Tue, June 24 2014

Why your nonprofit’s URL matters

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Websites and web usability •

As someone with a common name that’s spelled a bit differently, I’m all too aware of the confusion and errors that happen because of a unique moniker. When people are expecting Karen with a K, I’m forever spelling out C-a-r-y-n. For me, this typically only causes minor inconvenience and some interesting conversations about names. For your organization, though, an unusual name, unconventional spelling, or indistinguishable acronym could negatively affect your marketing efforts.

The same can be said for your nonprofit’s domain name. Having an easy-to-remember (and difficult to mess up) domain name can help supporters quickly find your organization online and reduce confusion when you’re telling folks about your nonprofit on the phone, in person, or in print.

How do you choose the right URL for your nonprofit? Marc Pitman of FundraisingCoach.com offers these tips on choosing a good domain name:

1. Keep it simple.  Make sure it’s easy to remember and understand, especially when saying it out loud.
2. Avoid numbers when possible. When you substitute numbers for words, it’s more difficult for your supporters to remember if your web address contains the numeral or the number spelled out.
3. Also register variants of your name. If there are common misspellings or typos that might lead your supporters astray, consider registering those domains as well, so you can point those visitors in the right direction.
4. Get the .com, and other extensions. Most organizations will want to get the .org of their chosen domain name, but cover your bases and register other extensions of the same domain name. Soon, you’ll also be able to register .ngo and .ong thanks to the folks at Public Internet Registry.

Network for Good is partnering with Public Internet Registry to help get the word out about the new .ngo and .ong domains. These domains will give nonprofits and other non-governmental organizations worldwide an opportunity to secure a new top-level web address. Since Public Interest Registry will manage a validation process to ensure that only genuine NGOs are granted these new domains, having an .ngo or .ong address will help organizations reinforce trust and credibility.

The new domains will be available early next year. So, what can you do now? Sign up to submit your Expression of Interest—you’ll receive updates about these new domains and be the first to know when .ngo and .ong are available. For more details on submitting your Expression of Interest and to sign up, visit www.globalngo.org

Do you plan to secure an .ngo/.ong domain name for your organization? Share your domain name questions and experiences in the comments below to join the conversation.

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Mon, June 16 2014

3 basic rules for raising more online

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Websites and web usability •

Don’t let the speed and convenience of technology suck the life out of your fundraising. Online or off, you must connect with your donors and inspire them to take action. When creating your online giving strategy, keep these three rules in mind:

1. Keep donors in the moment of giving.
2. Make it easy.
3. Focus on the relationship with the donor.

Here’s a quick slideshow that helps illustrate these key qualities:

Download the full webinar recording and slides, then register for the free Ultimate Donation Page Course to get more in-depth guidance on optimizing your online fundraising.

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Fri, May 30 2014

Key takeaways from the Internet Trends Report

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Marketing essentials • Websites and web usability •

Affectionately known as “Queen of the Net,” Mary Meeker is back with her zeitgeist of digital insight. Meeker, partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, presented the 2014 Internet Trends report during this week’s Code Conference. This annual report is full of useful nuggets, including key stats and opportunities for innovation. As fundraising and nonprofit marketing evolves in an increasingly digital world, this type of insight can help you understand how the landscape is changing and how these changes may affect and inform your efforts to acquire and engage donors over the next few years. A few highlights:

Mobile usage, smartphones, and tablets are still on the rise.

The percent of mobile traffic is growing over 1.5x per year, with this growth expected to continue or accelerate in the coming years. Mobile traffic is currently 25% of all global Internet traffic, a sharp jump from the 14% seen this time last year.

Takeaway:  No surprise: mobile is now a primary way we access information and services online. It’s time to understand how your audiences are using mobile by analyzing your own traffic, then plan accordingly for a mobile-friendly experience.

Smartphone users now make up 30% of all mobile phone users. Meanwhile, tablets are growing more rapidly than PCs ever did, as technology and processing power becomes more inexpensive and portable.

Takeaway:  Test your key online interaction points to ensure they are functional and friendly to smartphone and tablet users. Think about how smartphone and tablet use differs from PC (not just how these devices are used, but also where and when), and leverage the smart interfaces and features that users expect on these devices.


Communication continues to shift from broadcast to targeted conversations.

New social channels and messaging apps (such as WhatsApp) have allowed online communications to shift from large broadcasts of fewer messages to more frequent communications with smaller groups.

Takeaway:  You don’t have to Snapchat with your donors, but think about how more personalized and targeted messages may be more effective for your organization’s most valuable relationships.

Technology requires us to re-imagine content.

Social content distribution is driven more frequently through a few key platforms: Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter now drive nearly 30% of all social traffic referrals. The life cycle is relatively short, though, with an average piece of content reaching half its total social referrals in just 6.5 hours on Twitter or 9 hours on Facebook.

Takeaway:  Find out which channels are referring the most traffic to your site and key content. Offer news and updates that are optimized for social platforms and sharing, then plan your distribution accordingly to take the social “half life” into account.

The ‘visual social web’ has grown rapidly over the past year, with platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine providing a powerful intersection of mobile, social, and visual content. Over 1.8 billion photos are uploaded and shared each day, much of that volume being driven by real-time platforms like Snapchat and WhatsApp.

Takeaway:  Beyond engaging your supporters with your own images, encourage them to share photos of your impact and work to help build interest and amplify your reach.

Visual Social Web Growth

Our multi-screen world has unlocked a new age of video consumption, with digital audiences watching more on-demand long form video, as well as short, online. It’s also worth noting that smartphones are now the most viewed/used medium for video in many countries.

Takeaway:  Your best stories can be even more compelling in video form. Consider the video opportunities you already have—event footage, historic clips, testimonials—and make them part of your regular communication with supporters.  For best results, host your videos in such a way that they are mobile-friendly and sharable.


The report also contains keen observations on the shifts in the education and healthcare sectors, and the opportunities of big data.

Check out the full report for more, then chime in below to let us know which stat is most exciting for you and your organization.

 

KPCB Internet trends 2014 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

 

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Mon, February 24 2014

5 Fundraising Metrics Worth Monitoring in Google Analytics

David Hartstein's avatar

Partner at Wired Impact

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Websites and web usability •

[Editor’s note: Today’s post comes to us from David Hartstein, partner at Wired Impact, a web design company that builds websites for nonprofits. David shares some helpful hints on tracking and interpreting key fundraising metrics through Google Analytics.]

Data can be daunting. Not only can the idea of delving into numbers be intimidating, but there are also a ton of terms you need to wrap your head around before anything makes much sense. And even after you have a grasp of the terminology it’s tough to know where to start.

When it comes to measuring your nonprofit’s online fundraising efforts, it’s easy (and common) to get lost, floating amidst the sea of data available.

What data matters the most? And how do you find it? While there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer, there is a common starting point.

Everything Centers Around Online Profit

The first key when measuring online fundraising is a sound mindset. Instead of giving every metric equal weight, remember:

All the decisions you make with regards to online fundraising center around online profit.

That’s the bottom line. If fundraising is one of your website goals, online profit should be your primary concern when measuring online fundraising. The metrics outlined below don’t matter in their own right. They only matter insofar as they ultimately lead to more overall dollars for your organization.

Total profit from online giving is the metric that should keep you up at night. It’s the one that you should celebrate first and foremost when reviewing your website data. It’s the one that should determine if your website is a success (again, assuming boosting donations is one of your primary website goals).

But profit isn’t easily tracked in most analytics tools since most tools are unaware of your expenses. So while you need to be mindful of your expenses, when using your analytics tool you’ll likely focus on revenue instead of profit.

Become consumed with driving up your online revenue. Then, use the metrics below to determine how you actually make that happen.

How to Configure Google Analytics

Before diving into the metrics, it’s worth noting that while we’re using Google Analytics here, you can likely measure similar metrics with whatever analytics tool you’re using. If you’re using a system outside of your website to accept donations, you should check out what analytics and reporting they have available.

Also, while Google Analytics is incredibly powerful and free, it takes a bit of configuring to allow you to measure everything I outline here. The full details on configuration fall outside the scope of this post, but to get started, you’ll need to do the following:

· Set up receiving a donation as a goal in your Google Analytics. (The easiest way is to create a “Thanks for Donating” page that users see after they donate and set this up as a Destination Goal in Google Analytics. If you’re using Network for Good’s DonateNow, a confirmation/thank you page is already created for you.)

· Set up an advanced segment for Donors that includes users who complete your goal of making a donation.

· If possible, set up Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics to see actual revenue numbers.

· If you’re using a third-party application to accept donations off of your website, set up cross-domain tracking (if possible) to pass data back to your Google Analytics account.

If you need further help, explain what you’re looking to do to your web developer and ask them to get it all set up for you. Sometimes the setup gets a bit technical.

But once it’s set up you’ll be able to see the following helpful metrics in Google Analytics.

1. Landing Pages Leading to the Most Donations

A landing page is the first page a visitor lands on when they come on your site.

Look at which landing pages are leading to the most donations, both in total revenue and total number of donations. Pick your best landing pages and examine what makes them so great. Do you have compelling stories or strong calls to action?

But solely looking at donation totals can be skewed by traffic. Your most popular pages are likely driving more donations largely because they get more visitors. For that reason, it’s important to also look at the Ecommerce Conversion Rate. This rate shows what percentage of visitors landing on a given page end up making a donation. Pages with higher conversion rates are more efficiently convincing website visitors to become donors.

Consider both donation totals and conversion rates together to determine which pages are most effective. Then use what’s working from these landing pages on some of your other popular landing pages to drive up online revenue.

Landing Pages

How to Find It

To see which landing pages are leading to the most donations:

1. Select your Donors advanced segment (outlined above)

2. In the left sidebar, select Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

2. Traffic Sources Leading to the Most Donations

It can also be beneficial to track which traffic sources are driving the most donations on your website. Maybe you’re getting a lot of traffic from one source (like search), but visitors from another traffic source (like your email newsletters) are ultimately making more donations.

Knowing which traffic sources are driving the most donations can help you determine which ones are working and which ones may need more attention. You can also take what’s working from one traffic source and figure out the best way to apply it to another in order to drive more donations.

Channels

How to Find It

To see which traffic sources are leading to the most donations:

1. Make sure All Visits is selected (instead of your Donors advanced segment)

2. In the left sidebar, select Acquisition > Channels

3. Average Value of a Donor from Each Traffic Source

If you’ve set up Ecommerce tracking, calculating the average value of a donor from each traffic source can help you determine where to focus your energy. If visitors from a specific source tend to donate more on average, it’s likely worth trying to drive more traffic from that source to see if the trend holds.

How to Find It

To calculate the average value of a donor from a specific traffic source:

1. Select your Donors advanced segment

2. In the left sidebar, select Acquisition > Channels

3. Perform the following calculation for each traffic source:

Revenue / Unique Visitors = Avg. Donor Value for Traffic Source

Remember, you’re calculating the average value of a donor, not a visitor. To calculate the average value of a visitor from a given traffic source, you’ll need to view All Traffic instead of your Donors advanced segment.

4. Referrals Leading to the Most Donations

A referral is when a visitor comes to your site by clicking a link from another website. This could be in a press release, in an article about one of your events, or in a comment you left on someone’s blog with a link back to your site.

Drilling down into your referrals will show you what sites are worth your time and which ones aren’t producing the results you’d like to see.

All Referrals

How to Find It

To see which referrals are leading to the most donations:

1. Make sure All Visits is selected

2. In the left sidebar, select Acquisition > All Referrals

3. Click the “Transactions” column header in the Ecommerce section to sort by number of transactions

5. Popular Pages Prior to Visiting Your Donation Page

There are likely multiple paths a visitor can take to make a donation on your website. Tracking the page before a visitor comes to your donation page will show you what pages are resonating with your potential donors.

Some pages (like a Get Involved page) will probably make sense. But others (like a particularly moving blog post) may surprise you.

Figure out which ones are working. Incorporate whatever you think is working well into other popular pages whenever you can.

All Pages

How to Find It

To see which pages are popular prior to visiting your donation page:

1. Make sure All Visits is selected

2. In the left sidebar, select Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

3. In the list of URLs under the Page column, click the URL for your donation page

4. Once you only see traffic to your donation page, click the blue Navigation Summary tab just above the graph

5. Focus on the Previous Page Path list to see what pages visitors viewed before your donation page

These Metrics are Just the Beginning

While these five metrics can serve as a good starting point, they really are just the beginning when it comes to figuring out how to propel your nonprofit’s online fundraising forward. Some metrics that are interesting in your situation may not provide much insight to another organization.

Figure out what data will help you tell the story behind your online revenue numbers. Then focus on those pieces of data that matter most to ultimately raising the amount of money you hope to raise online.

Which metrics do you focus on when measuring your nonprofit’s online fundraising? Anything that doesn’t make sense to you or something you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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Wed, December 18 2013

Redesigning your website? Read this.

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Websites and web usability •

Last week I shared several ways to get your nonprofit’s website ready for year-end fundraising. Hopefully you’ve been able to put at least a few of these tips into practice. If a website redesign is on your to-do list for 2014, these elements should be top of mind. Of course, there is a lot more to consider when taking on a major website project. 

To help you understand the process, the folks at Wired Impact have created a nifty infographic that summarizes the key steps in designing your nonprofit website. Check it out below and post a comment to share what’s on your website wish list for the coming year.

Nonprofit Website Design Process Infographic from Wired Impact

(Can’t see the infographic?
Visit Wired Impact to download the full image.)

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