5 Fundraising Acquisition Tests With Legs
June 9, 2014

Here are five direct-mail packages that have a history of success across a wide range of nonprofit organizations. Adapting them to your mission and message can help reduce the some of the risk that goes along with testing.

Direct-Mail Testing to Nowhere
May 30, 2014

I suspect a good part of the reason why fundraising and especially acquisition are so flat or down lies in the business-as-usual, risk-adverse nature prevalent in the contemporary nonprofit mentality. Nowhere is this affliction among both agencies and nonprofits alike more pronounced than when it comes to direct-mail testing. The bread and butter of conventional nonprofit testing methodology has long been the A/B split test. And while the logic is sound, it is incredibly inefficient and unproductive.

Fundraising: This Is Not a Test
May 12, 2014

Accurate, statistically valid testing is a rigorous process. It needs to be conducted by people who not only know how to do it, but who also know how to properly analyze the results.

Giving Donors Data on a Charity's Impact Doesn't Always Lead to More Gifts
April 25, 2014

Providing data on a charity’s impact doesn’t necessarily translate into more gifts from prior donors, says a new report. Freedom From Hunger sent direct-mail appeals to its supporters, which all included narrative stories about how it benefited individuals. Some also included scientific data on the impact of the charity’s work.

Donors who had given $100-plus in the past were more likely to give again when they encountered the data on the charity’s impact, but donors who had given less than $100 were actually less likely to donate when the appeal included the data.

How Changing 1 Sentence Led to a 42 Percent Increase in Revenue
April 9, 2014

My team and I were doing all of the online donor-acquisition work with the George W. Bush Presidential Center. In our very first test, we made a very subtle change. The only difference appears in just one sentence — the very last sentence of the email. We ran the test. And check out the results — the new treatment, the one with revised sentence, generated a 139 percent increase in the clickthrough rate and a 42 percent increase in revenue.

Small Change Can Yield Big Bucks: A/B Testing Your Fundraising Landing Pages, Part 1
January 16, 2014

What would 150 percent more online donations mean to your organization? Would an increase like that pay for another staffer? Another round of direct mail? Maybe relieve some pressure on your budget? It might seem unlikely, but sometimes just a small change to the wording of your fundraising landing pages can make a big difference in the results. In the case of one New York City campaign, it boosted online donations by 158 percent!

Testing Your Donation Form: Running a Usability Test
December 26, 2013

Running a usability test of your online donation form and website can give you a few jitters if you’ve never done it, but usability testing is not complicated. Anyone can do it. Moreover, usability testing is an invaluable tool for improving your website design and increasing donation conversions. Running your test really only involves four aspects: orienting your participants, giving test tasks, observing participants driving your website (without helping) and wrapping up with exit questions.

If You Aren't Testing, You Aren't Really Fundraising
October 3, 2013

The bbcon session, "60 Tests in 60 Minutes," provided a great reminder for direct-response fundraisers of all missions, locations and sizes — if you aren't testing, you aren't really fundraising.

Case Study on How Not to Design a Data-Driven Experiment
August 26, 2013

In an attempt to increase its renewal rate, NTEN learned several valuable lessons in how not to design a data-driven experiment. The top five takeaways: 1. Don't change too many variables. 2. Set up a control case. 3. Plan out the full experiment ahead of time, including the analysis. 4. Start with small, easy-to-design experiments. 5. Double check your plan against the scientific method.