Web Bonus: The Art and Science of e-Cultivation
Online constituent relationship management tools enable organizations to connect with donors and prospects with increasing success. In the span of just a few years, the amount raised online by many nonprofit organizations has grown significantly. Still, donor e-cultivation is an evolving specialty that requires development professionals to be constantly on the alert to measure results and refine strategies and tactics where needed to deepen engagement with donors and prospects.
How do you know if your online marketing and fundraising program is successful? Online marketing offers limitless metrics for analysis. Every organization is unique and has its own goals, so the first step is to focus on your organization’s strategic objectives, then define the metrics that best align with your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? What is the pattern of giving? Are constituents moving back and forth between channels? Are your key metrics trending up?
There has been a great deal of discussion on the value of measuring Web site visitors, open rates and click-throughs. These are the easiest metrics to obtain, and therefore get the most attention. But do these measures tell us anything important? Some observers suggest organizations stop looking at open and click-through rates altogether and focus exclusively on other, more conclusive measurements, such as conversion rates (the percentage of visitors to a Web site that take a positive action, e.g., subscribe, join or donate). There is no one magic number for donation page completion rates — they vary depending on the form and its content, the e-mail appeal used, list quality and cause.
In January, Convio published an analysis across 30 different organizations in six different verticals on several metrics, including donation page conversion rates where constituents were driven to those pages by e-mail campaigns. Our study found a median conversion rate (people reaching the donation pages to actually giving) of 10 percent, with significant variance by vertical (3 percent to 20 percent).