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.
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.
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.
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.
The DMA Nonprofit Federation's 2011 Washington Nonprofit Conference wrapped up day one with Jennifer Bielat, vice president of direct marketing at Easter Seals, joining four other fundraising professionals to present "30 Ideas for Fundraising Success in 2011 and Beyond." Here are the final 10 ideas:
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!
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.
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.
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.