Wed, August 05 2015

The Quick and Dirty Guide to A/B Testing Your Donation Page

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Your landing pages are important, and your donation pages are no exception. Do you ever wish you could know which messages, suggested donation amounts, or photos are the best at inspiring your donors to give?

Enter A/B testing.

Although testing might seem a little scary if you’ve not done it, there are simple tests you can perform to ensure you’re getting the most out of your online donation pages. Basic A/B testing helps you decide which images, calls to action, and suggested donation amounts perform best by comparing the effectiveness of two versions of your donation page.

Here’s how it works: a randomly selected half of your audience is served one form (the control), and the other half gets another form (the test). The test version has just one variable changed: the layout, image, copy, or headings.

Over time, monitor which donation page has the higher completion rate, calculated as follows: number of donations divided by the number of people who landed on your page.

Not so scary after all, right? Here’s a simple step-by-step guide from my friend (and super-smart fundraising pro) Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies:

  1. Set up a control donation page.
  2. Decide which variable you want to test (see “What to Test” below).
  3. Set up a second donation page with that variable changed.
  4. Make both pages live and drive traffic to both forms. (You can split your email list and include a different page in each email.)
  5. Track completion rates across both pages, calculated by the number of donations divided by the number of people who landed on the form.
  6. Monitor your results (depending on the traffic to your pages, your test may need to run for a longer period of time).
  7. Check your results with a statistical significance calculator like this one.*
  8. The winner of this test becomes your control.
  9. Now, start the process all over again to get even smarter. Test another variable against your new control to learn what elements improve your conversion rate and lead to more donations.

* What’s a statistically significant result? This just means that you can rest assured that your results did not occur purely by chance.

When to Test

The best time to test is when you think you’ll get a significant amount of traffic to your donation page. These moments might include:

  1. A specific email campaign.
  2. In December, when a majority of online giving occurs.
  3. A high-profile event or during media attention

Higher traffic volumes mean you’ll have a better chance that you will get statistically significant results. If you have low traffic volume, you must test for a longer period of time to get significant results.

What to Test

So, what should you test? Here are a few ideas that typically yield useful insights:

  1. Photos: Does a puppy beat a kitten?
  2. Layout: Does a one-column form beat a two-column form?
  3. Testimonials: Does a testimonial from another donor increase completion rates?
  4. Donation amounts: Does a lower suggested donation amount increase completion rates?
  5. Copy: Does shorter intro copy beat longer intro copy?
  6. Premiums: Will offering a thank you gift increase completions?

What Not to Test

On the flip side, there are a few things that aren’t worth the effort. Here are a few tests you can avoid:

  1. More than one variable at a time: you won’t know which element made the difference.
  2. Elements that are outside your nonprofit’s branding: this different experience will likely cause donors to be confused, affecting your completion rates.
  3. Images that are too similar: it’s unlikely this will have significant results, and therefore not worth your time.
  4. Copy that is too similar in tone and length: your donors likely won’t notice the nuance.

How to Read Your Results

  1. After a period of time, run your results through the significance calculator. If you have statistically significant results, you can name the winner and move on to another test.
  2. If you don’t have a statistically significant winner, keep the test live for few more weeks to collect more data.
  3. If you still don’t have a statistically significant winner (and this sometimes happens), try testing a different variable.
The Ultimate Donation Page Guide

Now is the time to start thinking about testing your pages, if you’re not in the habit of doing so already. If you can work in a few tests in the next few months, you’ll be in prime shape to greet an onslaught of donors come December. What do you plan to test? Let me know what you’re testing in the comments and share your results!

Want more tips on improving your donation pages? Grab a copy of the Ultimate Donation Page Guide!

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Tue, August 04 2015

Nonprofit Love: A Music Playlist to Inspire You

Liz Ragland's avatar

Senior Content and Marketing Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Sometimes nonprofit fundraisers and marketers need to take a deep breath and then...rock out. Ok maybe not "rock out," but listening to music can help spark creativity, help you relax, or pump you up.

I reached out to some of my nonprofit friends on Twitter and asked them what they listen to at work to get them "in the zone." You can see who contributed song ideas in this Storify.

The responses were varied: some prefer quiet background music, others want something a little more groovy or fast paced. Whatever your music tastes might be, I think you'll enjoy the playlist we crafted just for you!

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Nonprofit Love playlist. Thanks to everyone who answered my call for suggestions!

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Fri, July 31 2015

What Your Social Fundraising Campaign Is Missing

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Social Fundraising •

Hands In

Social fundraising can help even the smallest organizations spread their message and attract new donors. These peer-driven campaigns tap into the networks of your supporters allowing you to expand your reach beyond your list.

But the real power of turning your donors into fundraisers is not just about the multiplier effect. It's about harnessing the personal stories and passion of those who care about your work. A generic copy and paste doesn't begin to realize the full potential of a social fundraising campaign powered by testimonials, personal experiences, and emotion of individual fundraisers.

The ultimate success of your campaign hinges on one key factor: personality.

If your P2P campaign is missing this element, you're not just missing the opportunity to create something magical, you're missing out on donations.

So, how do you ensure your peer fundraising campaigns have the kind of personality that will make others take notice and be inspired to act? Here are three ideas:

  • Let go, just a little. It can feel a bit scary to let go of your message, but remember: letting your fundraisers share their own passion, in their own words, is a powerful thing. This is the kind of authenticity you can’t come up with all by yourself, especially when your goal is to reach the friends and family of your supporters, who will be moved by such a personal message. In most cases, their message in their words holds the most influence.

  • Stories beget stories. Once people start sharing their personal experiences, it often inspires others to do the same. To get the ball rolling, ask a few of your staff, volunteers, or beneficiaries to share their stories in writing, photos, or video to stoke the emotions that will draw out the passion in your donors turned fundraisers. Connect them to why they gave in the first place.

  • Give a nudge. Quite simply, if you want people to include their stories, you gotta ask. Seems obvious, but your fundraisers will need a little guidance and encouragement. Give them a few prompts or templates to work from, but remember to allow (and push) for creativity and personality. Your online fundraising tools should give your fundraisers plenty of opportunity to make their message their own.

Want to learn how the right social fundraising software can help your supporters tell their story and share their passion? Schedule a demo and see our software in action!

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Wed, July 29 2015

Your Fundraising Jargon Cheat Sheet

Liz Ragland's avatar

Senior Content and Marketing Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • How to improve emails and newsletters • Marketing essentials •

It’s 2015 and, yes, online fundraising is mainstream. However, many terms surrounding online marketing and fundraising can trip up nonprofits. When you’re making decisions about which software to use or campaign strategies to test, we want to make sure you and your colleagues aren’t confused when you come across a term you don’t use every day. That’s where our Online Fundraiser’s Glossary comes in! Take a look at the glossary, and tell us in the comments below if you can think of other words that should be on this list.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s in the glossary. Be sure to bookmark the full list.

The Online Fundraiser's Glossary from Network for Good
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Tue, July 28 2015

The Millennial Impact Report: Q&A with Derrick Feldmann

Emily Wang's avatar

Senior Communications Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials • Nonprofit leadership •

What inspires Millennials to give and volunteer? How can an organization engage with its Millennials? We’re racking our brains trying to understand the group that’s soon to be the largest living generation in the nation. Fortunately, we’ve got help from Derrick Feldman and his team at Achieve, who recently published the 2015 Millennial Impact Report. If you have the same burning questions, I strongly encourage you to read the report here. Short on time? Read our Q&A with Derrick below:

Network for Good: How can organizations use your research to activate their Millennial donors and volunteers?

Derrick Feldman: One of the most beneficial uses of this research is that it offers an intimate look at how Millennial employees engage in cause-related activities, especially in the workplace. They are passionate supporters of causes that interest them and benefit society! This research can be used as a guide for becoming more acquainted with your Millennial employees. It is a fairly comprehensive account of the attitudes and behaviors of Millennial (and non-Millennial) employees’ approaches to volunteerism and charitable giving within diverse work settings. Many CSR professionals might glean insight into how to effectively harness Millennials’ energy and enthusiasm toward cause-related experiences. For example, the report provides valuable information about using Millennials’ skills, interests, and motivations to create opportunities of value for them as well as to make an impact in their chosen community.

NFG: What are the top three takeaways from the report that would be valuable for an organization’s board and staff?

DF: Here are the three important takeaways:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask your Millennial employees to give! Nearly a quarter (22%) of Millennial employees and more than half (55%) of Millennial managers who made charitable donations in 2014 indicated that their company solicited these donations. Millennials are charitable, and they want to make a difference in both their local and global community.

  2. Know your employees! Nearly half (45%) of Millennial employees participated in a company-wide volunteer day. While that is impressive participation, there is certainly room to increase involvement. Among those employees who volunteered, 29% did so because they were interested in the cause, and more than three-quarters (77%) said they were more likely to volunteer if they can use their specific skills or expertise. When organizing opportunities for Millennial employees to volunteer, companies should know which causes employees are passionate about, and then leverage the skills and knowledge of those employees to benefit the cause.

  3. Peer influence and relationships matter! Employees (management and nonmanagement) were most highly influenced to participate in cause-related activities by their peers. Sixty-five percent of Millennial employees were more likely to volunteer if a co-worker asked them. Meanwhile, 67% of managers indicated they would be more likely to volunteer if other co-workers, not supervisors, were participating.

NFG: You recommend having a peer-to-peer fundraising model in place to activate Millennial employees. What factors do you think are required for it to be successful?

DF: Companies need to create resources and roles for peer engagement that don’t exist today. This is where companies can take the lead from nonprofits that have been working in the peer-to-peer fundraising space for a while.

Companies should enable peer leaders to step into a leadership role, identify the cause issue they want to address, and define the methods they want to engage their team in performing. This means the company needs to provide resources for the peer to be successful. This includes the education, programming, and financial resources to activate their peers. From toolkits to training programs, companies should activate peer interest into leadership and leadership into organizing.

NFG: What can we look forward to in the next phase of the Millennial Impact Report?

DF: In the next phase of the Millennial Impact Report, we will be moving from attitude and intent to investigating behaviors and factors that impact that behavior. We really want to understand how and why some workplace cultures are successful in cultivating an engaged workforce while others are still struggling to establish successful cause-related initiatives or programs within their companies. We also want to delve more deeply into which relationships, and associated characteristics of those relationships, yield the most engaged employees and how this engagement can be sustained into the future. We plan to release our next update report in October. Stay tuned.

A big thanks to Derrick for chatting with us! For more great research from Derrick, check out our recent webinar with him, Millennial Alumni Study: Key Takeaways for the Nonprofit Sector.

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