Thanks, Come Again - Audience-Centric Design


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This is the presentation I gave at Forum One's "Thanks, Come Again - Audience-Centric Design" seminar on November 5, 2009 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. It discusses how - at Mercy Corps - we've engaged our supporters and donors through compelling online storytelling and a wide variety of ways that they can take action on our behalf.

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Thanks, Come Again - Audience-Centric Design

  1. 1. Thanks, Come Again: Audience-Centric User Experience Roger Burks, Mercy Corps [email_address] National Press Club Washington, DC November 5, 2009
  2. 2. The “Ladder of Engagement”
  3. 3. The “Jungle Gym of Engagement”
  4. 4. “ Global Engagement” One hub, four satellite websites, one goal: information, engagement and action across multiple channels Hub: Mercy Corps ( Global Envision ( Global Citizen Corps ( MicroMentor ( Action Center (
  5. 5. Mercy Corps’ strategy: Storytelling Why storytelling? Studies show that you have only 56 seconds to convince an online reader that they should read more and stay on your website. OUR JOB: Connect readers to a name, a face and a compelling story as quickly as possible, so that they’ll stay and possibly take action.
  6. 6. Mercy Corps’ strategy: Storytelling <ul><li>Action is at the heart of what we do - it’s the step that connects our constituents to those we serve. </li></ul><ul><li>But how do we get that anonymous person sitting behind a computer screen to make that commitment and take action? </li></ul><ul><li>We first have to make them: </li></ul><ul><li>Think </li></ul><ul><li>Feel </li></ul><ul><li>Care </li></ul>
  7. 7. PEOPLE RELATE TO OTHER PEOPLE - NOT PROGRAMS. Which is the more compelling story to you? “ Mercy Corps Congo prevents morbidity and mortality by providing lifesaving services to both displaced families and the general population, fills gaps in water and sanitation services when needed, and advocates for improved services within the humanitarian coordination units .” Or…
  8. 8. “ Her name is Laurene. She lives in a church. She is 10 years old. “ She is among thousands of children who have taken refuge in urban Goma's gritty neighborhoods rather than risk dangers in the camps. They're being housed in churches, schools, community centers and other public buildings - but they're neither getting the food nor most of the other assistance that those in the camps are receiving. “ Mercy Corps has stepped up to fill the void and meet at least three of their most critical needs: clean water, sanitation and hygiene…but it's not easy to explain why we didn't bring food today. “ So Laurene sits quietly on a church pew, in the place she now calls home, and waits for something to eat.”
  9. 9. <ul><li>Checklist for a compelling </li></ul><ul><li>online story: </li></ul><ul><li>Is this a story I want to tell? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the story have a heartbeat? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the story transformative? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it sound like us? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it have an expiration date? </li></ul><ul><li>Will it make the reader want to do something? </li></ul>Mercy Corps’ strategy: Storytelling
  10. 10. – March 2004
  11. 11. – today
  12. 12. – March 2004, inside page
  13. 13. – today, inside page
  14. 14. by the numbers <ul><li>Nearly 2,000 stories and other pieces </li></ul><ul><li>$6 million raised online in FY09 </li></ul><ul><li>Approximately $40 million raised online over last five years </li></ul><ul><li>About 4,000 active online monthly givers </li></ul><ul><li>280K page views per month - 100K unique visitors (1 million views and 375K unique in emergency) </li></ul>
  15. 15. How Mercy Corps’ storytelling approach stacks up <ul><li>Comparison with 12 other international NGOs </li></ul><ul><li>Higher percentage of online donations </li></ul><ul><li>43% compared to group average of 17% </li></ul><ul><li>More money per online donor </li></ul><ul><li>$150 annual revenue — 20% higher than group average </li></ul><ul><li>Younger and more generous online donors </li></ul><ul><li>48% of our online donors are 44 years old or younger — group average is 35%. The 35-44 age group averaged $165 annual revenue per online donor. </li></ul>
  16. 20. A new strategy: <ul><li>“ A daily look into the work, thoughts and ideas of our team around the world” </li></ul><ul><li>Launched in May 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Already 246 entries </li></ul><ul><li>90 unique bloggers from 25 countries </li></ul><ul><li>Bloggers can post their entries directly to the website </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on authenticity , not polish </li></ul>
  17. 21. <ul><li>Recent disasters in Indonesia and Samoa first test of real-time emergency blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Eight field correspondents </li></ul><ul><li>Content comes directly from field </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent updates encourage return visits (and possible donations) </li></ul>A new strategy:
  18. 22. “ Your Facebook page and web site has kept me up to date much faster than the standard media seems to have done. I've just been looking around the net for information and you were right there .” – Darcy Sholts, a comment on our Facebook page A new strategy:
  19. 23. From Thanks, come again – for the news