteering page.
    3. Conversion graph

  • In Analytics, you can use goals to measure how often users complete specific actions. A goal represents a completed activity (a conversion), that contributes to the success of your organization.
  • Goals can be applied to specific pages or screens your users visit, how many pages/screens they view in a session, how long they stay on your site or app, and the events they trigger while they are there. Goals fall into one of four types, listed in the table below.
Goal Type Description Example
Destination A specific location loads Thank you web page or app screen
Duration Sessions that last a specific amount of time or longer 10 minutes or longer spent on a FAQs site
Pages/Screens per session A user views a specific number of pages or screens Five pages or screens have been loaded
Event An action defined as an Event is triggered Social recommendation, video play, form submission or resource download


Destination goals tend to be the most popular. For example, you can have a high level of confidence that people who saw the ‘thank you’ page that appears after finishing the volunteer sign up form have successfully completed all the steps to sign up.
  • When you create a destination goal, you also have the option to create a funnel for that goal.
  • A funnel refers to the path your users take to reach a particular destination. You can specify the screens or pages the user must visit prior to the final destination goal by turning on the Funnel option. This helps you identify specific drop-off points where you’re losing users on the journey or identify potential areas to further optimize your content on those pages.
  • destination

    Click here for more info to create, edit and share goals!

Measure the success of your email campaigns

With Google Analytics, you can easily see which emails are performing better than others and if some generate more donations or sign-ups than others. This allows you to better tailor your email campaigns and other ongoing marketing efforts to focus on those channels that engage your supporters and work most effectively for your Nonprofit.


Think about your micro and macro conversions. Once you set them up, you’ll be able to check them all in every Analytics report you are looking at.


By manually tagging the links in the email you are sending. If the email contains a link to, use the link below instead:

email campaigns

Click here to learn more about generating custom URLs for your campaigns

Measure the value of your site with Ecommerce tracking

While it’s important to learn who is donating, you likely also want to track how much people are donating. The Ecommerce reports allow you to analyze transaction activity on your site, whether it is donations or purchases. You can see transaction information, average donation value, conversion rate, time to purchase/donate, and other data. You may learn that people of a certain demographic, a particular time of day or elements of your marketing mix consistently result in donations of a higher value, so you may want to prioritize your marketing resources in certain areas more likely to achieve a higher return.


There is a bit of extra coding required to implement ecommerce tracking, but for online donation tracking, it is the most accurate Google Analytics report that you can get. You will need to add code to your site to collect the ecommerce data and send it to Analytics. To complete this, you need to be comfortable editing HTML and coding in JavaScript, or get help from your webmaster or an experienced web developer to implement.
  • If you are using a donations platform, some of them also have easy integrations with Google Analytics.
  • If you are not using a donations platform, talk to your webmaster to implement ecommerce tracking on your website, or enhanced ecommerce for even more detail.

Click here for detailed instructions to set up Ecommerce Tracking


Import your Analytics goals and transactions into Google Ads Conversion Tracking to view Analytics metrics - like Bounce Rate, Avg Session Duration and Pages/Session - on your Google Ads Campaigns and Ad Groups tabs. To learn how, read adding Analytics data to Google Ads reports.

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