Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference a success

photoLast week was sure one to remember.

The 9th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference was an indisputable success – from empowering keynote speakers to an amazing educational program to networking opportunities to reconnect with old friends and make new industry connections.

Mal Warwick | Donordigital was thrilled to sponsor such an extraordinary conference.

Our week began at the 35th Annual Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW) MAXI Awards. Established in 1979, the MAXI Awards program recognizes and honors outstanding achievements in the field of direct marketing. We were honored to receive five separate awards for our work with our clients:

  • AIDS Project Los Angeles (Gold)
  • National Organization for Women (Gold)
  • Ocean Conservancy (Silver and Bronze)
  • Women for Women (Silver).

We were excited to have our clients join us to accept the awards and for a celebratory dinner afterwards.

To view samples of our winning campaigns, click here.

Thursday and Friday at the Gaylord National Harbor, brought session after session of direct marketing study, tactics and wisdom to share with our clients to enhance their fundraising programs. A few great nuggets our team heard over and over include:

  • Don’t try to upgrade the donors until you did everything you promised (premium offers, special invites, updates etc).
  • Donor testimonials strategically placed on a web page, in newsletters, etc, can help overcome monthly giving hurdles.
  • Optimize – do as much donation form optimization testing as possible and make sure that all donation forms and emails are mobile optimized!
  • Send regular/quarterly Sustainer upgrade emails to current Sustainers with multiple buttons for upgrade amounts: $2, $4, etc.

The week was also about fun and relaxation and one the highlights for me was hosting our clients, partners and friends for a happy hour on the water front. We talked fundraising strategy and industry gossip while watching the summer storm roll in over the Potomac and Capital Wheel. The storm gave way to a beautiful sunset captured by Greg Albright from Production Solutions.

So, save the date for the 10th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference to be held back at the beautiful National Harbor from July 7-9, 2015.

photo-thumbnail-daveDave Dogan is a Vice President at Mal Warwick | Donordigital.

Three online strategies to improve a monthly donor sustainer program

Fresh from the 2014 Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference in Washington D.C., I’d like to share a few digital strategies for improving your organization’s monthly giving program. I co-presented with Jeanne Horne, Senior Manger for Digital Communications at Share Our Strength, and I’ll share a few examples below of techniques Donordigital has implemented for Share Our Strength.

Monthly donor upsell lightbox

upsell-lightboxThis technique encourages single gift donors to convert their donation from a one-time gift into a monthly gift. Donors are presented with a “pop-up” lightbox while making a donation on the website, with a recommended monthly gift amount that is proportional with their intended one-time gift. If they choose to convert their donation into a monthly gift, their credit card is immediately processed with the initial sustaining gift only; if they prefer to make the one-time gift, their credit card is processed with that gift only. The process is completely secure and does not involve any additional steps for the donor—the next page is simply a thank-you page.

Donordigital has tested this lightbox technique to ensure that they do not significantly increase donation form abandonment. We have found that this technique increases the number of monthly gifts collected via a website donation form above simply including a monthly giving checkbox on the form. For Share Our Strength’s current campaign, the lightbox is mobile optimized and also mentions the $100 match offered by the Arby’s Foundation for each new monthly donor.

Upgrade request to current sustainers

Increase your monthly gift email topIt’s important to ask current monthly donors to upgrade their gifts after they’ve participated as a monthly donor for some time. We recommend asking at least once per year—but waiting at least four months after activation to request an upgraded gift. Of course, prior to this request, you need to ensure you’ve properly stewarded your monthly donors.

When requesting an upgrade, it’s best to choose a specific upgrade amount based on the current monthly gift amount. We created a special field in the database to house the requested upgrade amount so that we’re able to use it in donor communications. We also created a special form on the email landing page so that the donor would not need to re-enter their credit card information to upgrade their giving—saving hassle for the donor as well as eliminating the hassle of duplicated monthly gifts for Share Our Strength.

Triggered email series to prevent attrition due to credit card issues

Please come back Hunger Core triggered emailOne of the most difficult issues with a monthly giving program is involuntary attrition as a result of credit card expiration and re-issuing. Donordigital worked with Share Our Strength to create a triggered email series for monthly donors whose cards were about to expire, whose cards just expired or were not charged because of another issue, and donors whose cards lapsed several months ago. These messages are launched automatically on a rolling basis and direct people to call the donor services line or make a gift online if they prefer.

Jeanne and I will present more information about these ideas in August at the DMA New York Nonprofit Conference. If you can’t make it to the conference, you can still view our slides from Play it again, Sam: Monthly giving programs for sustaining donations ‘As Time Goes By.’

Donordigital can help your organization craft a monthly donor strategy, implement that strategy, and/or complete projects like the above and more. We love giving advice and can let you know what we think would help your organization the most.

photo-thumbnail-wendyWendy Marinaccio Husman is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the  online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

Use our sample email communications calendar

UPDATE on July 18: Read Wendy’s latest article - Three online strategies to improve a monthly donor sustainer program

Keeping tabs on upcoming email communications and segmented audiences can be difficult. Donordigital uses a simple spreadsheet to help clients plan their messaging and track which audiences are receiving each email.

We invite you to download this sample email communications calendar to use as a template for your own planning. Use our calendar to help ensure you’re on top of your messaging. It’s also a useful tool to visualize the message stream each of your key audiences is receiving, particularly your monthly donors, major donors, integrated groups of constituents who are receiving messaging in other channels, and VIPs (board members, corporate sponsors, or whoever is a VIP for your organization). Often these groups are receiving too much or too little messaging.

We hope this tool is helpful for you. You can download it by clicking here: Sample Email Communications Calendar

P.S. Come back next week for an overview of my 2014 Bridge Conference session on monthly giving with Jeanne Horne of Share Our Strength. The slide deck for Play it again, Sam: Monthly giving programs for sustaining donations ‘As Time Goes By’ is available on Slideshare.

photo-thumbnail-wendy Wendy Marinaccio Husman is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the  online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

We are a 2014 B Corp Best for the World recipient

bftw-2014-logo-lgI am proud to announce that our sister company was recently named a “2014 B Corp Best for the World” recipient.

We are being recognized by the nonprofit B Lab (an independent certifier for B Corps around the world) for creating the most positive, overall social and environmental impact.

Our company ranked in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on their Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its employees, community, and the environment.

We are in great company alongside 92 honorees from 15 countries.

Thank you to all our employees, partners and clients for helping us succeed in walking our talk.

photo-thumbnail-danDan Doyle is the President and Creative Director at Mal Warwick | Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

Announcing the 2014 IMAB Integrated Marketing Award winners

On Friday, March 14 at NTEN’s 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference, the Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB) announced the winners of its third annual Integrated Marketing Awards. The Integrated Marketing Awards recognize nonprofit organizations showing exemplary leadership in the area of integrated marketing. We congratulate this year’s winners, who exemplify the sector’s successful use of integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns or programs.

montgomery-area-food-bank

This year’s winners by category:

The Donor

Montgomery Area Food Bank, won in the category of The Donor for demonstrating how an integrated marketing campaign or program had an impact on donor satisfaction and the donor experience. The organization focuses on programs as part of its marketing plan to encourage donor engagement and overall support of its programs.

The Organization

league-of-women-voters-usThe League of Women Voters of the United States, a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, won in the category of The Organization, demonstrating how an effort across the organization aligned strategy, structure, culture, or skills to impact the organization’s ability to integrate its marketing efforts. The organizations created a successful broad-based marketing campaign involving all departments within the organization.

The Practice

the-redwood-logoThe Redwood, a Toronto-based shelter for women and children who have fled abusive situations, won in the category of The Practice for sharing its real world case study highlighting best practices in the field of integrated marketing. The organization used a variety of technologies and promoted its Safe Haven Store across multiple channels for stellar results.

The IMAB is privileged to honor these organizations that are demonstrating best practices in integrated marketing. We’ll feature case studies from these organizations in future posts, so stay tuned to the IMAB blog for more details!

photo-thumbnail-ericEric Overman is the Vice President for Digital Strategy and Integrated Services at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

YOU can turn your email capture device into a Facebook app

chfUsing our step-by-step instructions, you can turn the email capture device you’re already using on your organization’s website into a Facebook app. This will allow you to gather email signups where your prospective constituents already are—and even target them with an inexpensive Facebook ad campaign.

We’ll use the example of our client Children’s Health Fund, and their Speak Up For Kids Facebook app. CHF uses Blackbaud Luminate, and Donordigital created their original email capture petition using the Luminate Survey module. These instructions will work for any email capture tool with both a secure and non-secure URL. Here we go!

Step One: Prepare your email capture device

  1. Prepare your email capture tool/Luminate survey in whichever system your organization uses.
  2. You’ll need both a secure and non-secure URL version of the Luminate Survey (or whatever email capture device you’ve created).

Here are step-by-step instructions for Blackbaud Luminate users:

  • Edit the survey you would like to turn into a Facebook app
  • Ensure that the “Yes, make this a secure survey” box is checked under “Survey Security.”
  • Click “Publish Survey” in the left-hand navigation. On this screen, you should see the “Survey URL.” Copy this to include in your new FB App Settings. This will be the non-secure url, which looks like this for our CHF example: http://chf.childrenshealthfund.org/site/Survey?ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS&SURVEY_ ID=2700
  • Visit the non-secure survey in a web browser. The Convio system will redirect to the secure version. Copy the secure version of the url to use in the new FB App settings. It looks like this for CHF: https://secure2.convio.net/chf/site/SSurvey?ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS&SURVEY_ ID=2700

Step Two: Register for a Facebook Developer Account and Create a New App

  1. Have a Facebook account. (You know you already do.) Log in.
  2. Become an admin for your nonprofit’s FB page, if you aren’t already.
  3. Go here: https://developers.facebook.com/apps
  4. Register for the Developer App
  5. Upon confirmation, etc., go to Apps > Create a New App
  6. Fill out the pop-up and click Create App.
    Display name: The app’s title
    Namespace: This will become the vanity URL
    Select “Apps for Pages” as the Category (this means the app will live on your org’s Facebook page).
  7. You should now be on the “Dashboard” view of your new app. The remaining setup for your new FB app will happen in the Settings menu.

Step Three: Configure Your App In Facebook

  1. Go to “Settings” in the left-hand navigation
  2. You have two app domains. Enter your org’s website URL without the http://www (for example, childrenshealthfund.org). Hit return. In the same field, add the first portion of your secure website URL (for many of you, it will be secure2.convio.net). Hit return.
  3. Click “Add Platform,” and choose “App on Facebook”
  4. Paste the non-secure URL to the “Canvas URL” field
  5. Paste the secure URL to the “Secure Canvas URL” field
  6. Click the “Add Platform” button again, and this time, add “Page Tab”
  7. Configure the page tab info. In the case of CHF, our Page Tab Name is “Speak Up For Kids,” the Page Tab URL is the non-secure version URL of the Luminate survey, and the Secure Page Tab URL is the secure version URL of the Luminate survey. Add an image that will display for the page tab on your org’s Facebook page.

Step Four: Add the new Facebook App as a Tab on Your Org’s Facebook page

  1. Ensure you are logged in as an admin to your org’s FB.
  2. In order to add the new app to your org’s Facebook page, you’ll need to replace a couple of URL parameters and visit an amended version of this URL: https://www.facebook.com/dialog/pagetab?app_id=YOUR_ APP_ID&next=YOUR_URL
  3. Replace “YOUR_APP_ID” with the App ID of your new FB App, which can be found in the “Settings” section of your new FB App. Replace “YOUR_URL” with the Canvas URL of your new FB App, which can be found in the “Settings” section of your new FB App, under App on Facebook — Canvas Page.
  4. Choose your org’s Facebook page in the drop-down on the “Add Page Tab” pop-up box that will appear.
  5. Your app is now magically connected to your org’s FB page.
  6. As a page admin, you can now re-order your org’s tabs.

For more documentation on developing Facebook Apps, visit: https://developers.facebook.com/docs.

Walking through these steps will enable you to DIY your app. And if you’d like to do something more involved, or if you’d like some strategy consulting help, you’re always free to contact us at Donordigital.

Wendy Marinaccio Husman is a Senior Account Executive with Donordigital. Jesse Kelsey is Senior Developer with Donordigital. Call us if you need help or advice! Donordigital helps nonprofit organizations, campaigns, and socially responsible businesses use the Internet for fundraising, advocacy, advertising, and marketing. We provide strategy and implementation to enable organizations to use e-mail, the Web, Facebook, mobile, and other communications to build their constituencies and change the world. 

Integrated Fundraising: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

secret-shopper-cover-largeWe’re thrilled to announce the publication of our newest white paper: Integrated Fundraising: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly.

At Mal Warwick | Donordigital, we implement direct response programs that focus on integrated donor solicitation, cultivation and stewardship across multiple channels.

In an effort to learn more about what others are doing, we studied sixteen major nonprofit organizations to give us a snapshot of what some of today’s leading charities are doing.

For six months in 2013, we tracked all interactions with these organizations through direct mail, online and telephone. Our goal was to observe how some of America’s most notable charities are integrating their donor communications across multiple channels.

Most organizations we studied did integrate new online donors into other channels—most notably direct mail. Although we received contacts through multiple channels, the communications rarely appeared to be integrated. And for some organizations, the cross-channel conversion efforts took shockingly long.

Download the white paper >>

Mal Warwick | Donordigital Team heads to 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference

ntc-logoWe’re excited to be returning to the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), organized by the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN). This year’s event is being held in Washington, DC from March 13-15.

Mal Warwick | Donordigital staff are participating in five different sessions:

photo-thumbnail-mwosiVice President Mwosi Swenson will be speaking at:
DIY: Blueprints for Building Your Best Multichannel Fundraising Campaigns
Thursday, March 13, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

This session is for nonprofit professionals that are looking to integrate and optimize their fundraising across all channels. It is filled with tips, tricks and tools to help you jumpstart, enhance and refine your multichannel fundraising program. This hands-on session is for nonprofit fundraising professionals that want to use multichannel tactics to find new donors, retain the ones you have and grow your revenue. In this session you’ll learn how a nonprofit collaborated internally to integrate the direct mail and online fundraising program; easy things you can do right now to integrate your program; and proven tactics to increase online giving by integrating social channels and behavioral psychology into your donation flow.

photo-thumbnail-mattSenior Account Executive Matt Burghdoff will be speaking at:
Breakthrough Trends & Strategies for Online Peer-to-Peer Campaigns
Thursday, March 13, 10:30am – 12:00pm

This session is for fundraising teams, event managers, development officers looking to expand and grow the impact of their peer-to-peer programs. Join this session for an intensive look at what’s new and innovative in peer-to-peer fundraising. We will take you beyond the basics to give you the collected best practices you need to plan and manage successful peer-driven (or crowdsourced) campaigns. We’ll explore the latest strategies for web, social and mobile channels, giving you data-driven insights to help you understand donors and participants in your online programs.

photo-thumbnail-mattSenior Account Executive Matt Burghdoff will be speaking at:
Online Testing – Practical Insights & Lessons Learned
Friday, March 14, 10:30am – 12:00pm

Are you a Nonprofit professional looking to enhance your programs and campaign pieces based on experiential data? Then it’s time to dive deep into putting your online presence to the test. In this session, industry experts will walk through setting up rigorous testing procedures, and share their findings on what is and isn’t working in the online space. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own campaign pages and emails to brainstorm potential tests with the experts. What you’ll walk away with: 1) Practical data on what has worked for nonprofits online; 2) Take-home tools to get started testing; 3) Optimization tests to implement right away.

photo-thumbnail-anthonySenior Web Designer Anthony Blair-Borders will be speaking at:
Start at the Start: Using Storyboards, Wireframes, and Mood Boards
Friday, March 14, 1:30pm – 3:00pm

If you’re new to web design, you may find yourself intimidated how complex it can be creating assets for the online paradigm. We will explore how to use storyboards to plan animated functionality, how to use wireframes to create mobile-friendly designs and help guide and inform your final design, and how to use mood boards to help determine color, texture, and the overall look and feel of online communications. We’ll discuss how to properly start an online design project to help give you a launching point and to help save valuable time and resources by nailing down the basic elements of your assets before you even begin initial design comps.

photo-thumbnail-wendySenior Account Executive Wendy Marinaccio Husman will be speaking at:
Digital Marketing That Gets Results: 30 Ideas You Can Use Monday Morning
Saturday, March 15, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Learn more about trends and opportunities around social media tools and digital marketing big ideas. Join our experts and learn about tools that exemplify the latest innovations that get results first thing Monday morning. This session is for audiences of all types who want to gear up their digital marketing plans with Big Ideas. Attendees will walk away with: 1) Up to 30 ideas that you can use out of the box; 2) A look at Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and how you can ramp up those channels; 3) and a plan that will help guide your digital marketing strategy.

Raise more money online with a great headline

If you could change just one thing on your website’s donation page and get a 50% lift in the conversion rate, you’d probably do it in a heartbeat.

To understand what a lift of that magnitude could mean for your online fundraising program, imagine your donation page is converting 12% of visitors, comprised of 10 donations a day averaging $50 ($500 daily revenue). Improving the conversion rate by 50% (to 18%) would net you an additional $250 per day, which translates to $91,250 incremental dollars and 1,800 more donors over an entire year.

That’s starting to sound like real money!

While there aren’t many page elements that can have such a massive impact on visitor behavior, the headline is one of them.

Marketing legend David Ogilvy once remarked that 5 times as many people read headlines as page copy. He was talking about print advertising, but the same applies to web pages. And we know from research by web usability expert Jakob Nielsen that few web users bother to read much on a page beyond the headline.

This is why donation page headlines have such a huge impact on user behavior—and in turn the conversion rate. They are crucial to expressing your organization’s value proposition—and convincing the prospect to keep moving down the page.

Figuring out which headlines motivate best is critical if you want to improve your conversion rate. And getting the answer is easy with A/B testing.

What can we learn from headline testing?

The objective in headline testing is simple. We want to figure out which appeal prompts the greatest number of visitors to a page to complete a specific call to action, such as making a donation, signing up for an email list, or any other measurable conversion goal.

The fact that so many nonprofits still feature donation page headlines with no benefit whatsoever—just an “ask”, e.g. “Donate Now”, “Make a Contribution” or something similar—means there’s an awful lot of low hanging fruit out there.

How to write headlines that convert

Headlines that convert well follow these simple rules. They are:

  1.  Specific & interesting enough to grab the reader’s attention
  2. Express a benefit that’s relevant to the reader’s self interest or social interest
  3. Clear about what you can do on the page
  4. Believable

When writing a headline, try to choose words that can trigger an emotional response in the reader. Avoid headlines that are overly clever or difficult to understand at first glance. At the same time, try not to play it too safe (and boring). Tapping into the interests already present in readers’ minds is key.

In terms of structure, there are two proven techniques for crafting an effective headline appeal. In the first approach, the benefit (to the prospect or your social mission, not to your organization) is presented before the “ask” or call-to-action (CTA). The idea is to get the reader’s attention by appealing to their self interest before you tell them what they must do to satisfy it.

In the second approach (commonly employed by commercial marketers) your aim is to intensify a problem before pitching the solution. It’s based on the methodology of “solution selling”, where the sales professional first seeks to identify the customer’s pain, and only then attempts to address it with their product/service (framed as the “solution”).

For a nonprofit using a solution selling approach, this means expressing why your work is vital (what horrific problem are you working on?) before presenting the call-to-action. This formula can be effective because it helps the prospect quickly connect your offer’s relevance to their needs.

To illustrate these concepts in action, we conducted a headline test recently with our client Americares, the emergency response and global health organization. We developed a specific and tangible benefit-oriented headline & subhead featuring the CTA to compete against their more general benefit + CTA headline, and ran it as an A/B split test.

The two sets of creative are shown below.

IMAGE 1: Control (click to enlarge):

Control headline_snippet

IMAGE 2: Challenger (click to enlarge):

Challenger headline_snippet

The result was nothing short of stunning. The challenger page—with more specific and relevant headline followed by CTA subhead—converted 50% more donors than the control page. Results were significant at a 91% confidence level.

Importantly, similar language to the winning page headline was also featured in an ask on the site’s homepage. Because the homepage drives a substantial amount of traffic to the transaction page we tested, continuity in messaging at each step of the conversion funnel no doubt also played a role in the outcome.

A 50% lift is somewhat rare for a single test. But headline tests in my experience often produce a significant result (either positive or negative) and with it, important insights about audience preferences.

It may take you multiple tests to uncover an appeal that strongly motivates your audience and provides a significant conversion rate lift, but it’s well worth the time and effort given the upside potential.

dawnDawn Stoner is Donordigital’s Director of Analytics & Testing and works with clients to help them increase online revenues with web usability best practices and landing page testing. Dawn speaks regularly about testing and optimization at industry conferences and publishes papers highlighting what’s working and not working with our testing clients.

Online tax receipt portal scores for AmeriCares

AMC Tax Portal Receipt PageThe AmeriCares Online Tax Receipt Portal was a multichannel donor-centric campaign, anchored by a custom tax receipt microsite designed to engage donors by allowing easy and free access to their tax receipts for their online and offline donations.

The campaign was launched in December 2013, with an email to donors to notify them that they could download their year-end tax receipt. The email contained their login information and a link to the tax receipt portal. AmeriCares provided this value-added service to their donors to make getting the tax benefits from their support as easy as possible.  Donors log in to access their printable donation receipt(s).  Once inside the Tax Receipt Portal, they are also shown the impact of their gift and the ability to make an additional donation.

Once the donor enters the portal, they are greeted with a “Thank You for Donating” message which includes three main accomplishments that AmeriCares achieved in 2013 thanks to their support, coupled with a donate button which spurred additional year-end giving.

The campaign is designed to increase donor engagement, and improve both retention and the long-term value of the donor to AmeriCares.  Rating systems on sites that use this tool have revealed that donors truly view this  as a value added service.

At Donordigital, we encourage all our organizational clients to deploy an online tax receipt portal to improve their year-round fundraising performance.

photo-thumbnail-nick-garciaNick Garcia is an Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.