Optimizing your online
fundraising
Nathaniel Ward
September 19, 2013
Let’s test your gut instincts
Version A …?
… or version B?
Here they are side by side
Version B outperforms version A
44.4% increase in conversion rate
95.14% confidence
3.3% increase in average gift
95.14% c...
Let’s try another one
Version A … ?
… or version B?
Here they are side by side
Version B has a huge lift
134.1% increase in conversion rate
99.9% confidence
43.4% increase in average gift
99.9% confide...
And these test results compound
49.3% increase in revenue per visitor
From $4.76 to $7.11
236.3% increase in revenue
From ...
The bottom line: if we hadn’t
tested, we would have left about
$400,000 on the table
How I arrived at this way of
thinking—a journey
me in 2005
My old way of doing things
• Follow best practices
• Measure against industry benchmarks
• Execute online marketing “mecha...
Then we asked an important
question: can we do better?
Gut instinct is a bad approach
“Many of the e-​​mails sent to supporters were
just tests, with different subject lines, se...
The 3 drivers of online donations
1. Traffic to your donation page
2. Conversion rate on that page
3. Average gift
The Flux Capacitor of
Online Revenue Maximization
How this model works
Baseline
+ 26.2 %
in 1 area
+ 26.2 %
in 2 areas
+ 26.2 %
in 3 areas
Traffic 1,000 1,260 1,260 1,260
C...
Think in terms of funnels
• Your funnel is a series of interrelated steps
that move someone to conversion
• No step is ind...
Event registration funnel, version A
Subject: You are Cordially
Invited to a Town Hall Event in
Indianapolis
Event registration funnel, version B
Subject: Don't Miss the Heritage
Action Town Hall Meeting in
Indianapolis
Here’s how version B compares
within the funnel
5.6% decline in open rate
From 21% to 20%; 100% confidence
59.6% increase ...
But it’s not the parts that matter.
It’s the sum of the parts
126.2% increase in RSVPs per send
From 12% to 19%; 100% conf...
To maximize the sum of the parts,
you need to test each element
• Use A/B testing, not sequential testing
• It starts with...
6 steps to set up a successful test
1. Start with a clear hypothesis
• What do you want to learn?
2. Identify your metrics
• What counts as a win?
3. Design y...
4. Identify tools to measure results
• Your ESP; Google Analytics; Optimizely; Omniture
5. Run the test, and be patient
• ...
Too small a sample can mean
unhelpful data
You want 90%+
Unless you have a huge lift, you’ll
need dozens of results
A few mini-cases
Hypothesis: changing the default
gift to $50 amount boosts $50 gifts
Control Treatment 1
+44% $50 gifts
Treatment 2
+64% $...
Version B
Hypothesis: a timer will drive more
revenue than a thermometer
Version A
The countdown timer outperforms
the thermometer
8.64% increase in click-throughs
96.65% confidence
11.8% increase in gifts...
Hypothesis: adding a renewal
button will increase revenue
The renew-donate combo
outperforms just a donate button
83.95% increase in site conversion rate
0.05% to 0.09%; 99.9% conf...
So to review . . .
• Don’t trust your gut
• Test everything
• Always ask, “Can I do better?”
Questions?
@nathanielward
Optimizing your online fundraising
Optimizing your online fundraising
Optimizing your online fundraising
Optimizing your online fundraising
Optimizing your online fundraising
Optimizing your online fundraising
Optimizing your online fundraising
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Optimizing your online fundraising

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Nathaniel Ward's presentation about online fundraising to Empower Action on September 19, 2013, which drew examples from The Heritage Foundation and focused on landing page optimization and the importance of A/B testing.

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Optimizing your online fundraising

  1. 1. Optimizing your online fundraising Nathaniel Ward September 19, 2013
  2. 2. Let’s test your gut instincts
  3. 3. Version A …?
  4. 4. … or version B?
  5. 5. Here they are side by side
  6. 6. Version B outperforms version A 44.4% increase in conversion rate 95.14% confidence 3.3% increase in average gift 95.14% confidence 49.3% increase in revenue per visitor From $4.76 to $7.11; 95.14% confidence
  7. 7. Let’s try another one
  8. 8. Version A … ?
  9. 9. … or version B?
  10. 10. Here they are side by side
  11. 11. Version B has a huge lift 134.1% increase in conversion rate 99.9% confidence 43.4% increase in average gift 99.9% confidence 236.3% increase in revenue per visitor From $7.45 to $25.06
  12. 12. And these test results compound 49.3% increase in revenue per visitor From $4.76 to $7.11 236.3% increase in revenue From $7.45 to $25.06 Test 2: Donation form design Test 1: Overall page design 426.4% increase in revenue From $4.76 to $25.06 Cumulative
  13. 13. The bottom line: if we hadn’t tested, we would have left about $400,000 on the table
  14. 14. How I arrived at this way of thinking—a journey me in 2005
  15. 15. My old way of doing things • Follow best practices • Measure against industry benchmarks • Execute online marketing “mechanically”
  16. 16. Then we asked an important question: can we do better?
  17. 17. Gut instinct is a bad approach “Many of the e-​​mails sent to supporters were just tests, with different subject lines, senders and messages. Inside the campaign, there were office pools on which combination would raise the most money, and often the pools got it wrong.” —Michael Scherer Time, 11/7/12
  18. 18. The 3 drivers of online donations 1. Traffic to your donation page 2. Conversion rate on that page 3. Average gift
  19. 19. The Flux Capacitor of Online Revenue Maximization
  20. 20. How this model works Baseline + 26.2 % in 1 area + 26.2 % in 2 areas + 26.2 % in 3 areas Traffic 1,000 1,260 1,260 1,260 Conversion % 1.00% 1.00% 1.26% 1.26% Average gift $100 $100 $100 $126 Revenue $1,000 $1,260 $1,588 $2,000 Lift 0% 26% 59% 100%
  21. 21. Think in terms of funnels • Your funnel is a series of interrelated steps that move someone to conversion • No step is independent of another Subject line Email copy Landing page
  22. 22. Event registration funnel, version A Subject: You are Cordially Invited to a Town Hall Event in Indianapolis
  23. 23. Event registration funnel, version B Subject: Don't Miss the Heritage Action Town Hall Meeting in Indianapolis
  24. 24. Here’s how version B compares within the funnel 5.6% decline in open rate From 21% to 20%; 100% confidence 59.6% increase in click-through rate From 12% to 19%; 100% confidence 50.8% decrease in RSVPs per visitor From 23% to 11%; 100% confidence
  25. 25. But it’s not the parts that matter. It’s the sum of the parts 126.2% increase in RSVPs per send From 12% to 19%; 100% confidence
  26. 26. To maximize the sum of the parts, you need to test each element • Use A/B testing, not sequential testing • It starts with planning, thinking, and learning • Technology comes last • Don’t test just to check a box
  27. 27. 6 steps to set up a successful test
  28. 28. 1. Start with a clear hypothesis • What do you want to learn? 2. Identify your metrics • What counts as a win? 3. Design your test • Control for external factors, including time
  29. 29. 4. Identify tools to measure results • Your ESP; Google Analytics; Optimizely; Omniture 5. Run the test, and be patient • Results could take days or weeks to come in 6. Aim for statistical significance • Helps ensure your results are repeatable • http://www.mystatscalc.com/
  30. 30. Too small a sample can mean unhelpful data You want 90%+
  31. 31. Unless you have a huge lift, you’ll need dozens of results
  32. 32. A few mini-cases
  33. 33. Hypothesis: changing the default gift to $50 amount boosts $50 gifts Control Treatment 1 +44% $50 gifts Treatment 2 +64% $50 gifts
  34. 34. Version B Hypothesis: a timer will drive more revenue than a thermometer Version A
  35. 35. The countdown timer outperforms the thermometer 8.64% increase in click-throughs 96.65% confidence 11.8% increase in gifts 7.5% increase in revenue per e-mail sent 100% confidence
  36. 36. Hypothesis: adding a renewal button will increase revenue
  37. 37. The renew-donate combo outperforms just a donate button 83.95% increase in site conversion rate 0.05% to 0.09%; 99.9% confidence 62.5% increase in revenue per site visitor $0.06 to $0.09; 98.8% confidence
  38. 38. So to review . . . • Don’t trust your gut • Test everything • Always ask, “Can I do better?”
  39. 39. Questions? @nathanielward

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