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Dec 02, 2022 BY A Mighty Citizen Marketing, Web Development

Google Analytics 4 for Nonprofits: The 3 Events Every Nonprofit Must Track

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With the rollout of Google Analytics 4, even the most seasoned of users are finding themselves in some new territory. The attribution model has changed entirely to focus on events, and machine learning provides some new insight into the behavior of your users. After all that’s changed, it’s understandable if you need to check in on what exactly you should be tracking.

In GA4, events are everything. And setting up the right events is crucial to your understanding of your audiences. GA4 allows multiple streams of data to be tracked in one place, meaning that if you manage multiple domains, subdomains, apps, etc., you can now view that cross-device tracking seamlessly. The more data you have, the clearer your user journey becomes.

Your website is your best employee. It pulls together so many different elements and assets of your brand, making it the most critical content you own.

Effective nonprofit websites use a command of storytelling to show impact. Every page is designed with a purpose in mind, encouraging the reader to complete some action. When thinking about what to track, you can start by posing one primary question: What are the things you want your visitors to do on your website? If you haven’t identified these website goals and tracked them in Google Analytics to determine when, where, and how often they’re occurring, you’ll never know how your website is truly performing.

What Are Events?

In GA4, events now have a higher tracking priority than sessions. Now, every click, interaction, and scroll is classified and automatically collected as an event. In GA4, event setup occurs in the user interface instead of the traditional setup in Google Tag Manager. Events that are tracked by default will change upon GA4 setup, and the method of creating custom events has become more robust. Google will recommend events & parameters for you to track, and custom events will provide more meaningful precise analysis.

What Google Analytics Events Should a Nonprofit Track?

For nonprofits, the most important and popular events to track include:

  • Email sign-ups
  • Cause engagement
  • Donations

Your organization may have more events to track—and that’s great! It’s ideal to have between three and five events set up for tracking in your Google Analytics account so you can see how many of your website visitors are completing each of your desired actions and which pages of your website are driving them to do so. The percentage of total users who complete at least one of your specified events is your website’s conversion rate.

1. Email Sign-ups

As marketers, you know that if you can just collect an email address, you can get your foot in the door. In the world of digital marketing, email addresses are currency. Everyone has one, and a healthy email list makes dynamic lead generation (leading to donations, engagement, etc.) yours to lose. The first interaction someone has with your organization doesn’t have to be a donation or volunteer application, either. You can (and should) always ask for support later!

Emails can be solicited in a variety of ways, including contact forms, newsletter sign-ups, gated content downloads, and petition signatures. You can track email sign-ups by building a custom event for a successful form submission, or by tracking a unique URL, like a thank you or confirmation page.

2. Cause Engagement

Every nonprofit should have a call to action (CTA) that isn’t “donate.” You may even have a few CTAs through various campaigns. At any point, you may be trying to sign up volunteers, secure petition signatures, get the word out about contacting your elected officials, and disseminate a toolkit or other training resource.

No matter what it is, your visitors should be submitting their personal information via a form submission in the process of getting involved. Again, by creating custom events to track unique form submissions or URLs, you can identify which activities are the most popular and determine why.

3. Donations

Donations are great, right? Someone was moved enough by your organization that they want to empower you with their hard-earned cash. It’s a nice feeling when the work you do literally pays off and makes someone else believe in your mission, too.

Wouldn’t it also be nice to know which marketing campaigns won your donors over? Which webpage made the difference? Which email drove them to give? For every donor you have, you’ll have an idea of what led them to support your nonprofit. That’s invaluable.

The greater strategy here is to drive every visitor to achieve all three types of goal completions—at least once! That means thinking comprehensively about your goals and your website flow. What’s the easy, non-committal request that can set you up now for the bigger requests later? Lead with that. Aim for consistency across the experience. Your users should feel a certain cadence or pace when advancing from one request to the next.

Remember—don’t jump right into creating custom events! First, check if your event is already included as an automatically collected event or enhanced measurement event. If it’s not available as either, then consult Google’s list of recommended events. Lastly, create custom events if not available otherwise. You don’t need to set up a million different events, either. Please don’t! Condense it down to the few showing value and laddering up to your business objectives.

Mighty Citizen Can Help

Are you looking for a partner to help champion your transition to Google Analytics 4? Our team of digital marketing experts can set you up on the new platform so you can get to tracking the data you care about. Drop us a line—we’d love to chat!


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