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DCist Breakout Session by Tajah McQueen

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Presentation from Breakout Session:
WBUR’s BizLab is an innovation lab identifying and testing new revenue streams for public media. With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Knight Foundation, we collaborate with public radio stations across the country on testing new ways of raising funds. In this session, WAMU’s DCist team, Louisville Public Media’s do502.com events team, and WBUR’s podcast team will share their learnings from user-centered experiments designed to convert their largely passive communities into active donors. We will break down each experiment into the questions they were designed to answer, get the audience to guess the outcomes, and then provide a recipe for how to replicate the success at a variety of nonprofit news organizations

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DCist Breakout Session by Tajah McQueen

  1. 1. ● “Homepage of D.C.” ○ Zeitgeist-y ○ Knowledgeable friend ● All local all the time ○ ~12 posts a day ● News + Art+ Food + Curiosities
  2. 2. ● 2004: Launched ● March 2017: Gothamist purchased by DNAinfo ● November 2017: Shut down ● February 2018: Purchased by WAMU ○ May: Launched Kickstarter ● June 2018: Restarted publication ● January 2019: Began work on membership program
  3. 3. ● Digital local news landscape + pub media ○ Subscription, donation, membership ○ WAMU vs. DCist ● Elements EVENTS EDITORIAL COLLABORATION MEMBERS ONLY COMMUNICATION SWAG
  4. 4. ● survey data ● in-person focus groups ● traffic analysis
  5. 5. ● Audience: 1,449 people ○ Kickstarter backers + online donors + survey respondents ● Timeline: May-August ● Approach: Three email campaigns over three months, testing different conversion methods.
  6. 6. SUSTAINING vs. ONE TIME + SUSTAINING Is there benefit to only accepting sustaining (monthly) gifts to be considered a member, or are we limiting our fundraising potential?
  7. 7. Pro Con ● Easier to only have one type of donor ● Don’t need to worry about renewals ● Feels more like a “membership” ● Can still take one-time donations as non-members ● Missed revenue (?) ● It usually takes 2+ one time gifts before people become sustainers ● Some people don’t want to be sustainers ● Makes membership less accessible
  8. 8. SUSTAINING vs. ONE TIME + SUSTAINING Hypothesis: Maddie believes that accepting both one time and sustaining gifts will have a significantly higher conversion rate. Rachel believes that accepting sustaining only will only have a slightly lower conversion rate, and the value of long-term sustainers will outweigh the difference.
  9. 9. Gift Type Total Amount raised Average gift Sustainers 116 $13,284.00 $114.52 One-Time 12 $817.00 $68.08
  10. 10. Email #1 Email #2 Email #3 Email A Sustainin g Only Email B One time + Sustaining Email A Sustaining Only Email B One time + Sustaining Email A Sustaining Only Email B One time + Sustaining One time gifts - 4 - 3 - 3 One-time $ - $258 - $204 - $290 Sustaining gifts 38 36 17 10 5 8 Sustaining $ $4,236 $4,296 $2,268 $1,056 $480 $792 Sent to 700 711 655 667 624 637 Opens 62% (435) 65% (463) 51% (333) 55% (367) 32% (202) 32% (205) Click through 18% 20% 8.2% 20% 3% 4% Total Dollars Raised $4,236 $4,554 $2,268 $1,260 $480 $1,082
  11. 11. SUSTAINING vs. ONE TIME + SUSTAINING EVENT INVITE vs. GENERAL PERKS IMPACT OF THANK YOU GIFTS Does offering DCist swag on the donation form lead to more conversions or higher levels selected? Hypothesis: Offering DCist swag at the $12/m and $25/m levels will lead to greater conversions and higher levels selected. We’re interested to see at what percentage premiums are selected, and if it is more or less than WAMU donors (35%)
  12. 12. SUSTAINING vs. ONE TIME + SUSTAINING Does offering tickets to an exclusive event lead to membership conversion? Hypothesis: Yes. EVENT INVITE vs. GENERAL PERKS EVENT INVITE vs. GENERAL PERKS
  13. 13. Total audience (1449) SUSTAINING vs. ONE TIME + SUSTAINING SUSTAINING ONLY SWAG REGULAR APPEAL NO SWAG EVENTS APPEAL - NEW MEMBERS - NEW MEMBERS
  14. 14. ● Limiting our pool ● What we didn’t decide to test ○ membership experiences ○ social conversion tactics ● DCist vs. WAMU messaging
  15. 15. ● Rachel Sadon, editor in chief: rsadon@wamu.org ● Maddie Poore, membership manager: mpoore@wamu.org
  16. 16. SUSTAINING vs. ONE TIME + SUSTAINING IMPACT OF THANK YOU GIFTS EVENT INVITE vs. GENERAL PERKS

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