Email Design and Technical Development in the Age of Mobile

By Jesse Kelsey and Anthony Blair-Borders

It is an often used trope among the digerati that “mobile is now king,” but only because it’s the new reality. Recent data from Blackbaud shows that in 2015 more email messages were opened on small mobile devices than on larger desktop and laptop computers or even larger tablets. This means that web designers and technical developers need to focus their efforts to ensure that the assets we craft for their clients are “mobile-first” and fully responsive — meaning they display correctly on screens and devices of all sizes.

This evolving trend should be fully embraced, as it gives us clear and unequivocal directives for design and technical development. Mobile-first means using single column layouts with no sidebars and fewer multi-column layouts. Designs should be “flat,” with no fake textures (skeuomorphism), gradients, drop shadows, or jewel tones. Mobile-first web designs mean assets that are simple, clean, and sophisticated.

Flat designs are not only more mobile-friendly and more likely to look the same in browsers and mobile Apps across the board, but also reduce clutter in an increasingly busy medium where dozens of elements are constantly trying to vie for our attention. By cutting back on unnecessary design elements, the eye-catching appeal and “stickiness” of a layout is actually increased; headlines and calls-to-action are easier to read; buttons are easier to spot; content has to spend less time competing with banner ads and alerts for attention.

Here are our top design recommendations for flat, mobile-responsive email designs:

  1. Create visual hierarchy (especially in the top third of the email): A viewer should be visually guided from the most important element in a layout to the call-to-action as quickly and yet gently as possible. This hierarchy usually begins with a hero image (photos draw more attention than text), then a headline, followed by a call-to-action, and finally a button, with everything else being of least visual importance.
  2. Make spacing consistent: All the disparate elements in a layout need to have their own room to breathe and the space between them should be consistent. This not only makes a design look more sophisticated and professional looking, it makes it much easier for a viewer to digest the information provided.
  3. Utilize relief space: The more content that is crammed into a design, the more difficult it gets to decipher information from it. Additionally, all that cluttered content creates emotional tension for users. By opening up a design with larger spaces between elements, a comfortable, wide-open environment is created that welcomes exploration and encourages action.
  4. Avoid multiple action items and complex menus in email communications: Too many calls-to-action confuse a reader, and the menus don’t translate well to mobile. Messaging should be kept simple and direct.
  5. Use larger fonts in the body copy: Don’t be afraid to go big. We recommend about 16 pixels high with at least 24 pixels of leading (the space between lines). Users are more likely to take time to read something that’s easy on the eyes. Larger fonts are especially important when considering going mobile-first, since they are easier to read on smaller screens. Besides, some mobile devices will just increase the font size anyway.
  6. Go flat: Drop shadows, skeuomorphism, glow effects, gradients, rounded corners, and jewel effects look dated and break on a lot of mobile devices.
  7. Be consistent with font usage and color styling: A major part of building a brand and creating a dialogue with an audience is consistency. For example, button and text links (and all action items, really) should all be the same color. Using styling that remains largely consistent across all communications builds supporter trust and creates a feeling that the organization is also consistent in the work they do elsewhere.
  8. Avoid putting headlines and calls-to-action over images: When you put copy on top of an image, that copy needs to be flattened as part of the image. This means that it may not always be seen, depending upon the email client and its settings. You copy may also be shrunk down on a mobile device to the point where it’s illegible. Copy should stand alone, or be placed in a solid color background.

In addition to design, here are our responsive recommendations for the technical development of email messages. Designing with the following recommendations in mind make it possible to code messages so that they display well across devices and operating systems:

  1. Use a mobile-first design strategy: This means designing for mobile devices and thinking about how the email looks for mobile devices first, then building the “desktop” version around those constraints. This involves considering how a masthead graphic, for example, will look with desktop dimensions, generally about 600px wide, and resized for mobile devices to 320px wide. Different-sized graphics can be shown/hidden for each screen size, but this technique requires more maintenance and testing, creating duplicate content in some cases, and generally slows down email implementation time. Additionally this technique will not work with Gmail and Android clients. Therefore, it’s best to make single graphical elements that look good at any size.
  2. Use a one-column layout: This will more naturally happen if a mobile-first design strategy is adopted. It makes for cross-compatible templates, with fewer workarounds needed for mobile devices and vice versa.
  3. No gradients or background images: There are exceptions, of course, but these two items can be very difficult to code in a cross-browser compatible way. Some email browsers/clients recognize CSS gradients and background images, but many old ones do not.
  4. Use standard dimensions: Most desktop email clients generally render emails in panes that are around 600 pixels wide or less, and most mobile devices render widths at somewhere between 320 pixels and 480 pixels. It’s generally best to aim for 320 pixels wide on mobile devices, as it is the smallest width for mobile devices, and still very common for iPhones that are vertically oriented.
  5. Web-safe fonts: It’s enticing to use uncommon fonts in email designs, but there is a short list of fonts considered to be “web safe” that render similarly across all systems. Part of how a mobile-responsive template is built allows for quick text customizations and keeps the overall file size down, so by using a CSS font-family such as “arial, helvetica, sans-serif;” ensures your email easy to read and will render the same everywhere. Ideally, all of the text in your email layouts should be “live”, ensuring that it renders, even if image blocking is enabled. If you need to use a more decorative font, it should be converted to a flat graphic (keeping in mind that it needs to be legible when resized for a mobile screen). Therefore, the majority of text should use a web-safe font family. Here’s a quick reference guide of web-safe fonts: http://templates.mailchimp.com/design/typography/

Jesse Kelsey is the Senior Web Developer at Donordigital. His web development experience spans the for- and nonprofit sectors, including work in e-commerce, lead generation, digital signage, and community economic development.

Anthony Blair-Borders is a freelance art director, digital designer and illustrator, and the former Senior Web Designer at Donordigital. He has over 20 years experience working for the for- and non-profit sectors and believes web design should be fluid, stylish, clean, and functional.

How to Fundraise When the Media Spotlight Shines on Your Organization’s Mission

Mal Warwick | Donordigital Account Director Wendy Husman and Whitney Broadwell, Senior Resource Development Officer at International Medical Corps presented a session together at the 2016 Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Jose in March 2016.  They discussed how to harness the opportunity to grow your email list, increase your social followers and raise money when your organization’s issue is in the news. Review the presentation deck to learn more about how to prepare a fundraising and communications plan, how to implement that plan on short notice, and how to leverage unexpected events into more supporters for your organization.

How to convert more mobile donors

person-tapping-smart-phone-2For most nonprofits, there’s been a steady growth in the use of smart phones and tablets by visitors to their websites. This has led to a lot of consternation as organizations wrestle with the challenge of providing a better user experience for site visitors on smaller screens.

Almost universally, mobile conversion rates lag desktop and laptop conversion rates on e-commerce sites—and the same is true for mobile conversion rates on nonprofit sites. By “conversion” we mean any kind of goal completion, such as a site visitor signing up for your email list or making an online donation. But the distinction doesn’t stop there—smart phone users typically convert only about half as well as those on tablets, according to research by Monetate and Forrester.

monetateThe main reason why your mobile visitors convert so much worse? It’s pretty simple. The user experience for mobile visitors—to nonprofit sites in general and donation pages in particular—can be quite awful. Common problems I’ve noticed when visiting giving pages on a mobile device include:

  • Pages that load very slowly or incompletely
  • Pages with multiple columns that require sideways scrolling (mobile users especially hate this!)
  • Form fields that are so tiny they need to be stretched before text can be entered
  • Text too small to be read without enlarging
  • Call-to-action buttons that are out of sight or too small to be tapped easily
  • Overly dominant graphics or images because they adapt clumsily to small screens
  • Elements displaying contrary to the visitor’s thought sequence, i.e. content isn’t addressing basic user questions in the appropriate order

frustrated cell phone user2It can make for a very frustrating user experience—and only those who are extremely motivated will persevere to complete a transaction.

How do you know if this is an issue on your site? The answer is lurking in your web analytics. Key metrics to examine on pages with a mission-critical conversion goal are:

  • Bounce rate by device type
  • Conversion rate by device type (if you’ve configured goals)
  • Average time spent on page by device type

If you notice a wide disparity in these metrics for mobile users relative to desktop/laptop users, e.g. their bounce rate is much higher or their conversion rate is much lower—it’s a clear sign that you need to do more to optimize the mobile experience.

It’s important to note that other issues like sluggish cellular network speeds and higher latency on mobile devices also contribute to poor conversion rates—and these are largely out of your control. It explains why conversion rates for mobile users may not approach desktop/laptop conversion rates for a long time to come—if ever.

But this is no reason to throw up your hands and forget about it. There are still plenty of things you can do to optimize the user experience on a mobile device.

Where do you begin? For many, the logical place to start is to develop a responsive page design (or an entire site that uses RD), so page elements adjust to fit whatever screen size the user is on.

However, it’s still an open question whether a responsive page is better than a dedicated page for mobile users when it comes to conversion. Testing by commercial marketers is decidedly mixed on which approach converts better.

Like conversion optimization in general—no technique is guaranteed to work best for your organization. You must figure out what your mobile visitors prefer and adapt content to meet their needs.

User testing with small groups is one way to identify user experience (UX) issues with mobile, since live A/B testing can be difficult to interpret—due to the fact that mobile users are much more sensitive to speed than desktop/laptop users. They will abandon a page if it hasn’t loaded after just 3 seconds, in many instances. Consequently, if you test two user experiences and one page loads a lot slower than the other, it’s highly likely to convert worse—and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the creative itself.

Consequently, with A/B tests targeting mobile users it’s difficult to determine whether conversion rate disparities are due to differences in load times or differences in how visitors react to the content itself. This is why many organizations forego A/B testing when optimizing the UX for mobile.

If you decide to conduct user testing instead, ideally you’ll want to get feedback from people similar to your actual visitors. In this way you’ll avoid optimizing for the needs of testers—whose behavior may differ markedly from your target audience. Imagine getting feedback from a group of twenty-something male testers when your typical donor is a 55-60 year old female. It’s pretty much guaranteed that those insights will take you down the wrong path.

An alternative to user testing is to simply design mobile pages with best practices in mind. As noted above, using responsive design is the logical place to start. But there’s a case to be made for thinking beyond responsive design and re-imagining the user experience on a small screen—and then designing a dedicated mobile experience from the bottom up.

The reason a dedicated mobile approach can convert better than responsive design alone is based on the fact that people consume content differently on mobile devices (especially smart phones) as compared to desktop or laptop devices.

For instance, mobile users are typically more goal-driven and impatient than laptop/desktop users. They prefer “snack-sized” content, i.e. brief, action-oriented items that can be absorbed quickly—not long pages that require a lot of time and mental energy to consume.

To convert better, your mobile pages aimed at donors must reflect those differences in user behavior. While this may sound complicated or intimidating—it really just involves a little extra work. That said, the extra effort is likely to pay off in the form of better conversion rates with mobile visitors.

Taking these factors into account, below are some specific changes you can make to improve the UX for donors on mobile devices:

  • Render all content in a single column to eliminate the need for sideways scrolling.
  • Pare back copy so your core value proposition is expressed succinctly.
  • Cut supporting graphics and images, which don’t render as well on small screens.
  • Reduce friction by shortening the giving process, i.e. cutting out as many steps and questions as possible.
  • Break up forms into multiple short steps so that each one appears simple and effortless, instead of a long form all on one screen. Remember the Obama campaign’s enormous success with this technique!
  • Design bigger form fields that don’t need to be resized to be tapped
  • Ask donors to enter their zip code first, so that other required fields can autofill (city, state, country) based on that input, thereby reducing the total number of inputs the donor has to make.
  • Display fewer suggested gift amounts (e.g. 3 instead of 5) so that options are easier to see on a narrow screen and a decision can be made more quickly.
  • Offer alternative payment options, e.g. Amazon Payments and/or Paypal. (focus on payment methods that are most popular with your donors; don’t offer everything.)
  • Design bigger buttons that are easier to tap.
  • Left-align all call-to-action buttons so they’re always in the main eye path.

Implementing these techniques will no doubt make for a much better UX for visitors who intend to convert on a mobile device. That said, there’s new evidence to suggest that a large portion of mobile users have no intention of converting on a mobile device.

Research by SeeWhy has found that the average consumer requires five “touches” via marketing before they’ll -make a purchase. If the same holds true for transactions on nonprofit sites, this means that many donors will use multiple devices over multiple user sessions before making a gift.

Customer journey graphicTheir “journey” to donor conversion often begins as a result of an email they read on their smart phone. It may prompt them to visit your website on their mobile device, even if they don’t intend to make a donation at that moment. A significant portion may wait until they have access to a desktop or laptop before giving online, because they expect the UX to be much easier on those devices.

To put it simply—many consumers (who are also donors) don’t yet consider their smart phone a “converting device.” According to See Why’s research, by a 2:1 margin consumers are more nervous about transacting via mobile device than on a desktop or laptop. This anxiety gap will take time to overcome—and may never close entirely.

This is why your mission-critical pages need to be responsive for those donor prospects who may just be “kicking the tires” via their mobile device. Their experience is likely to have a big influence on whether or not they decide to return and donate later on.

To summarize, while there’s no one technique that’s guaranteed to increase your conversion rate with mobile donors, the techniques we’ve discussed should help get you started in thinking about the process. Regardless of how you approach the problem, one thing is certain—mobile devices will continue to gain importance as a step in the donor conversion process. No one in the nonprofit world can afford to ignore the user experience on mobile any longer.

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.

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. 

Typhoon Haiyan spurs humanitarian and fundraising response

Philippines Typhoon HaiyanThe super typhoon that struck the Philippines on November 8th is believed to be the most powerful storm on record to make landfall, damaging more than 16 million homes and causing over 6,000 deaths. The humanitarian and fundraising response around the world was immediate.

Two Donordigital clients sprung into action to raise money online from their supporters to fund urgent humanitarian campaigns in the Philippines and the region.

AmeriCares and International Medical Corps closely followed the news of the approaching storm. Within hours of landfall, both organizations sent out email appeals to their supporters, providing news of their humanitarian response and asking for financial support. Speed of communications requesting donations is critical as a means to engage potential supporters, particularly during a time of very high media coverage of unfolding events on the ground. Additional email updates were sent over the following weeks, keeping supporters informed and encouraging additional donations in support of emergency relief efforts.

To increase the fundraising response of email appeals, two other tactics were used. One tactic was resending one of the appeals to email subscribers that did not open a message (“non-openers”). Another tactic was to introduce a match, which encouraged supporters to make a gift and also encouraged larger gifts. Due to the scale of the humanitarian disaster in the Philippines, both organizations used their messaging opportunities to distinguish their emergency response from other organizations by focusing on their unique response role. AmeriCares focused on its efforts to provide medical supplies to an established network of local clinics, while International Medical Corps focused on its efforts to provide relief on remote Philippine islands.

On their websites, both organizations dedicated homepage carousel slides to the situation in the Philippines. Half of available slides were used to promote Philippines fundraising, featuring media coverage of their work on the ground and providing specific details of the organization’s humanitarian response. Special donation pages were built to accept donations, featuring pointed messaging about work being done on the ground.

On social media, both organizations presented timely and frequent updates from the field along with numerous photos, interspersed with fundraising appeals. The photos were heartbreaking and provided an invaluable channel to keep supporters informed and engaged with new developments.

As the year-end fundraising season is now in high gear through December 31, both organizations have implemented strategies to encourage donors that gave during the Typhoon Haiyan relief emergency to also make an additional gift at year-end. New and returning donors that give during emergencies are always deeply appreciated by charitable organizations, and the challenge is keeping them engaged year-round with the important work of the organization.

mstein-photo-thumbnailMichael Stein is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company. Contact: michael@donordigital.com.

Laura Domingo and Nick Garcia contributed to this article.

Children’s Hospital Oakland goes mobile-friendly

Donordigital has been thrilled to work with Children’s Hospital Oakland and the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Foundation during the past six months on a number of online projects, including improving the organization’s donation forms, email templates, and email signup experience, as well as integrating its online and offline communications.

Our first project with Children’s Hospital Oakland was to create mobile-optimized email templates in Convio for email appeals and e-newsletters, thus assuring the best possible reader and donor experience.  We streamlined the design with a focus on call-to-action, images of kids, and organizational branding.  We determined the best design based on organizational needs, and ensured those could be delivered in a mobile-friendly format.

Here’s how they went from a non-mobile-friendly e-newsletter format to a mobile-friendly format (click to enlarge either screenshot):

old-enews    new-enews

And here’s how they went from a non-mobile-friendly email appeal format to a mobile-friendly format  (click to enlarge either screenshot):

old-eappeal     new-eappeal

Children’s Hospital Oakland is now employing these new mobile-friendly templates for their year-end fundraising campaign.

Please sign up for Children’s Oakland’s e-mail list today and see them for yourself!

WendyPhotoWendy Marinaccio Husman is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company. 

No Kid Hungry Month dines out to fight hunger

This past September, Donordigital’s client Share Our Strength celebrated No Kid Hungry Month to raise awareness that 1 in 5 children in America face hunger. As part of this effort, No Kid Hungry supporters dined out to fight hunger with their forks at 9,000 partner restaurants. In just one day, called the “twEAT out,” there were 19 million tweets promoting No Kid Hungry month.

On September 8th, 30 cable networks including the Food Network committed to Go Orange in solidarity against childhood hunger. In No Kid Hungry month alone, the organization raised $203,500 online—an amount that provides over 2 million meals for kids struggling with hunger.

Watch the video and learn more about No Kid Hungry Month

Facebook rolling out changes to its Advertising services

At Donordigital, we manage Facebook Advertising projects for several of our clients. In early June 2013, Facebook announced plans to streamline the number of advertising units from 27 to fewer than half of that, and they’ll be rolling out these changes over the next five months. Let’s look at the current landscape of Facebook Advertising, while touching on anticipated changes, and how it might impact nonprofits using Facebook.

Currently, Facebook Advertising belongs to one of two categories: Ads or Sponsored stories.

Ads – Voice of the organization

For Facebook ads in this category, you as a nonprofit advertiser are in full control of all creative elements of the ad. This means you control the title of the ad, the imagery and any text that goes with it. The two most common distinct formats for ads are:

  • Standard ads: A standard ad is the traditional Facebook ad you find on the right hand side across the site on dedicated ad placements on Facebook. That means the right-hand side of the Facebook homepage, events, pages, user profiles, apps and next to photos in photo albums. Standard ads pointing to Facebook Pages are also eligible to show in the News feed on desktop and mobile devices.
  • Page post ads: Page post ads are Facebook page posts that are promoted in order to increase their reach. Due to their nature, they are eligible to show on all Facebook placements. This includes the News Feed on both mobile and desktop. Turning a page post into a page post ad by promoting it doesn’t change the original post in terms of appearance – only in terms of distribution. This means that Facebook users interact with a page post ad the same way they would with an unsponsored page post.

Sponsored stories – Voice of a friend

With sponsored stories, each time someone interacts with one of your Facebook entities a story is created. The content of the story can be that someone likes your page or one of our page posts, uses your app or is going to your event – to name a few. You could say a person’s action becomes a recommendation rather than an ad. For nonprofits, sponsored stories can be a powerful marketing message, since it shows a friend interacting with your content, which can be a big influencer. One big change expected in the next few months: sponsored stories will essentially disappear as a separate ad unit. Instead, these social context elements will be rolled into Ads, such as page post ads.

Custom Audiences

Another recent addition to Facebook Advertising is the introduction of Custom Audiences. This service allows you to target your ads at people for whom you have email addresses. The Custom Audience tool will match up people on your list to their Facebook profiles based on email address, Facebook user ID or phone number; however, email address will most likely be the record information you will be using for the match. We’ve seen this used very effectively in multi-channel campaigns, whereby nonprofits can target people on Facebook that have received solicitations in the mail, assuming you have their email address in their constituent record. The Custom Audiences tool is accessed through the Power Editor, which is found in the Facebook Ads Manager. List files need to be the CSV or TXT format. Once uploaded, this list will be saved and can be used as a target audience for your next Facebook ad campaign (or can even be used as an exclusion audience!).

Laura Domingo is an Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

Using mobile phone marketing to build an email list

AIDS Walk San Francisco benefitting our client the San Francisco AIDS Foundation just took place July 21, 2013. Over 20,000 people walked in Golden Gate Park in support of HIV prevention and care. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation took advantage of the opportunity to grow its email list at the event by promoting a text-to-join program, gaining nearly 700 new email subscribers at the event.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation promoted a sweepstakes in which they gave away an iPad in exchange for joining the email list via SMS. They worked with Mobile Commons to create a 3-step series of texts to gather AIDS walkers’ full name and email address. Approximately 1,000 people started the series and 90% of them made it all the way through the process.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation followed up the next day with an email message thanking them for participating in the walk and joining the list, and confirming their name and email address—and a few days later with an e-newsletter focused on event photos and impact. The first message had a whopping 50% open rate and 0% unsubscribe rate; the second email had a 38% open rate and 17% click through rate with only 2 unsubscribes.

In addition to raising $2.5 million in order to provide free HIV prevention and care services to their clients, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation also gained an engaged new list segment.

Wendy Marinaccio is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.  Contact: wendy@donordigital.com

Mobile Fundraising: The impact of mobile technology on peer-driven fundraising campaigns

This is a very important and timely research paper by Artez Interactive which is one of the solution vendors that serves nonprofits in the U.S. and around the world.

They examined the success of 83,866 participants in a variety of fundraising campaigns to help answer the question of what impact the use of mobile technology has on peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Peer-to-peer are campaigns where one fundraiser reaches out to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to raise money for a cause that is meaningful to them.

There’s a good deal of evidence piling up that peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns on behalf of a charity are becoming as effective as regular appeals coming directly from a charity. And this report suggests that the use of mobile devices is having a positive impact on the success of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.

Clearly donors are inspired to donate to a campaign when asked by someone they trust. And the pervasive use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets increases the fundraising response rate within that circle of trust.

The Artez Interactive report discovered:

  • 15% of traffic to fundraising and donation pages comes from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
  • 23% of participants in peer-driven events and campaigns choose to use mobile technology to help them fundraise for good causes.
  • Participants who use mobile technology to fundraise in a campaign raise up to 2.95x more than those who do not.
  • The percentage of donations made on mobile web browsers has grown 205% in the last 12 months!
  • Event participants using iPhones raise just slightly more than participants on Android devices.

Download the Research Paper and learn more about Artez Interactive.

Michael Stein is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company. Contact: michael@donordigital.com or phone (510) 473-0364.