Harnessing technology to
build and maintain
London Fundraising Summit
24 September, 2008
o Conversations = Conversions
o Management = Messages
o Case studies, reports, resources...
• Networking break
• Small group work session
• Small group reports and closing
• Question & Answer
Jonathan and I are each going to present on the wide
range of topics included within our topic today of online
My presentation will focus on tools that facilitate
conversation and engagement, donor management and
strategy, as well as case studies, helpful reports and an
overview of possible tools.
When we reconvene after the networking break, we will
break into small groups to work on some example
scenarios as a way to put into practice some of the
ideas and strategies we've presented. Jonathan and I
will both be floating between the groups to answer
questions, and help with your work.
We'll also spend some time reporting out from our small
groups to share the scenarios and what solutions were
reached. We have saved time at the end of the session
for questions and answers but we want to make sure
you feel comfortable asking questions as they arise, as
Conversations = Conversions
Good tools are those that most easily,
efficiently and effectively enable
conversations between you and your
Why is the conversation so important?
Conversations = conversions
What's a conversion? This means anything from:
- new website vistor signing up for e-newsletter
- new website visitor donating money
- e-newsletter recipient signing a petition
- e-newsletter recipient donating
- donor forwarding information to a friend
well, you get the point.
what's so great about conversions? well, that's all that
engagement is! getting people onboard, getting them
to the next level of participation, enabling them to
recruit for you, and so on.
Flickr photo by suneko
shouting rarely works!
a conversation means a two-way exchange.
traditional websites and communications on a whole
were one-way speaker phones from the organization
shouting out at anyone who cared to come by.
Flickr photo by panayotis
two way conversation empowers your constituents and
the larger community to:
- give you feedback when things are bad
- give you praise when they are happy
- ask questions
- get involved
Flickr photo by joe shlabotnik
two way conversations also turn your staff into real
organizations aren't run by robots, so let voices and
stories be heard. let people connect with people.
Conversations = Conversions
We have conversations all day long, right?
Over coffee, on the phone, etc.
Why use social media instead of only face
of course this can be done any time in person. but why
not use social media to enable those conversations to
include a dramatically higher number of people?
why use social media instead of face to face
Flickr photo by lord of the flies
people are already talking about you online.
you may not thinks so, but it's true. whether it is your
organization specifically or not, people are already
using social media to talk about, share ideas, and
opinions, and even influence their networks about your
field, your services, your needs, or your organization.
if a conversation is taking place online and you aren't
there to hear it, does it still happen? YES!
Flickr photo by gorgeoux
social media tools let your conversations reach
everywhere and anywhere.
by putting yourself and your organization online, you
can be part of the conversation that is already taking
Flickr photo by two roses
plus, using social media tools online means that people
will be able to find your organization and be part of the
conversation with you who may have never known you
the conversation prism, from Jesse Thomas and Brian
Solis, helps visiualize social media tools by the social
actions they are associated with.
tools are developing, changing, and launching every
day that will continue to grow this picture more and
Chart from OneNW
there are many permutations of the 'ladder of
engagement.' what is key is that people usually start at
the bottom and with appropriate opportunities for
conversations and engagement move up the ladder.
using tools to facilitate back-and-forth participation
between the constiuents and the organization will help
them step further up the ladder.
Management = Messages
We have everything stored and sorted
already, in our heads.
Why use online tools to manage your
Using online tools for donor management, volunteer
recruitment, website testing, and fundraising can put
your organization at an edge to increase success.
Flickr photo from Vermin Inc
people are all different, even if they are all interested in
your organization. what they want to do for you, how
they want to hear from you, what they plan to say about
you and even how they want to support you.
it's hard to juggle that much in your head or even most
quot;managementquot; practices (excel, notecards, etc.).
Flickr photo from bill barber
we are all unique and beautiful flowers, aren't we? :)
management software will let you track, trace, separate
and sort your members.
this means you have better information about who
those members are, as well as how they want to
interact with your organization.
not only are you tracking and organizing things better,
but you are able to track what you do, what your
members do, and evaluate for success.
Flickr photo from Dan Coulter
now that you are sorting your members into lists based
on their needs/activities, you can better tailor your
messages (both in emails, website, and elsewhere like
social networks or offline).
better messages means more messages, but not
drastically different. just enough so that your online
activists have something they can do when they get an
email from you, your donors can donate, your
supporters can spread the word, and your lurkers can
keep hanging on.
the slightly tailored messages make for a better
connection with your members, making them feel like
you value them because you are paying attention and
giving them what they want.
• The Raiser's Edge
• Sage Software – Sage Fundraising 50 Version 7.0
• DonorPerfect Visual Edition 8.0 (installed)
• DonorPerfect Online (ASP)
• Mission Research GiftWorks
• eBase Version 2.12
• Telosa Exceed! Basic
• Telosa Exceed! Premier
• TowerCare Technologies DonorPro
there are lots of options for donor management tools,
here are just some.
techsoup has a comparison between these 11 software
Management = Messages
We've made lists and categories and ladders
and more; can we be finished?
Why not take a little time to test what you
are doing for success?
how do you know what they want? how do you know if
you are succeeding or still just sending luke warm
testing. you can test anything from an email message
all the way to a campaign slogan or messaging.
Flickr photo from Animals in Japan
testing can be small scale to large scale - really just
depends on your budget, your time, and your staff
some people love testing, some hate the process.
i'd suggest starting small, and build from there when it
is possible and appropriate.
for example, if you have 1,000 people on your email list
to receive messages with action opportunities. create
two different messages or two different subject lines,
two different calls to action or two different images.
send each to 50 random members, and see which one
does better (the item being tested will determine your
measurement, like, if you try two subject lines, look for
which message has a higher open rate). that is the
message to send to the other 900 members.
Flickr photo from Ce nest pas un JB
you don't just need to test email messages, but you can
test the language on your website or other sites where
you have an online presence, like social networks or
if you are using tags (delicious for websites and news,
flickr for photos, etc.) you may try using a lot of different
tags and then see which ones people are using to find
your information. those words may be more common
for how people talk about your work or field than the
words you use.
try changing headlines on your website or images and
see if clickthroughs improve.
Google Website Optimizer
there are lots of options for testing, here are just some.
some or free, some aren't. some assume a higher level
of knowledge than others.
you can always do in-house though, by simple changes
and comparisons. even using different contact email
addresses on different pages of the website to guage
where people are clicking through from.
Using the ladder of engagement with
In March 2007, two leading women activists in Iran
were detained for speaking out publicly in the weeks
leading up to International Womens Day.
Amnesty Canada sent out an urgent e-appeal within 48
hours to its list of 20,000+ subscribers, urging people to
click-to-take-action to send a protest email to the
Iranian Ambassador to Canada.
More than 2,400 emails were sent by Amnesty
When the 2 activists were released just several days
later, Amnesty sent an email update back to the people
who participated in the online action with the good
news, and explained that this case is an example of
how Amnesty is able to respond immediately when
there is a human rights crisis - especially in the first 72
hours after an activist has been picked up and is being
held in police custody.
The email described that is exactly the role that
Amnesty’s Urgent Action network performs - that
Testing your website and email messages.
2008 e-Nonprofit Benchmarks Study
Next 11 slides from Benchmarks Study presentation,
Changing gray submit to a red submit
Adding small arrows next to donate button
Confirmation of action also produced a donation form
create a random home page assignment to web visitors
between the cute animal picture and the donate form
Year-end Homepage Test Results
• Donation form won - brought in 8% more gifts
(number of gifts)
• Raised 8% more dollars in donations $1,000 and
• Raised 10% more dollars in donations $500 and
• Did not hinder homepage interaction – bounce
rate for the homepage stayed relatively
We Publish Our Stats
• We send meaningful stats to all staff and provide
analysis to encourage them to focus on:
o List growth: requires extraordinary efforts (paid marketing,
o Current events and personal stories: actions perform better
w/ either element
o Syndication: web traffic and RSS feeds are email
o Search rankings: dependent on good writing
o Fundraising: everyone contributes to our fundraising
• By publishing comprehensive meaningful stats for the
entire organization, we spark curiosity and competition
Action Web Confirmation
• By comparing ourselves to other NGOs, we
get good ideas to test.
• Changing the web confirmation to donation
form raised $46,000+ since December and
tells us which issue inspires donors.
• Top issues: torture, Tibet, Darfur.
o Our Tibet action went to 450K+ and raised $15K+
via the web confirmation donation page.
• Loser issue: death penalty
o Best performing action in Feb., raised $0.
EXAMPLE ANALYSIS SENT TO STAFF:
- We continue to monitor actions that inspire our activists to donate. Darfur
consistently tops the list of actions garnering the most donations. This month,
the Shi Tao action and war on terror related actions also performed well. The
death penalty, although it brought in the most actions, did not prompt people to
give. We’ve seen similar results in direct mail.
• Make the most of your web traffic by
testing variations of your design.
• Tiny changes can have profound affects.
• Doesn’t require you to use precious email
capital and improves overall usability of
• Improved usability leads to greater
confidence in your organization and less
Big red button
• By changing the standard grey “submit”
on our donation form to a large red
“submit”, we got a 29% lift in our
Utility nav tweak
• changing the order of the utility nav items
and changing “donate” to a bold, green
“donate now” provided a:
o 70% lift in overall traffic to the donation
o 83% lift in total $ raised
Right pointing arrows
• Adding some right pointing arrows to the
word “Donate” on our homepage donate
button provided a:
o 5% lift in overall traffic to the donation form
o 55% lift in total $ raised
Having conversations online.
Organizations using Twitter, Blogs, Social
Networking sites, and more!
I have heard about lots of cool tools and I'm
sold on using social media - let's go!
Using the POST method will help you
keep your goals in front of cool tools.
the POST method from forrester is a great way to break
down your process into manageable chunks.
POST Method from Forrester
Addressing the issue of People means looking first at
who the audience is before doing anything else.
After you are confident about who you are reaching and
some of their online characteristics, you can move on to
Objectives. This is where you really think about what
you are trying to do. Think small. Saving the world is on
everyone’s list, but probably not quite as doable as
provide event participants with collaboration and
With your audience and goals in check, start thinking
about the Strategy. Strategy doesn’t mean the social
media tools, though, don’t rush! In this part, you want to
focus on what the technology tools will change for you
and your audience. How will things be after you have
implemented the tools?
Okay, now you can pick the most applicable technology
tools to use. It will be easier to see the right tools from
the plethora that exists because you are looking
through a specific lens that has the audience, goal and
strategy layers. You will now be able to also have a
more constructive view of why some and not some
• CommonCraft.org - Videos explaining
social media tools in plain English
• TechSoup.org - Reviews, forums,
research and more
• Idealware.org - Reviews and comparisons
• NTEN.org - Community network, reports,
research and more
Amy Sample Ward
we would love to continue this conversation with you -
so contact us any time!