Posted by & filed under Analytics, Crowdfunding, Digital, Marketing/Communications, Mobile Giving, Social Media.

Beate Sørum

Digital Fundraising Consultant, b.bold

1. Not having clear, prioritized goals

If you ask around your organization why you have a website – the answers may be embarrassing. A lot of the time it’ll be “just cuz”.

The first step in any successful strategy is to set goals. Web strategies are no exception. How does your webpage tie in with your organizations overall goals? Define 3-4 objectives in prioritized order, with measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).

The objectives should be decided by high level management to give you mandate to operate. Business objectives can be different; raising money, improving retention, providing a service to the public, raising knowledge of a certain problem etc.

2. Not knowing your users needsbsblog

It is really hard to attract users to your page if you don’t know what they want from you.

Invest in research to find out. From extensive surveys, to talking to a few users or potential users – anything is better than nothing. The more complex your webpage, the more research you must do.

Once you know what the users want, you know why they come. Focus your energy on the pages where business goals and users needs overlap. Make sure these are updated, prioritized and have clear ways forward to other actions you’d like them to take (like donating).

3. Violating best practice in donation forms

Since digital income is still a small part of our total income, we tend to forget about all the money we’re losing out on by not paying proper attention to usability and interaction design. The other day, I went to make a donation to a big international charity, only to find a non mobile-friendly page
that asked far too much information, and eventually crashed. No money for them.

Forms should be mobile friendly, ask as little information as you can get away with (need-to-know basis only!), field lengths adapted to the information that go in them, fields that belong together grouped (like name-fields, address-fields and electronic addresses), remove buttons that hurt more than help, clearly labelled buttons – just to mention a few.

Have an interaction designer look your forms over.

4. Presenting your donors with the paradox of choice

We want everyone to engage in our cause, no matter their level of commitment/income. So we heap on with ways to support us. Make a donation! Recurring donor! Become a member! Like us on Facebook! Post to instagram! Join the newsletter! Run a marathon!… you get the picture.

It’s nice that we want to allow anyone to support us. But then we’re not telling anyone what we need them to do. Your donors are confused. They want to help, but don’t what you need help with. Studies have shown that when presented with too many options, we don’t make a choice at all.

Have one preferred action prominent as the «normal» thing to do. Then by all means present all other ways to support, below. People who don’t want the default action will look for the others. People who just want to support you, will know what to do. Win-win-win.

5. Relying on your “Donate Now!” button

We write compelling impact stories, showing how we make a difference in the world. And then at the end of them – nothing. We expect people to go look for the donate now-button to give if they are so inclined.

What’s the number one rule of fundraising? Ask! Attention is on the content. Making the donate now-button bigger is just like making web banners flashier. They still won’t work. Studies show that we don’t see them. It’s not that we ignore them – if it looks like advertising, we don’t see it at all.

So ask in the content. “Would you like to make a donation to help us do more work like this?” Not only are you asking – you are also not averting peoples attention by having them start thinking logically to find how to give. Giving is an emotional decision – not a rational one. Making people think loses you the gift.

Even better than a text link, is including the donation form itself. Then you can keep people in the same emotional context as when they decided to give.

6. Not testing

The only way to know what works is to test. Think another default amount will give you higher donations? Test it. Think a different wording in your ask will be more effective? Test it! Think people are not finding things on your page? Test it.

There are many ways to do user testing, from looking at web statistics, to lab research with eye-tracking. Somewhere in the middle sits my favorite – guerrilla-testing. Grab a mobile device, go to the nearest shopping centre and ask people to do the tasks you’ve set up, from donating to finding information. You’ll learn lots from observing users trying out your product.

7. Not following up on your objectives and KPI’s

Once you’ve set your goals – how will you know if you’re reaching them if you’re not following up? Be sure to follow up on the right statistics, and making adjustments where you need to, to reach your goals.

If you avoid these 7 deadly sins, I see a bright web future for you! Come to my Congress session in November to learn more about all of the above.

Beate is a well-known international public speaker, who runs digital fundraising consultancy b.bold. She has more than five years of digital fundraising expertise, most of which is from  the Norwegian Cancer Society, where she among other things doubled the digital fundraising return. Her special interests are user experience, landing page and donation form design, content strategy and using social media for donor stewardship. Beate will be presenting at Congress 2014 in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter @BeateSorum

 

Posted by & filed under Analytics, Marketing/Communications, Mobile Giving, Next Generation Philanthropy, Social Media.

Philip King, Founder, The Donation Funnel Project

You’ve probably heard about the new Apple watch, but don’t plan to buy one soon. Unless you’re super geeky, and if so please see me after one of my presentations at this year’s Congress!

But I’ll bet you’ve upgraded your smartphone in the past 18 months.applewatch

Did it hit your radar that Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion earlier this year? Wonder why a social networking company would pay so much for a messaging app that is popular in Africa and India? The world is changing, particularly from a marketing and communications perspective, and it is becoming harder to get anyone’s attention, including donors.

Let’s consider your new smartphone: I’ll bet you spend more time on it than you did on your old one. In fact, I’ll bet you read your email pretty easily now on that small screen. You may even spend more time on Facebook than you did when Facebook was a desktop/laptop-only experience for you. And with recent upgrades to the cellular data speeds you spend more time using your mobile browser to visit websites, often linked from your email or Facebook.

If you’re having this experience, it’s not hard to imagine that your donors are too. Of course you’ll have all sorts of demographic tribes in your donor base: young/old, male/female, rich/not-so-rich. And these tribes will all behave in slightly different ways. But one thing is for sure: they’re all going mobile!

I’ll jump straight to the punchline: take out your smartphone. Go to your charity’s website. Make a $5 donation.

How did that feel? For most of you not so great. Still using only your smartphone try registering for that run/walk next month, or buying tickets to the gala dinner. You get the point. Our websites haven’t kept up with our donors’ handheld technology. Even websites that are “responsive” can be clumsy to use and result in “bounce” or an “abandoned visit”: two of the most dreaded terms for online fundraisers.

Now fast forward to the not-too-distant future and imagine when donors start reading their email, checking Facebook and visiting websites on their watch… Last year we could comfort ourselves and say “that’s OK, most of our donors visit our website or Facebook page on their laptops or desktops.” But for many fundraisers this changed in 2014. The mobile tipping point has already passed, or will happen sometime in the next 12 months. Try this: get your team to estimate which month your “tipping point” will occur for your organization: the month at which most of your website audience will view you through a mobile device.

If you’re interested in topics like this I hope you’ll join me for one of my sessions at Congress, and we’ll discuss questions such as:

  • How much lower are average smartphone donations compared to laptops and tablets?
  • Who is doing a great job with mobile communications, and what does that look like?
  • What opportunities will mobile give us to find new donors and new dollars?

Philip King is the founder of The Donation Funnel Project: an experiment in online and mobile fundraising. Prior to that he has a long and successful track record as a digital fundraiser as the President and CEO of Artez Interactive, VP of Mobile for Cornerstone, and VP of E-Business at the United Way of Greater Toronto. He has worked with some of the world’s leading fundraising teams including Comic Relief in the UK, Leukaemia Foundation in Australia, UNICEF and SickKids Foundation in Canada, and the Humane Society of the United States. Philip will be presenting at Congress 2014 and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilipKingIV

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Analytics, Data Management, Marketing/Communications, Metrics.

Liz Rejman, CFRE

Let’s face it: most people would much rather be meeting with donors than updating contact information in the database. Very few people jump at the chance to review data protocols and establish coding. Data management can be scary, confusing, and overwhelming.

However, poor data management costs your organization time and money. When properly managed, data can improve customer service, operational efficiency and assist in informed decision making within an organization.

Here’s the secret to inspiring a love for data and data management: it isn’t the data itself that is compelling. It’s the story it tells. Do you know what your data is telling you?

In order for your data to tell you an accurate story of your organization, there are three things to consider.

You need to know why the story is important.talk data button
Why do you need the data? What will it be used for? Do you send customized documents and letters to your donors? Do you track and report specific metrics for your board members? How do you measure success within a campaign or in your performance reviews? In all of these instances, data helps to tell the story of your past successes.

Data should be telling stories, but not secrets. Just as data will help tell a great story; it shouldn’t jeopardize donor trust while doing so. Don’t collect data for the sake of collecting it. Give serious consideration as to why you want to collect data and what will be its use.

For example, when I work with fundraisers to establish reports, I always ask them to share their vision of what the report will look like (and in some cases, I will even ask for a mock-up of the report). I want to know:

  • What is the purpose of the report?
  • What is it measuring?
  • Who will see it? How often will they see it?
  • How detailed does the information need to be?

Knowing what the end result will be helps determine what pieces of data are needed, who needs to be collecting and maintaining that data and how often it needs to be reviewed.

You need to have your data talk in a consistent language.
The first thing I learned about database management and reporting was “garbage in, garbage out.” If you data isn’t consistent in both where and how it is entered, the story will always be inaccurate. This is where you can get your database to work for you – take advantage of drop-down menus and checkboxes for consistent formatting. Text boxes have their place, but know that if there are multiple ways to spell a word or format a phrase, it will be spelled and formatted in every way conceivable.

You need to ensure that everyone can add to the data conversation.
If the data isn’t in the database, it doesn’t exist and it won’t be part of the story. You need to make it easy to add data to the database. Data entry protocols that are too complex won’t be adopted or remembered. If a particular data entry protocol can’t be mastered in a 10 minute training session, it’s too complicated. And if a piece of data needs to be coded in multiple places, there better be a really good reason why.

Data can tell you where you’re at, help you establish trends and patterns and assist in making informed decisions. It can tell the story of your past, present and even predict some of the future. But you need to help it talk to you. So the next time the topic of database management comes up, don’t be afraid to say “talk data to me.”

LiZ RejmanLiz Rejman, CFRE has spent her entire career in the nonprofit sector bringing her dynamic expertise to health care, education and the arts, with a focus on database management and prospect researchShe recently transitioned from full time researcher at a large hospital foundation to Head of Development and one person fundraiser for Museum London (Canada). Follow her on Twitter, @erejman or visit her blog.

 

Posted by & filed under Analytics, Metrics, Mobile Giving, Social Media.

Brock Warner

If you’ve been to a conference session about fundraising using social media, you know there is always someone that eventually says “yeah this is nice and all, but how much money did it raise?

Stop asking that question.

What you need to start asking is “how did you track your fundraising results?” because all the keyword strategy, timing tests, creative tests or anything else is worthless, if we can’t adequately track the true fundraising results. Innovation tomorrow will come when our present-day strategies prove worthy of investment.

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