Jonathan and I are each going to present on the wide range of topics included within our topic today of online fundraising. My presentation will focus on tools that facilitate conversation and engagement, donor management and strategy, as well as case studies, helpful reports and an overview of possible tools. When we reconvene after the networking break, we will break into small groups to work on some example scenarios as a way to put into practice some of the ideas and strategies we've presented. Jonathan and I will both be floating between the groups to answer questions, and help with your work. We'll also spend some time reporting out from our small groups to share the scenarios and what solutions were reached. We have saved time at the end of the session for questions and answers but we want to make sure you feel comfortable asking questions as they arise, as well.
Conversations = conversions What's a conversion? This means anything from: - new website vistor signing up for e-newsletter - new website visitor donating money - e-newsletter recipient signing a petition - e-newsletter recipient donating - donor forwarding information to a friend well, you get the point. what's so great about conversions? well, that's all that engagement is! getting people onboard, getting them to the next level of participation, enabling them to recruit for you, and so on.
shouting rarely works! a conversation means a two-way exchange. traditional websites and communications on a whole were one-way speaker phones from the organization shouting out at anyone who cared to come by.
two way conversation empowers your constituents and the larger community to: - give you feedback when things are bad - give you praise when they are happy - ask questions - get involved
two way conversations also turn your staff into real people.
organizations aren't run by robots, so let voices and stories be heard. let people connect with people.
of course this can be done any time in person. but why not use social media to enable those conversations to include a dramatically higher number of people? why use social media instead of face to face conversations?
people are already talking about you online. you may not thinks so, but it's true. whether it is your organization specifically or not, people are already using social media to talk about, share ideas, and opinions, and even influence their networks about your field, your services, your needs, or your organization. if a conversation is taking place online and you aren't there to hear it, does it still happen? YES!
social media tools let your conversations reach everywhere and anywhere. by putting yourself and your organization online, you can be part of the conversation that is already taking place.
plus, using social media tools online means that people will be able to find your organization and be part of the conversation with you who may have never known you existed.
the conversation prism, from Jesse Thomas and Brian Solis, helps visiualize social media tools by the social actions they are associated with. tools are developing, changing, and launching every day that will continue to grow this picture more and more.
there are many permutations of the 'ladder of engagement.' what is key is that people usually start at the bottom and with appropriate opportunities for conversations and engagement move up the ladder. using tools to facilitate back-and-forth participation between the constiuents and the organization will help them step further up the ladder.
Using online tools for donor management, volunteer recruitment, website testing, and fundraising can put your organization at an edge to increase success.
people are all different, even if they are all interested in your organization. what they want to do for you, how they want to hear from you, what they plan to say about you and even how they want to support you. it's hard to juggle that much in your head or even most "management" practices (excel, notecards, etc.).
we are all unique and beautiful flowers, aren't we? :)
comprehensive donor/volunteer/constituent management software will let you track, trace, separate and sort your members. this means you have better information about who those members are, as well as how they want to interact with your organization. not only are you tracking and organizing things better, but you are able to track what you do, what your members do, and evaluate for success.
now that you are sorting your members into lists based on their needs/activities, you can better tailor your messages (both in emails, website, and elsewhere like social networks or offline). better messages means more messages, but not drastically different. just enough so that your online activists have something they can do when they get an email from you, your donors can donate, your supporters can spread the word, and your lurkers can keep hanging on. the slightly tailored messages make for a better connection with your members, making them feel like you value them because you are paying attention and giving them what they want.
there are lots of options for donor management tools, here are just some. techsoup has a comparison between these 11 software systems.
how do you know what they want? how do you know if you are succeeding or still just sending luke warm messages? testing. you can test anything from an email message all the way to a campaign slogan or messaging.
testing can be small scale to large scale - really just depends on your budget, your time, and your staff capacity. some people love testing, some hate the process. i'd suggest starting small, and build from there when it is possible and appropriate.
for example, if you have 1,000 people on your email list to receive messages with action opportunities. create two different messages or two different subject lines, two different calls to action or two different images. send each to 50 random members, and see which one does better (the item being tested will determine your measurement, like, if you try two subject lines, look for which message has a higher open rate). that is the message to send to the other 900 members.
you don't just need to test email messages, but you can test the language on your website or other sites where you have an online presence, like social networks or social media. if you are using tags (delicious for websites and news, flickr for photos, etc.) you may try using a lot of different tags and then see which ones people are using to find your information. those words may be more common for how people talk about your work or field than the words you use. try changing headlines on your website or images and see if clickthroughs improve.
there are lots of options for testing, here are just some. some or free, some aren't. some assume a higher level of knowledge than others. you can always do in-house though, by simple changes and comparisons. even using different contact email addresses on different pages of the website to guage where people are clicking through from.
In March 2007, two leading women activists in Iran were detained for speaking out publicly in the weeks leading up to International Womens Day.
Amnesty Canada sent out an urgent e-appeal within 48 hours to its list of 20,000+ subscribers, urging people to click-to-take-action to send a protest email to the Iranian Ambassador to Canada.
More than 2,400 emails were sent by Amnesty Canada’s subscribers. When the 2 activists were released just several days later, Amnesty sent an email update back to the people who participated in the online action with the good news, and explained that this case is an example of how Amnesty is able to respond immediately when there is a human rights crisis - especially in the first 72 hours after an activist has been picked up and is being held in police custody.
The email described that is exactly the role that Amnesty’s Urgent Action network performs - that thousand of people around the world have signed up to receive notices of urgent cases, and who are prepared to react immediately with letters, faxes, emails, phone calls, etc. when there is a human rights emergency. The email closed with an invitation to join Amnesty Canada’s Urgent Action network. This invitation to “step up” the ladder of engagement picks up directly from the core message that taking urgent action can get positive results, and is a natural way for people to deepen their commitment to help defend human rights.
As a result of the followup invitation, more than 300 new members joined Amnesty Canada’s Urgent Action Network - increasing it’s size by nearly 25% - a hugely positive step forward in building this important action tool for Amnesty Canada.
Changing gray submit to a red submitAdding small arrows next to donate buttonConfirmation of action also produced a donation form
create a random home page assignment to web visitors between the cute animal picture and the donate form
the POST method from forrester is a great way to break down your process into manageable chunks.
Addressing the issue of People means looking first at who the audience is before doing anything else. After you are confident about who you are reaching and some of their online characteristics, you can move on to Objectives. This is where you really think about what you are trying to do. Think small. Saving the world is on everyone’s list, but probably not quite as doable as provide event participants with collaboration and conversation access. With your audience and goals in check, start thinking about the Strategy. Strategy doesn’t mean the social media tools, though, don’t rush! In this part, you want to focus on what the technology tools will change for you and your audience. How will things be after you have implemented the tools? Okay, now you can pick the most applicable technology tools to use. It will be easier to see the right tools from the plethora that exists because you are looking through a specific lens that has the audience, goal and strategy layers. You will now be able to also have a more constructive view of why some and not some other options.
we would love to continue this conversation with you - so contact us any time!
Harnessing technology to
build and maintain
London Fundraising Summit
24 September, 2008
o Conversations = Conversions
o Management = Messages
o Case studies, reports, resources...
• Networking break
• Small group work session
• Small group reports and closing
• Question & Answer
Conversations = Conversions
Good tools are those that most easily,
efficiently and effectively enable
conversations between you and your
Why is the conversation so important?
Google Website Optimizer
Using the ladder of engagement with
Testing your website and email messages.
2008 e-Nonprofit Benchmarks Study
Next 11 slides from Benchmarks Study presentation,
Year-end Homepage Test Results
• Donation form won - brought in 8% more gifts
(number of gifts)
• Raised 8% more dollars in donations $1,000 and
• Raised 10% more dollars in donations $500 and
• Did not hinder homepage interaction – bounce
rate for the homepage stayed relatively
We Publish Our Stats
• We send meaningful stats to all staff and provide
analysis to encourage them to focus on:
List growth: requires extraordinary efforts (paid marketing,
Current events and personal stories: actions perform better
w/ either element
Syndication: web traffic and RSS feeds are email
Search rankings: dependent on good writing
Fundraising: everyone contributes to our fundraising
• By publishing comprehensive meaningful stats for the
entire organization, we spark curiosity and competition
Action Web Confirmation
• By comparing ourselves to other NGOs, we
get good ideas to test.
• Changing the web confirmation to donation
form raised $46,000+ since December and
tells us which issue inspires donors.
• Top issues: torture, Tibet, Darfur.
Our Tibet action went to 450K+ and raised $15K+
via the web confirmation donation page.
• Loser issue: death penalty
Best performing action in Feb., raised $0.
EXAMPLE ANALYSIS SENT TO STAFF:
- We continue to monitor actions that inspire our activists to donate. Darfur
consistently tops the list of actions garnering the most donations. This month,
the Shi Tao action and war on terror related actions also performed well. The
death penalty, although it brought in the most actions, did not prompt people to
give. We’ve seen similar results in direct mail.
• Make the most of your web traffic by
testing variations of your design.
• Tiny changes can have profound affects.
• Doesn’t require you to use precious email
capital and improves overall usability of
• Improved usability leads to greater
confidence in your organization and less
Big red button
• By changing the standard grey “submit”
on our donation form to a large red
“submit”, we got a 29% lift in our
Utility nav tweak
• changing the order of the utility nav items
and changing “donate” to a bold, green
“donate now” provided a:
70% lift in overall traffic to the donation
o 83% lift in total $ raised
Right pointing arrows
• Adding some right pointing arrows to the
word “Donate” on our homepage donate
button provided a:
5% lift in overall traffic to the donation form
55% lift in total $ raised
Having conversations online.
Organizations using Twitter, Blogs, Social
Networking sites, and more!
I have heard about lots of cool tools and I'm
sold on using social media - let's go!
Using the POST method will help you
keep your goals in front of cool tools.
• CommonCraft.org - Videos explaining
social media tools in plain English
• TechSoup.org - Reviews, forums,
research and more
• Idealware.org - Reviews and comparisons
• NTEN.org - Community network, reports,
research and more
Amy Sample Ward