I wear my Millennial identity on my sleeve.
I’m a proud member of the American generation born between 1980 and 2000, and thus am slightly fascinated by research done on my peers.
The latest chapter in my Millennial research reading spree came in the form of the third annual Millennial Impact Report. In addition to having a very well formatted website and some catchy social media content, the study itself is useful to nonprofits looking to engage those in their 20s and 30s in advocacy and fundraising.
Here’s a few of the stats from the 2012 report and my take on how they’ll impact your online strategy:
E-books and e-readers are a growing part of the attention ecosystem. Long-form journalism is finding new legs through social recommendation (#longform, #longreads) and time-shifting apps. Nonprofits struggling to communicate complex issues in 140 characters can benefit from deploying e-books and other long-form content as part of a thoughtful mobile and social media strategy.
Who is reading?
Owners of e-reading devices have similar profiles to audiences most nonprofits are trying to reach for fundraising. According to a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life report, The Rise of E-Reading:
Compared with all Americans 16 and older, “e-reading device owners” are more likely to live in high income households and have more educational experience, and are also much more likely to be more tech-savvy in general… more likely to read in general, and to read a book on a typical day… more avid readers of newspapers and magazines than other Americans, and are more likely to read long-form content of any kind for pleasure. (emphasis mine)
29% of Americans age 18 and older own at least one specialized device for e-book reading – either a tablet or an e-book reader.
Also, it bears stating the obvious: smartphones are also e-readers. Don't think of e-books as being read exclusively by owners of dedicated e-readers like the Kindle or Nook, but instead think of any mobile screen. The audience for an e-book may be larger than you thought.
What content makes sense?
As chronicled in Forbes.com and elsewhere, long-form writing on the web is making a comeback. Many readers are using time-shifting apps to collect web content and read it later. In addition to purposefully written longer articles on your website, e-books are an opportunity to reach your audience with long-form content. Examples of content that could be produced in e-book format or targeted to long-form readers include:
Depending on the organization, other opportunities may present themselves. For example, distributing an exclusive work (or excerpt) by a well-known author in e-book format may be a way to generate donations or signups. Furthermore, new outlets for long-form journalism (Atavist, Longform.org, Longreads, Matter, PostDesk (UK), among others), should be part of your media planning.
TheNextWeb.com blogger Alex Wilhelm writes that "Long-form content is headed back to the business model of the pamphlet, with short works selling at low price points and in large quantity." According to Wilhelm, the key success factors for e-books are: locational convenience, formatting, and curation.
"By locational convenience I mean that people [with e-readers] often use them where they lack an Internet connection (the train). Therefore, to have something downloaded and ready to go is a real value. In regards to formatting, most ereading devices have browsing capabilities, but that doesn’t mean that they render pages well, or quickly. A well formatted ebook has none of those issues. Finally, curation means that things are assembled in a very specific way to give a cohesive and user-friendly experience."
An example of this kind of content curation is veteran nonprofit blogger Colin Delany's recent e-book, How Campaigns Can Use the Internet to Win in 2012, available in Kindle-optimized format via Amazon.com, and as a free PDF.
Why is formatting important?
As a consumer (not a standards expert), my experience is that PDF meets only the minimal requirements to be called an e-book, mainly for reasons of usability. While almost every e-reader can display PDFs, the end-user has no control over text size, background color, pagination, and other aspects of the the reading experience that make e-books a compelling medium. This is especially true for smartphones (currently your largest potential e-reader audience), where reading PDFs is possible but very tedious, with each page requiring zooming and scrolling.
How to publish an e-book?
Unfortunately, there isn't one publication standard that works across all e-readers. The major purveyors of e-book platforms (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble) all want to make it easy for you to produce content, and make it sound as easy as uploading HTML or Word Documents. Because Amazon.com has the largest audience of e-readers, many independent publishers with limited time and energy are going the route of publishing in Amazon's Kindle-optimized format. One of the long-form content aggregators mentioned above, Atavist, offers a publication platform that looks promising.
If you are looking for deeper examination of the fragmented state of e-book publication standards, Nick Disabato fires a #longform broadside from A List Apart in two parts: the current state, and a look to the future. Nonprofits with limited resources would certainly benefit from industry adoption of standards as he urges.
Are you already making use of e-books and #longform content? Please let us know in the comments.
A couple weeks ago we released our 2012 Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark study. More than a few people have called it a “must-read” and as someone who knows it front-to-back and inside out, I must agree. To whet your whistle, here are just 10 of the interesting insights this bad boy contains:
Let’s talk about that last one for a second – if the average online monthly gift is $31.96, that means a donor who gives a monthly gift for a full year is worth a whopping $383.52! If you take away one thing from this benchmark, write this one down, you must have monthly giving as an option on your donation form.
We often use history to predict the future. I checked wunderground.com's history of temperature averages before selecting my summer vacation destination. Predictive analytics has become a hot-button term over the past two years as business intelligence vendors have begun to incorporate simulation and forecasting into their offers. In order to predict with greater confidence, here are three terms you must know.
It is easy enough for the human eye to observe, "It looks like the test significantly outperformed the control." But statistical measures are necessary to interpret the repeatability of the observed result. Statistically significant findings should be reported with a confidence level. Think of a 95% confidence interval as an indication that if you were to take 100 different samples from the same population, the test would "outperform" the control in about 95 of the samples.
Did you note above that "significance" requires your sample observations to be representative of the greater population? For example, Congressional representatives are supposed to be a sample of the population within their districts. Ironically, Congress is seldom a good example of a truly representative sample. Scrutinize the universe under observation. Very likely you are making observations today that will influence your strategy implementation tomorrow. You cannot control for environmental changes over time, but as much as possible you should manage your test sample to represent the population in your future. Read more about Tests, Controls and Results.
Be on the watch for confounding. Hidden variables that are correlated with both your dependent variable and your independent variable(s) are called confounding variables. The classic example is ice cream sales as a predictor of drowning deaths. There is correlation, but the underlying influencer of both is temperature and season encouraging both ice cream consumption and water sports. Avoid this oversight by brainstorming potential hidden variables with your colleagues.
Keep these three concepts in mind when you are creating your own predictive analytics hypothesis or reviewing analytics provided by others. When you know your level of significance, know that your sample is representative, and have accounted for hidden variables you will be able to support strategic decisions with confidence.
Rebecca Sundquist is a lead analyst in Convio’s strategy practice group, her goal is to lend confidence to strategic decisions. She investigates constituent data to uncover trends and confirm or deny hypotheses. Rebecca practices the art of info viz (information visualization) with a commitment to simplicity. She wants to help clients see clearly where they have been and how to reach their goals.
Since 2004, Rebecca has worked with nonprofit data, implementing and monitoring acquisition, renewal and reactivation practices. She also has experience with donor upgrade strategies, activity cross over and sustainer programs.
We all have a desire to be connected, to know that what matters to us most is something others also care about. This is especially true in our close relationships, both on a business and personal front.
For those of us passionate about the nonprofit community, being connected, compassionate and caring hold an even deeper meaning. They’re synonymous, and we want those with whom we keep close company, especially our significant others, to selflessly subscribe to our sentiment. What better way of expressing this then when we commune through donating our time and, often more heart-touching, our dollars to those in need.
So, how does this act of caring and sharing apply to you and your organization? Our new research paper, Insights into Integrated Marketing Constituent Behavior, is based on the results of a study Convio conducted with CARE and it reveals that high income, married donors that like dual channels (online and offline) are, indeed, really valuable.
It seems pretty clear to me why you should care. Effectively leveraging integrated, constituent engagement marketing strategies to attract and retain these types of donors pays off, and BIG!
Ask yourself, are you designing and deploying communication efforts that are consciously coordinated, orchestrated and targeted – based on particular audience segments and their individual preferences? Are you engaging in multiple channels, including mobile and social media? Are you actively listening and then clearly responding with what they want to hear?
Because, if you are, imagine all the beautiful music you and your donors can make together. All it takes is perfecting the harmony and keeping rhythm to the same beat.
Subscribe to receive posts via email:
Get answers to product questions, join "Birds of a Feather" discussions and more. Join the Online Community
Alltop - Nonprofit
A Small Change
Bob Ottenhoff's Blog
Donor Power Blog
Future Leaders in Philanthropy
Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog
Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog
Nonprofit Law Prof
Pamela’s Grant Blog
Sea Change Strategies
Zen and the Art of Nonprofit Technology