are certainly some challenges in e-solicitation analysis.
Our fundraising databases, mass emailing programs, and web site
statistics are not well integrated and data must be pulled from all of
We can measure the amount of clicks and click through rates on the
pieces, but you will always have to make inferences about the actual
amount of the giving related to the solicitation.
As an aside, you should have the email contain a link to the
solicitation on your web site to isolate email performance from web site
performance. This gives you measurable statistics to track behaviors in
both mediums as your user community navigates from one to the other. It
considers the effect of overloading people's email with what are
typically large files, and helps avoid blocking by spam filters.
One of the other problems, is that you will be receiving online gifts as
a result of having your online giving form linked somewhere on your web
site. This can be especially true during the year end when prospects are
typically being directed to your online giving from a wide variety of
additional sources such as direct mail and telefund.
One approach is to look at the timing of the clicks on the email
compared to the time the a form submission took place on your web site.
There should be noticeable spikes in traffic, and you can also look at
individual visitor behavior to see how many people went to the
solicitation, then to the form, and then received a confirmation for
their gift or pledge.
If you have a large database, stagger sending the emails so you don't
overload your web server. Segment email by target area so you can
analyze individual schools, colleges and departments, and tune language
and technique .
The amount of giving is not the only measure of effectiveness although
you certainly want to achieve the results.
Esolicitations are something we need to do to create interest. Track
opt-outs over time since these are indicative of your audience's
continued interest in receiving pieces with multi-media. You don't want
Esolicitations, especially those containing multi-media presentations,
should be an important component of your online strategy, but you need
to realize it's not always possible to get exact metrics and that you
always have to make educated guesses as part of your overall analysis.