Glyn Thomas, work at WDM on digital communications covering campaigns and fundraising. Just gone part time and working part time for more onion now as well as a strategy consultant based in London.
Present case study of work done at WDM. WDM predominantly a campaigning organisation so fundraising via campaigning has always been something that was a part of fundraising strategy. For a number of years had a programme of so-called campaigner conversion – recruiting new supporters via online actions, and then receiving emails and hopefully taking more online actions and then going into telemarketing. Typically 5% conversion rate. However, last year made this more central to fundraising strategy and tried some new tactics and a more focused strategy which proved very effective and saw a significant uplift in that conversion rate as a result and going to talk through some of these tactics now. Rather than just present this as a first we did this, then that and then the other go from the end and look at the key things that we learned from this project that worked and through exploring those will go into more detail about what we did. But going to start off looking out what our goals were, give a very brief overview of the strategy and the outcomes to put everything else into that context.
Recruiting new activists done in two ways primarily – Facebook and care2.The goals of this work were not all about fundraising. Partly to recruit new online activists. Organisation-wide perspective. And keep supporters really engaged and taking part in as many campaign actions as possible. But also to become donors, and the long-term strategy was for as many as possible of these new recruits to go on to become regular givers.But the aim was that this work around fundraising via campaigning could have benefits across the whole organisation, for both campaigns and for fundraising.
Our strategy involved quite a lot of buzzwords and jargon like this which I’ll try and avoid as much as I can now.
Welcoming new people and introducing them to the organisation. Having a range of online actions throughout the year for people to participate in.Key part – the emails comms strategy.WDM not have the brand recognition of some NGOs so the telemarketing had been shown not to work if done really quickly.
Please don’t tweet this stuff.An additional benefit was also recruiting some new local group members which I’ll mention more about later.
And finally telemarketing, which was the primary means of encouraging people to become regular givers.These were just some of the segments that went into telemarketing after six months last year and the results they produced. Some good results. But really spectacular results to the right – and good numbers of people in those segments too as a result of the emails comms. Clearly want to get as many people into this segment on the right – those who’ve done some more actions and made a one-off donation. This was what we thought would be the case – and so it proved to be.So how to get as many people as possible into that segment on the right is the focus of this presentation – what we learned that worked best to get people to take a few online actions and make a one-off donation.
So the first key learning point.
Here’s a picture of our offices. Well part of it anyway. And the key to the first point is in this picture. Any guesses?It’s the chart on the wall.This chart shows all the different segments of our email list and what emails they would receive when.
See a bit clearer. This was crucial to what was achieved last year.
So the first key thing was segmentation of the email list as much as possible to ensure communications that people received were as personalised as possible was crucial.Every single email people received reflected their previous activity in some form.
Here’s a closer up image which shows in a bit more detail how we broke down some of this.The top line for example was email comms to new recruits from care2. tailored welcome series of emails for example which references the first action people did and referenced care2 were really tailored to that aspect of our work. Followed up with more actions on the same topic before gradually introducing actions on our other campaigns as well as fundraising asks related to the original campaign initially.Second one was for people who came in via a specific action on Facebook – welcome series of emails tailored accordingly with more information about that campaign and then send another action related to the same campaign before introducing other campaigns.All emails made a clear link back to previous email where possible, creating a clear link and narrative from one email to the next.And emails as personal as possible and reflect previous activity.
Send an action - if took action a week later thank again and ask to share; if didn't take the action reminder email. If donated, or if a regular donor already, when sending out a fundraising appeal ask.Emails comms planner to reflect that.Gradually introduced fundraising asks, initially linked to the first campaign issue that recruited on. Talk more about that later.3 campaigns – food, climate and trade.
Christmas appeal showed the level of segmentation we adopted – four different groups of people on our email list.
Also split tested – wrote two versions of the emails to each of the segments, sent each to 10% of the segment and the one that performed the best in 48 hours was then sent to the rest of the list.Multiple versions of each email – sometimes as many as 6 or 8 for an important campaign action. Often not substantial differences between them but those seemingly small changes made a big difference to the results.Which leads on to the second key lesson.
Did a huge amount of testing and segmentation to see what worked best with supporters. Data analysis to see what performed best. Unlike offline marketing, sending test versions to small groups cheap and easy to do with right technology.Also sent a wide range of content – reporting back to people.Email crucial method of communication with supporters to update them on how things were going. Aimed to send an email a week.Always had a call to action but when sent content like infographic asked to share it.Automation.
Automation – many of these emails could be sent out automatically – welcome emails, reminder emails or thank you/share action emails.
Sent range of content to supporters as well.
Sent range of content to supporters as well.
But one thing that also able to do using email is to try to reengage people who we recruited but then hadn’t been active subsequently.After six months after being recruited if someone hadn’t done anything, people sent a survey about our emails. In total have been sent to 8000 people. After the survey emails, we had 1251 people click a link in the survey emails. 750 of those people have now actually taken an online action, and 25 of them have made a donation. So that is a huge number of people reengaged who’d done absolutely nothing in the previous 12 months thanks to just two reactivation emails.
And because email comms so crucial to this strategy, part of strategy was to keep people on the list if at all possible. Set up new unsubscribe page which thanked people for being on our email list, but most importantly gave people immediate option of resubscribing to at least some of our emails.Initially some people internally were not keen on this at WDM. Confusing, and fundraising didn’t want people to just be getting campaign emails. But in fact every time took a campaign action were presented with opportunity to donate so not really a significant issue. And of course these people would otherwise have been completely lost. 560 people unsubscribed from our email list from one of the two reactivation emails. But we also set up a new unsubscribe page (http://action.wdm.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1784&ea.campaign.id=21021), which thanked people for having been on our email list and giving them the option of re-subscribing and just receiving some of our emails. 12% of people who hit unsubscribe immediately resubscribed to our email list.
Series / narrative of actions. Bankers Anonymous. Also making some timely and relevant eg around bank AGMs.
Big range of campaign actions over the course of a year. 15 in total. Maximise opportunities for engagement.
Engage existing supportersRecruit new supportersTest: improved engagement by having a series of themed actions?Test: gradually more complex actions in the seriesDonationsOnline - offline
Mentioned earlier Bankers Anonymous series of actions.Emails could be automated – reminders if not done the action, if did the action send the next in the series.
Got gradually more complex – this one write to local paper.
Finally offlineOf course meant that fewer people did the later ones – but introduced people to the range of ways that could get involved with WDM. And introduced people to the range of work the organisation does. And meant had a series of themed communications – and the emails had very high open and click rates because of that even if people weren’t taking the later actions in huge numbers. As an aside, Online – offline – 150 requested materials, 90 contacted local groups, 10 new local group members
Tailored action pages and forms. Whereas normally would have a longer form for campaign actions as want to capture as much in the way of details as possible.
For supporters for whom we already had full details, did a much shorter form with only the absolute basic information needed.Fundraisers typically wanted forms with more data capture options. But
(without pissing them off)Made use of various strategies to get online activists to make first donation online.
Donating straight after taking action – form pre-filled with data. Once started having pre-filled form data from one to the other and using the new forms designed by More Onion we saw uplift from 0.8% to 2.4% of people donating after taking action. So a trebling of conversions.
CrowdfundingLinked directly to a campaign ask. Sent it to people who’d taken a related campaign action or on similar issue but had never made a donation before. Always prompted with £3 ask. But gave an incentive for people to give more, eg £20 and name in credits of film.
Tailored version of appeals. Targeted at people who’d never made a donation before. £3 prompt. Christmas appeal alone resulted in 154 donations from first-time donors by adopting this strategy. Something campaigners were uneasy about initially – that asking for too small an amount would mean losing out on donations. But in fact discovered through testing that £3 was optimum amount. Average donation was £8 from £3 prompt. £10 – everyone donated £10, far fewer donations. £5 – average donation £7.50Had so many more first time donations through £3 ask and that fitted so well into the strategy of getting a donation as well as take several actions.3. First cash donation. Make as easy as possible. "Crowdfunding" ask - £3 prompt. After taking action pre-filled form.Fundraising appeals - previous donor prompted with £20, new donors prompted with £3. To attempt to maximise the number ofpeople willing to make donationTested what the best prompt amount was. £10 - everyone donated exactly £10, but not many donors. £20£3 prompt - average donation £8 but large number of donations. £20 - fewer donations but average £23.
Possibly most controversial part.Number 5 – the key to fundraising via campaigning is campaigns and fundraising working effectively together.And not so much being campaigns vs fundraising as campaigns and fundraising vs the world.
Campaigners complained that never had resources.
Fundraisers were frustrated as never had as much content as they needed or the extra actions that were needed.Absurd situation.Ultimately both fundraisers and campaigners needed the same thing – active supporters, campaign successes (good for fundraising and the whole reason why organisation exists) and donations – pays everyone’s salary if nothing else.Shared objectives. And once clear over shared objectives working together facilitated.
Much closer collaboration meant capacity issues resolved; content issues resolved; outcomes delivered for campaign by having more actions; donationsfundraisers wrote copy for online actions which were signed off by campaigners. Developed new process. Required trust. But because it delivered across whole organisation, benefits seen by everyone in their areas of work.The strategy of recruiting new people via campaign actions worked for campaigning and works for fundraisingCampaigners and fundraisers working together to deliver a joint strategy meant that able to deliver more than the sum of our parts. Deliver for the whole organisation. It gave the campaigns department extra capacity to deliver actions they wouldn’t have been able to do online. And it meant fundraising had the content and material they needed for supporter engagement and recruitment. Campaigns vs fundraising capacity issues resolved; content issues resolved; outcomes delivered for campaign by having more actions; donations recognition of absurdity of situation fundraisers wrote copy for online actions which were signed off by campaigners.
What made it possible? Mix of technology, good landing pages, and email comms strategy.
Every single thing we did tested, tried, experimented. See what works. Do more of it.
Fundraising via campaigning glyn thomas
• Recruit new activists to email list.
• Ensure activists stay engaged.
• Encourage activists to make one-off
• Become regular givers.
• Welcome new people.
• Range of online actions.
• Email comms strategy – segmentation,
• Encourage one-off donations.
• 277% increase in online actions.
• Increased overall donor base by 6%.
• Over 1000 new one-off donors.
Care 2 – 2
actions but no
Facebook – 1
action & one-
Care2 – 3
actions & one-
6.3% 7.9% 10.2% 15.2%
• Never made a donation previously
but taken action on food campaign
• Never made a donation previously
and not taken action on food
• Previous one-off donor
• Regular giver
2. Email is vital
• Easy to send multiple versions and
have multiple strands at no extra cost.
• Range of content.
3. Series of online actions
• Tailored versions of campaign actions.
4. Lots of opportunities
to make first donation
(without pissing people off too much…)
• Straight after taking online action.
• Tailored versions of financial appeals.
Five key things for
fundraising via campaigning
1. Segmentation of all comms
2. Email is vital
3. Series of online actions - narrative
4. Lots of opportunities for first donation
5. Campaigns & fundraising collaborate