I recently had the opportunity to connect with Paull, Director of Digital at charity: water, on a project for the Analysis Exchange. Paull has an amazing amount of energy and passion for what he does. In this interview Paull reflects on our project with the Analysis Exchange, his work at charity:water to provide clean drinking water to those in need, and his insights on the measurement industry.
1. How does web analytics fit within the business structure at charity: water?
PY: It’s a critical part of our digital strategy, which is the core of our overall business strategy. We do over 60% of our revenue online, 30% of total revenue from our fundraising platform mycharitywater.org. Web analytics is an incredibly important part of our overall approach to intelligence around our donors and fundraisers and our attempt to scale to our 10 year target of $2 billion raised – which would allow us to bring clean and safe drinking water to 10% of the one billion people who currently lack access.
2. What are the primary KPIs for a non-profit?
PY: That’s going to be different for every non-profit. For us, it’s a variety of items:
→Donations, average donation size, repeat donations
→Number of campaigns, average campaign size
→Traffic – raw traffic, time spent, bounce rate, depth of visit
→Opt ins – email sign ups, Facebook Likes, Twitter Follows
→Deeper long term relationships: repeated interaction, and donor/fundraiser satisfaction
3. What led you to seek out help from the Analysis Exchange?
PY: We’re scaling rapidly as an organization and due to our 100% model, operate extremely lean. Like many non-profits, we’ve always got more activity and opportunity than we can handle. Analysis Exchange gave us additional resources, for free, so that we could take a deep, measured and strategic approach to our web analytics.
Our first project was a review of the foundational aspects of our web analytics to check that everything is working properly and set up for deeper work in the future.
4. What did you learn the most during your project with the Analysis Exchange?
PY: The importance of taking the time to set clear objectives as the first step in any analysis process. Before starting with Analysis Exchange we spent a long time period building a digital strategy and setting our digital KPIs. Because of this, it was easy to direct the AE team (Jason Thompson and Todd Bullivant) on how to best help us.
5. How do you see analytics evolving in the non-profit space?
PY: I see analytics becoming central to how non-profits do business – though I don’t see that being the case right now. charity: water is one of the most digitally focused non-profits you’ll find, but we’re at the front of a trend towards online donations that is only going to increase.
Every non-profit aims to become more and more efficient – delivering maximum impact for the minimum amount of cost. Smart application of analytics will be a must to achieve this objective.
6. What advice would you have for other non-profits who are just getting into web analytics?
PY: Go slow. Set your goals first – what do you want to accomplish online and offline? This is important thought-work and will require input from many people in your organization.
Next, don’t expect technology to be the golden bullet. The greatest analytics engine in the world is the human brain – you’re going to need to apply time and serious thinking to the numbers you can pull from web analytics.
7. Do you see a big difference between analytics for a non-profit vs. analytics for a traditional eCommerce site?
PY: As a matter of fact I actually think it can be easier for a non-profit to measure through web analytics than many for-profits. A donation is often a simpler conversion than a large consumer product. If you’re a digital business, like charity: water, then you’re going to find it much easier to measure your impact than a business with a large offline focus.
8. What do you like most about working for a non-profit?
PY: It’s a cliché, but it’s always inspiring walking into work every day trying to change the world. I see the photos and videos we produce from the field (check some great videos out at http://charitywater.org/september) and it’s the smiling faces of the kids who get clean water for the first time that drives me to keep pushing forward.
9. If analysts are interested in working for a non-profit, what advice would you have for them?
PY: Anticipate that many non-profits often haven’t placed the same level of importance on web analytics as for-profit businesses, and also that there is a large role to play educating colleagues on the importance and potential of deep analysis.
10. How can people help contribute to the effort at charity: water?
PY: Back to the Digital KPIs
The best thing you can do to help is fundraise. Right now you can run a campaign and have a shot at winning a trip to Africa with Will and Jada Smith – check out the details here: http://charitywater.org/willandjada
If you’re not sure about fundraising just yet, then connect with us online:
$20 gives 1 person clean water for 20 years. You can change lives by joining us – we’d love to have your support.
This year I am giving up my birthday and asking all my friends and family to donate to my charity: water campaign instead of sending me cards or gifts. I know how generous the measure industry is and I’m challenging every member of our community to get behind this great cause. I’d love to have you donate $36 in honor of my birthday but any amount would be appreciated.