You may have been planning your end of year appeal messages for the past couple of months, or are getting started on this now. You probably already have or will put a lot of thought into the content and overall tone of your messages, and perhaps are working across departments on integrating your message into other media channels. All of that work is an important part of planning and developing your end of year campaign.
But, ask yourself this? What is going to make a possible donor open this message? How can I stand out? Have I thought about my subject line yet?
Let’s face it, your constituents are very likely going to be receiving end of year appeals from organizations other than your own. Maybe some they are those less involved with, and others they are more involved with. Amongst all of the clutter we know to be in our inboxes it is important to think about how to stand out in the crowd. Your heart-warming story that you have spent hours developing and integrating with other messaging will only get read if your e-appeal is opened.
That being said, if you have already written your subject lines, I’d like to urge you to test them against these tips. If you haven’t written them yet, then it’s time to get started. When writing your subject lines, keep these four things in mind:
If you have the opportunity to run a test of subject lines with a small group of constituents, that is fantastic. If your email marketing tools allow for split testing, then select a small audience, split it in half and test two subject lines with this group. You can see what performs better with your constituency and then send your message(s) out to the rest of your audience with the tried and true subject line. If you’d like to download a full article on this topic, click here.
Have fun with it and post any follow up comments or brainstorming ideas here!
This post is the sixth in an ongoing series about Google
Analytics. As we proceed, I’ll share tips on how you can use this tool
to gain more insight into your online marketing.
If you’re not yet familiar with Google Analytics, it’s a free tool from Google that you can add to your site to give you information about how people are coming to your website and how they behave when they get there. Read the first post for an overview of the Dashboard or go to my profile to see all of my posts on Google Analytics
If you’ve been following these Google Analytics posts, you’ve probably come to see website analysis as a sort of sleuthing. You look at a report, notice a pattern or anomaly & try to understand why that is occurring & what you can do about it.
Sometimes you’ll see something out of the ordinary that seems surprising at first, but then makes sense once you use your detective skills to figure out the cause. Sometimes the cause is obvious, or sometimes it takes a bit of digging around into internal operations like marketing or events, external influences like news articles, or historical website changes. Things like:
Whether the answer was obvious or a tough case to crack, it’s likely that it will become a mystery again in another year or two (or maybe in a matter of months).
Did you know that you can make notes right on the graphs in Google Analytics?
Just go into any graph, hover over a date, and click “add new annotation”.
You'll see a short form
You can make your note private, or make it available to anyone with access to your organization’s analytics account. This can be really helpful if multiple people at your organization are using Google analytics. The marketing person can make notes about campaigns and the web person can make notes about website changes, stopping confusion before it even happens.
Even if you’re the only person at your organization, annotations are often a lot easier than searching through old emails to see why that weird spike happened this time last year.
The annotation is tied to the date, not the graph or metric. Once you put an annotation on a date, you will see it on all graphs that cover that date. So no matter what graph you are looking at, you will be aware of important events that might have affected the data.
Leave a comment if you have an interesting way that annotations could help you in your work!
Last week at the Convio Summit, discussions of how to get started with mobile abounded. Mobile-savvy nonprofits inspired many of us with their interesting apps, from PETA’s mobile advocacy center to the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s collaborative BOOM app (in concert with Nike) to the Central Park Conservancy’s Insider’s Guide to the Park.
Sure, I’m as much of an app-aholic as the next smartphoner – even willing to pay for apps that deliver great charity content or interesting ways to get involved, particularly for causes I’m passionate about. Having just written a guide for nonprofits on getting started with mobile (co-authored with fellow Convian Lacey Kruger), I am also a realist with an argument to make, which is this:
Until your org has a strong, successful mobile-friendly version of your site available, offering a downloadable app shouldn’t even be on your radar screen.
To be even a bit more (kindly) cantankerous, I’d also say that any time you have a great new idea for an app, it’s worth contemplating first whether this service, or feature, or program could instead be delivered as a (non-app) mobile site.
Here’s the thing: Mobile strategy is, of course, tightly tied to your overarching engagement strategy, and it’s certainly a critical online channel (and as smartphone usage skyrockets around the globe, some are even predicting that mobile will become the online channel, surpassing desktop Web browsing). Despite this, an NTEN survey last year revealed that only 16% of orgs will have invested in a mobile version of their website in 2011, whereas 90% will have an email and social media strategy, and 19% will develop apps.
This means that nonprofits across the board are actively planning to drive traffic to their websites, their campaigns, their social media presences – without, in most cases, accounting for the fact that anywhere between 2% and 40% of constituents could be accessing their content and taking action on a handheld device. (For nonprofits with international constituencies, expect those numbers to be far higher in many countries.)
While mobile websites may not be as sexy as apps or sophisticated mobile engagement tactics like text-to-give, we consider having a mobile-optimized version of your Web presence and major campaigns or programs to be the foundation for effective campaigning – even effective email marketing.
My friend Lara Koch, whose full-time job at Humane Society of the United States is to own the organization’s mobile presence, has a policy on this: “If we direct people anywhere in a way they may use their mobile device, where we send them must be mobile-optimized. No exceptions.”
Bottom line: If your organization hasn’t invested in creating a mobile presence, but you’re thinking about campaign strategy for 2012, consider putting a mobile website foray at the top of your list. In many cases, you can develop a basic mobile site and optimize much of your content for mobile displays for $10,000 - $15,000, and then evolve your mobile presence iteratively over time, as you see how it performs and hear from your constituents. (For some contrast, developing a mobile app can run you $20,000 - $30,000 or more, considering the need to develop for multiple smartphone operating systems and browsers – and that doesn’t count paying for updates and iterations, provided that like most nonprofits, you don’t have an app developer on staff. And for mobile donations via iPhones and iPads, expect that Apple will take a 30% cut of your transactions.)
Wondering how to get started with mobilizing your main site, or a campaign or program? Or how to convince an app-happy exec to first pursue a mobile presence? Or how to even know if the investment will be worth it for your org?
Check out our Guide to the Mobile Web. If you’ve got an hour to spare next Thursday, October 20, I’d love to have you at a webinar on this very topic: Mobile Touches Everything. Or if you’re a mobile-ophile who just wants to talk shop, drop me a line!
Break out the Manischewitz …. or apples and honey, it’s time to ring in the new year!
I know what you’re thinking—take a page from the Nordstrom playbook and don’t rush the seasons, Emily. Alas, I’m talking about the Jewish new year (also known as Rosh Hashanah), which begins at sundown on Wednesday. I dusted off my former Jewish non-profit staffer cap then connected with a few savvy folks* within Convio-land and am here to share some Jewish High Holiday online marketing tips with you.
To Appeal or… Not?
Many Jewish organizations assume that just because its shofar time, it is an obligatory time to send out an appeal. Think again, buckaroos! Some organizations (especially those that are providing a service around HighHo time, say Hillels providing SERVICEs to Jewish college students, more on this later) will have great success with a High Holiday appeal. This is not necessarily a given for all organizations.
Consider using this time of year to send out a cultivation message, reminding your housefile members of all the excellent work you’re up to. Think about incorporating a soft ask and capture some of the feel good Jewish energy often stirred up by round challot to reiterate your mission. September to December is a great time to raise money.. but give some thought to whether your mission supports a High Holiday specific ask.
Hype Services, Like Services
Some organizations who provide a service see a huge spike in online giving around the High Holidays (think of tickets to services for college students or the planting of a tree in Israel). Consider working a very specific and tangible service into your ask around this time of year—especially incorporating a seasonally appropriate tie-in. I love the National Council of Jewish Women and American Jewish World Service Rosh Hashanah ecards, putting a little web 2.0 spin on the tradition of sending New Year cards.
Multiples of 18, and Beyond
Make your fundraising ask culturally relevant by using multiples of 18 as suggested donations. (Based on the experience of my informal focus group, donors often entered in multiples of 18 even when they weren’t suggested.) Think about using the numbers that correspond to shofar notes around Rosh Hashanah to tie in additional Jewish content to your ask.
Tishrei or December?
Apples and honey or funky 2012 glasses: end of year is king! Jewish organizations are like other non-profits in that fundraising toward the end of the year will always be a powerful and profitable time to encourage giving from your housefile. Donors are looking to maximize tax deductable gifts before day one of the (secular) New Year. Use the High Holidays to begin stewarding donors and think about incorporating Chanukkah language or imagery into your end of year asks (it is late this year)!
If you’re an organization with a housefile composed of different faiths, consider the language you use in your end of year messaging. A very Christmas centric message could be off-putting if you know much of your constituency doesn’t celebrate Christmas. But, don’t be silent on Christmas Day! If many of your usual donors are not Christmas celebrators, they may not be up to too much else on the holiday itself and would welcome a well formatted, engaging email appeal that day.
I’d love to hear about your other High Holiday online strategy tips. What worked last year? What are you trying this year? And which recipe are you using for brisket?
*Special thanks to Convio strategy consultant rockstars, Miriam Kagan and Scott Gilman, for their help with this post!
Engaging constituents is a challenging proposition. Constituents want to be engaged on terms they care about with messages that are tailored to them. To do that organizations have to employ a multi-channel strategy. That’s why Convio is introducing Luminate, a constituent engagement solution for enterprise nonprofits.
The video below explains how constituent engagement and Luminate can help you build stronger, longer-lasting relationships with all your constituents.
I look forward to hearing your ideas on Luminate and working together to fulfill your mission.
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