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Fundamentals of online fundraising


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  • Preview pane test – preview pane slightly won out for higher response rate Photo vs. sig – tested in League appeals – photo increased average gift and response rate Subject line personalization – improved open rates
  • Preview pane test – preview pane slightly won out for higher response rate Photo vs. sig – tested in League appeals – photo increased average gift and response rate Subject line personalization – improved open rates
  • Transcript

    • 1. Fundamentals of Online Fundraising August 18, 2011
    • 2.
      • Overview
      • Introduction to Online Fundraising
      • List Strategy
      • Organic/passive direct response fundraising
      • Messaging
      • Testing and Benchmarking
      • Management and Coordination
    • 3.
      • Fundamentals to remember
      • Use the tools you have
      • Be thoughtful
      • Integrate with other channels
      • Be timely
      • Encourage interaction
      • Make it easy
    • 4. List Strategy
    • 5. Basic List Building tools
      • e-append is a basic list-building tool
      • >> inexpensive
      • >> existing donors are your “core”
      • >> establish a regular schedule for e-appends
      • Optimize your website for email capture
      • >> Give people a reason to give you their email address
      • Review all DM programs for opportunities to request email addresses – acquisition, renewals, acknowledgements, premium inserts, etc.
    • 6. Basic List-building tools, cont’d
      • Encourage people to “tell-a-friend” or pass along action-oriented emails, or share via social media.
      • Supplement with paid sources (petition websites, etc)
        • >> test in small quantities till you find out what works
        • >> be disciplined about back-end ROI analysis
    • 7. Maintaining a Clean List
      • Many organizations “house-clean” their list annually
      • Objective is to eliminate addresses with no activity whatsoever (i.e. no opens in over 12 months, etc).
      • >> hard bounces
      • >> abandoned email addresses
      • Benefits:
      • >> Keeps performance stats accurate
      • >> Avoids higher volume charge thresholds
      • Be sure to send a “last chance” email first
    • 8. Maintaining a Clean List
      • Be sure to send a “last chance” email first
    • 9. Managing Attrition
      • Controlling attrition (unsubscribes, etc.) is as important as adding new addresses
      • >> Make sure you measure “churn” monthly or quarterly as part of the email list analysis
      • Use segmentation to ensure that only appropriate – and targeted - audiences receive communications
      • Analyze unsubscribe data by source communication
        • >> do not make it too easy to unsubscribe (especially to “Unsubscribe from All”)
        • >> use “back-end” donation asks to raise money without incurring the Unsubscribes that excessive fundraising emails may generate.
    • 10. List Segmentation
      • Benefits of online list segmentation:
      • > content can vary by segment, improving performance
      • > aids performance measurement (“apples to apples”)
      • > reduces list churn by targeting communications
      • Some basic segmentation criteria:
      • > donor status (active donor, former donor, non-donor)
      • > “online engagement” status – whether or not they have taken an online action
      • > issue/topic interest
      • > opt-in subscriber status
    • 11. Source-coding
      • Fundraising departments routinely use source coding for performance measurement
      • However, this is unusual in communications or advocacy departments
      • If all departments source-code online actions, then organization can track sources of list growth from the website and various online actions
      • >> means you can do more of what works
    • 12. Organic vs. Active Fundraising
    • 13. Optimize Your Website’s Home Page
      • Make your donate button easy to find
      • Put your button on every page above the fold
      • Link your donate button directly to a donate form
      • Use consistent language: Donate, Give, Contribute (pick one and stick with it)
        • “ Join” and “Support” can often confuse someone unfamiliar with your cause
    • 14. Optimize Your Donation Forms
      • Limit site navigation
      • Ask for as little information as possible
      • Make sure the form is visible above the fold
      • Make sure the form is secure and there’s a prominent visual cue to reassure donors
      • Make it easy to see/find endorsements from organizations like Charity Navigator and links to testimonials, annual reports, financial stewardship data
      • Now, start testing (more on that later)!
    • 15. Pay Special Attention to Thank You Pages and Confirmation Emails
      • Don’t rely on a default thank you / confirmation experience
      • Customize both to tie it back to the ask
      • Don’t throw away “next step” opportunities
        • Invite donors to take action, visit your Facebook page, share with a friend, signup for email
        • Encourage action takers to spread the word on social networks and by email … and to donate after they take action
    • 16. Email and Action-led Fundraising
      • Does your subject line make people want to look inside?
        • Ask a question: “How Can You Help Protect Species?”
        • Be direct: “Save Drowning Turtles”
        • Create urgency: “3 Days Left to Support Clean Air”
      • Ask people to donate (or take action) in the first paragraph
      • Then ask again … and again … and again
        • More links to your donate or action page = more clicks
      • Ask for a single next step (donate, take action) – never ask people to do more than one thing unless it’s okay that they do neither
    • 17. Email and Action-led Fundraising
      • Have a button that looks like a button and says what it does (Donate, Take Action)
        • Obvious usually wins
      • Keep sentences and paragraphs (actually, the entire email) short, use bullets when possible, make sure there’s plenty of white space (unlike this slide)
      • Keep your design (and coding) simple, easy on the eyes
      • Sans serif 10+ point font is your friend
      • Now, start testing (more on that later)!
    • 18. Messaging
    • 19.
      • Speak to your audience
      • Get to the point
      • Think campaigns, not email blasts
      • Invite interaction
      • Say thank you
      Online Messaging Tips
    • 20.
      • Test messaging
        • philanthropic vs. benefits, institutional vs. issue-based
      • Test style
        • Concise language
        • Tone, emotion
        • Written vs. video
        • Try humor
      • Be authentic
      Speak to Your Audience
    • 21.
      • Don’t just copy and paste DM to online
      • Test short vs. long copy
      • Be timely with your reactions
      • Be transparent
      Get to the Point
    • 22.
      • Matching Gifts
      • Year-End campaigns
      • Filing deadlines
      • Membership Month
      Think campaigns, not email blasts
    • 23.
      • Set a goal
      • Set a deadline
      • Increase urgency
      • Make it clear
      • Make it easy
      Think campaigns, not email blasts
    • 24. Invite interaction
      • Ask for input – your audience’s opinion matters to you!
      • Vote
      • Upload a photo
      • Take a survey
    • 25. Invite Interaction
    • 26.
      • Send thanks ahead of a big fundraising push
      • Send thanks AFTER a big fundraising push
      • Say thank you every time people give their time, attention or money to your cause – they’re why you’re able to do what you do!
      Say Thank You
    • 27. Testing & Benchmarking
    • 28. Testing
      • The good news (if you like data): more metrics to track and evaluate
        • Open rates, click through rates, conversions, unsubscribes
      • More good news: you don’t have to wait for results
      • The bad news:
        • It’s rare that you’ll get a statistically significant difference at a high confidence level
    • 29. What to test?
      • (almost)
      • Everything
    • 30. What to test?
      • Learn what you can do to maximize your open rates
        • Subjects lines: short vs. shorter vs. not so short, with personalization and without
      • Learn what you can do to maximize your click through rates
        • Email copy and design: personalization, long vs. short copy, large vs. smaller fonts, BIG buttons or not so big, colors, images, signatures vs. an image of the signer, P.S. vs. none
      • Learn what you can do to maximize your conversion rate and average gift
        • Donation forms: long copy vs. short copy, with and without graphics, one column vs. two column forms, vertical vs. horizontal ask strings
    • 31. Test various elements to increase response
        • Preview pane test for urgent appeal
        • Photo vs. signature to close email
        • Subject line personalization
    • 32. Test various elements to increase response
        • Size of linked text
        • HTML vs. text
      • Button vs. text
    • 33. Benchmarking Your Results
      • 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report (Blackbaud)
      • 2011 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study (M&R Strategic Services, NTEN)
      • 2011 Convio Nonprofit Online Benchmark™ Study (Convio)
    • 34. Management & Coordination
    • 35. Leveraging Cross-Department Opportunities & Reconciling Competing Priorities
      • Create a cross-departmental online working group that meets regularly & understands each other’s priorities
      • Working Group has multiple purposes:
      • >> Share opportunities & information that can be leveraged by other departments/stakeholders (and creates a more unified user experience)
      • >> maintain a shared email calendar that allocates email “slots” and establishes basic timing and frequency for non-urgent outbound email.
      • >>> clear policies may be needed
      • >> builds relationships, understanding & confidence
      • >> share/migrate expertise across the team members/departments
    • 36. Leveraging Cross-Department Opportunities & Reconciling Competing Priorities
      • The Working Group is responsible for adjusting the calendar based on new information & priorities
      • >> If the organization has a priority hierarchy for “real time” emails, all working group team members should be aware of it.
      • A “Chair/(s)” will need to facilitate:
      • >> Chair(s) must be skillful & mindful of interests of all departments
      • >> success = most potential conflicts can be resolved internally, with group members understanding/accepting the decision rationale
    • 37. Source-coding and analysis across departments
      • Source-coding requires a disciplined approach across multiple departments
      • Using it correctly requires work & discipline so the benefits have to be demonstrated
      • Source code tables need to be established (must be done by someone with technical expertise)
      • IT must be involved – online DB and offline DB must both recognize the codes
      • Training and follow-up on the correct use of source codes must be conducted
      • Senior management support is required in all user departments (this is a job for the “Chair”)
    • 38. Benefits of Source-coding
      • Why go to all this trouble? What’s the benefit?
      • Sources of new email addresses can be tracked:
      • > which actions and how many?
      • > which website location?
      • > what action the person took?
      • >> sub-code: which particular ad?
      • Knowing where the email addresses come from
      • means you can do more of what works
    • 39. Benefits of Source-coding
      • In Fundraising, there are additional benefits:
      • >> you will know which effort/type of effort raises more $$ from which audience
      • >> you can use source-code information to inform strategies for converting online action-takers to donors in DM or TM programs (what issue they are interested in, for example)
    • 40. Integrating Channels
    • 41. The Case for Multi-Channel Marketing
    • 42. Leverage your organization’s existing communications channels YOUR ORGANIZATION
    • 43. Identify your constituencies
    • 44. Coordinating online and offline communications campaigns
      • STEP 1: Identify the project
      • STEP 2: Identify the appropriate constituencies
        • Media
        • Bloggers
        • Social Networks
        • Partners
        • VIP’s & Board Members
        • Members/Donors
        • General Public
      • STEP 3: Choose the channels
        • Email
        • Website
        • Social Networks
        • Direct Mail/Telemarketing
      • STEP 4: Execute
      • STEP 5: Follow up
        • Report back about progress/updates/media exposure, etc.
    • 45. CASE STUDY: League of Women Voters Multi-Channel Urgentgram Appeal
      • The Problem : The League was under attack by a bogus organization.
      • The Response : The League’s September/October 2009 Emergency Urgentgram Campaign allowed the League to alert members, raise money, and highlight the League’s position on health care during the nation’s health care debate.
      • The Campaign : Avalon worked with the League to implement a multi-channel campaign that included:
        • Multiple e-Fundraising emails
        • Two e-Engagement emails
        • Telemarketing
        • Direct mail
        • Online and social networking strategy
      • The Results : The Emergency e-Appeals were by far the most successful the League had ever seen, raising more than double the online fundraising budget for the entire fiscal year from just one campaign! The unbudgeted direct mail effort brought in significant additional income on top of their traditional mail schedule.
    • 46. Day 1 Day 2 Day 10 Day 6 Day 12 Day 14 e-Appeal e-Appeal resend to non-responders e-Newsletter e-Engagement piece Mail Urgentgram Mail Homepage Social networks Press release Follow-up e-Engagement piece CASE STUDY: League of Women Voters Components of a Multi-Channel Campaign Email TM Appeal Telemarketing Web
    • 47. Thank you!
      • Allison Porter
      • Executive Vice President
      • Avalon Consulting
      • [email_address]
      • (202) 429-6080 x102
      • Barb Perell
      • Vice President of Online Fundraising
      • Avalon Consulting
      • [email_address] (202) 429-6080 x108
      • Debbie Sorondo [email_address]
      • (415) 725-1680
      • Michael Whybrew
      • Director of Online Fundraising
      • National Parks Conservation Association
      • [email_address]
      • (202) 454-3329