5 Ways to Leverage Psychology in Your Online Fundraising

Posted on February 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

It’s helpful to first understand people in order to design your outreach and fundraising efforts. John Haydon lists 5 tactics you can use to achieve just that.

5 Ways to Leverage Psychology in Your Online Fundraising5 Ways to Leverage Psychology in Your Online Fundraising

As social media platforms seem to keep changing at an exponential rate, there is one thing that you can count on to remain the same: they way people process information and make decisions.

People make decisions based on emotion and justify those decisions with reason.

As an example, let’s take the cool looking guy with the iPad at Starbucks (you know this guy). He’ll tell you that he bought his iPad because it helps him do his work faster, or that it’s easier to carry around to various clients. But the truth is that he bought it to look cool and/or fit in. Everyone from Apple to Don Draper knows that understanding psychology is essential for selling anything–offline and online.

You Are a Sales Person

It sounds very dirty, I know. But in your case, it’s less dirty because you’re changing the world! Here are a few ways you can leverage psychology to increase your online fundraising:

1. Tell them what the Jones’ Gave. One interesting study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found that potential donors take action when they hear why their peers gave, and they gave more when they were told what dollar amount their peers gave. A donation page that talks about why other people like the organization, and how much they gave will maximize this effect.

2. Leverage the halo effect. A few years ago, researchers in Canada found that people make judgements about websites in just 1/20th of a second, basically a blink of an eye. This means that your site should load fast, and you should have a contemporary design, among other things.

3. Show them how far they have to go. One factor that determines whether people will take action on a goal or not is how attainable the goal is. Epic Change is a nonprofit that provides support and attention for women who are radically changing their local communities. During their Epic Thanks campaign last November, they showed what the achievement of each campaign milestone would provide for a middle school in Tanzania.

4. Use pictures. No one will ever read a thousand words on your donation page. But they will look at a picture. Pictures convey a tremendous amount of subconscious information that can influence a person to act.

5. Turn your stats into a story. You need to make your cause personal so that people take action. Start by understanding how to translate statistics into a compelling story. The average person doesn’t care about the concentration of E. coli in an aquifer, but they will do everything in their power to keep poop out of their tap water.

Source: 5 Ways to Leverage Psychology in Your Online Fundraising – http://bit.ly/ucOU55
Author: John Haydon

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When Is One Million Fans on Facebook Worth More Than A Million Bucks?

Posted on February 7, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

What a great example! This article about the success HSUS is having and how they are acheiving that level of participation from Fans gives a really good insight into how other organisations can work towards their own social media engagement goals.

Well Done Carie, and thanks for letting Beth share your story!

Kathie van Vugtirevenuestream.com

When Is One Million Fans on Facebook Worth More Than A Million Bucks?When Is One Million Fans on Facebook Worth More Than A Million Bucks?
Image: HSUS Director of Emerging Media Carie Lewis Celebrates

Answer: When they are engaged and ready to take action for you!

Earlier this month. the Humane Society of United States reached 1 million fans on its Facebook Page. Says Carie Lewis, director of Emerging for the HSUS, “Although we prefer not to focus on numbers as a measurement of social media success, one million fans is a huge landmark that we are celebrated with our online community.” We know that animal welfare nonprofit rule on Facebook, but how did HSUS do this? Says Carie, “By listening to concerns of our fans, producing content that people want to share and making sure every post provides value to our fans and to the animals they care about.”
HSUS Facebook page
Facebook alone doesn’t do get an engaged crowd that takes action. As NTEN points out, the campaign include integrated tactics:

HSUS Infographic
Click to see full infographic

Like all rock star nonprofit social media mavens, Carie Lewis is a curator of social media metrics. She and her team build their integrated strategy around results metrics. Says Carie, “We look at three things: actions taken, donations made, and customer service wins. That’s also how our department has been able to obtain more resources to handle the volume we have.” They also have metrics for specific campaigns and Carie is very good at tracking tactics against data to improve and get better results.

Click to view video – “HSUS – 1 Million Facebook Fans

For this campaign, they wanted to create a celebration so that fans could engage and participate in the fun. They wanted to create a personalized experience that makes the fans feel like they are a part of something really great that’s why they created a video and an opportunity for their fans to share their photos of their pets and why they love them.

Some counting metrics they captured were: # likes, # photo submissions, # mobile submissions, # tab views, # video views, # shares

Says Carie, “We from our past experiences that we need to make it as easy and simple as possible for people to participate. And good news works best, people love to celebrate and feel a part of something.”

Further, Carie is a master of capturing data and reflecting on what works and what doesn’t – channel by channel. Take for example her very useful tips about how to activate Facebook Fans to share and take action.

What’s the secret to measuring integrated campaigns? Carie says that getting everyone on the same page is crucial. “We have a daily noon meeting where someone from each end of communications – website, email, social, PR, and video – gives a 1 minute account of what they are pushing out that day. We also have a weekly cross-sectional meeting that talks about longer term projects. About 2 months before we launched the campaign, I presented my plan to the cross-sectional meeting, and got everyone on the same page. That was key. There were things that I never would have thought about – photo disclaimer language, working around our CEO’s crazy schedule for taping the video, etc. And there were a lot of great ideas that were born that I never thought about, like creating an infographic about our Facebook fans. Make sure you know what resources you have at your disposal.

”Conversely, when they are helping a campaign promote their work using social media, they have a “menu” of social media tactics that we review with them, letting them know the options and use cases for each. As Carie notes, “This has really shown others that don’t work in social media everyday that a Facebook post on HSUS’ page isn’t always the best answer. Social media is no longer an afterthought in communications at HSUS.” Here’s an example of some of that template, notice they ask for a screen capture of the action and to record any feedback.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from measuring is to write down the metrics before you launch the campaign so you know what it will take. We actually have a measurement template that says “if you’re doing this, you should measure this.” For example, if you’re doing a Facebook event, you should measure # invited, # RSVPs (yes, no, maybe, not responded), # registrations sourced from Facebook, # wall posts.

Source: When Is One Million Fans on Facebook Worth More Than A Million Bucks? – http://bit.ly/u3W9Q5
Author:  Beth Kanter

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Charity Draws Bigger Donations With Redesigned Web Site

Posted on January 31, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

It seems a lot of nonprofits realise that their websites are not as effective as they could be but when they look into the cost of redesign or redevelopment of the site thye just can’t justify the expense. However, this article is a good example which shows what Compassion International has been missing out on by sticking with it’s outdated site.

It is important to understand the opportunity cost of having an ineffective site, and to weigh this up against the short-term cost and long term gain of committing to redevelopment. In this age of technology, organisations who don’t keep up will be left behind. They will be unable to sustain their supporter base as other organisations who are using technology to great effect take over market share.

Food for thought…

Kathie van Vugtirevenuestream.com

Charity Draws Bigger Donations With Redesigned Web Site

Until this summer, Compassion International had a Web site in need of a makeover. The Christian aid charity hadn’t redesigned the site since 2003, and in the world of online communications, eight years is a long time.

As a result, the organization faced a series of limitations that are common among groups using outdated Web tools. Staff members had little control over the site’s content. And its system for collecting online donations was dated, which meant the organization was missing opportunities to raise money from viewers.

“We always had a lot of ideas, but our content-management system at the time really limited us in what we could do,” said Dustin Hardage, the charity’s Web and interactive director.

But thanks to an update in June, the number of visits to the site has grown by 25 percent, traffic from search engines has risen 28 percent, and page views have increased 9 percent. The number of people who visit every section of the site has increased as much as 350 percent on some pages, Mr. Hardage said.

And the new site is also helping the organization raise more money online.

While the number of total donations has decreased slightly since the charity went public with its new site, the average donation made by each visitor has increased by 55 percent. The group attributes this jump in part to a new “shopping cart” donation system that allows people to donate to the charity and pay for a “child sponsorship” in one transaction.

Here are some of the features Mr. Hardage looked for in a new system, and what that meant for the charity. The new system:

Gives employees more control. The redesign allows the charity’s Internet marketing staff to handle tasks that it previously needed the group’s technology department to handle. With the new site, the marketing team can change layouts and add code for measurement and testing.

Adds testing capabilities. The staff can now test two versions of the same page to see which performs better. Within two weeks, the organization recognized patterns that allowed it to make better decisions about how to display information.

“We already changed the landing page for one of our products because we saw an increase in our conversion rates, and that has just continued,” Mr. Hardage said.

Attracts search engines. The new site has allowed the organization to win more attention from Google and other search engines, Mr. Hardage said. “We were really able to personalize that to an extreme.”

The new content-management system—which runs on a platform called Tridion by the company SDL—also includes a tool that tracks what similar sites are doing to attract search engines and visitors to make sure Compassion is competitive online.

Source: Charity Draws Bigger Donations With Redesigned Web Site – http://bit.ly/uuGgao
Author:  Cody Switzer

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How I Found Out What Our Supporters Really Want to See on Our Facebook Page

Posted on January 26, 2012. Filed under: Social Media Marketing | Tags: , , , |

I like this article by Kate Antoniades, it is a really down-to-earth example of how she made the most of the feedback she was receiving from her supporters. This process took Kate a few months, but her insights can be implemented by you straight away.

Thanks for sharing, Kate!

Kathie van Vugtirevenuestream.com

How I Found Out What Our Supporters Really Want to See on Our Facebook PageKate Antoniades

Earlier this year, after a couple of years of keeping my Facebook and Twitter plans for Lollypop Farm in my head or scribbled on Post-its stuck to my monitor, I created a social media calendar in Google Docs. It’s become a very useful tool for planning ahead and for keeping track of what I’ve posted.

Soon after I started using the calendar, I began tracking the feedback rate for each Facebook post—the percentage that indicates the comments and “likes” per impression. (Each time a post appears in someone’s news feed, on the page itself, or in a page badge, Facebook calls that an impression.)

With about two months of data, I decided to use the feedback rate to find out exactly which posts made the greatest and least impact. Other factors, like the time of day or day of the week that something is posted, may affect feedback, but that was beyond the scope of what I wanted to examine.

I found that the majority of the 20 posts that fell below a .05% feedback rating could be placed into three categories: mentions of various events and classes (those that were unrelated to pet adoption), notices of holiday closings, and news of job and volunteer opportunities. We feel that these are important messages, but they don’t seem to grab the attention of our supporters as much as we’d like.

The 10 posts that topped a 0.75% feedback rating (ranging from 0.78% to 3.21%) were all one of two types. Many shared news of pets being adopted (either a single animal or many animals during a successful adoption event). Here’s one example of responses to an adopt-a-thon that found homes for a record number of cats and kittens:

The other posts that had a lot of impact—including the single most popular post of the two months I reviewed—were related to an online contest for animal shelters that awarded five platform dog beds. Our supporters got really excited about this contest because it offered them an easy way to help the dogs in our care. With just a couple of mouse clicks, they could vote and encourage their Facebook friends to vote, too.

We ended up winning the contest, and Facebook was certainly a major factor. These were some of our supporters’ reactions to the good news:

The conclusions I can draw from this close look at feedback rates aren’t earthshattering, but they serve as good reminders: Our supporters want to hear good news, specifically about pets being placed in new homes, and they want to know easy ways they can help.

Looking at these numbers has prompted me to share more of our “happy endings” and not let them fall through the cracks when I’m trying to encourage people to register for class Y or attend event Z.

The “easy ways to help” posts might be a little tougher to find—since the assistance we most often need involves adopting a pet, making a donation, or volunteering time—but perhaps I’ll suggest that our supporters search the web using GoodSearch or do their online shopping through iGive, both of which can send small sums of money our way.

Fortunately, I’ll get a good idea of how these posts are received—simply by checking the feedback rating.

Source: How I Found Out What Our Supporters Really Want to See on Our Facebook Page – http://bit.ly/rsnSf9
Author: Kate Antoniades, Communications and Social Media Coordinator at Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester

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How to use microsites to better tell your nonprofit’s story

Posted on January 24, 2012. Filed under: Effective Website Design, Storytelling | Tags: , , |

This insight into how microsites have been implemented by 3 organisations gives good examples of how you may be able to implement similar microsites for your specific topics or causes to help cut through the clutter and get to the heart of your message, aiming the microsites at specific segments of your target audience.

This article is a very worthwhile read, thank you for sharing Carla!

Kathie van Vugt – irevenuestream.com

How to use microsites to better tell your nonprofit’s storyHow to use microsites to better tell your nonprofit’s story

Microsites can be a powerful tool for online fundraising and marketing

Let’s face it: Nonprofit websites often suffer from multiple personality disorder.There’s the “program” side that wants to tell you all the amazing ways your programs help save homeless pets, feed the hungry, find cures, protect our children, or empower women. There’s the “events” side that must sell tickets. And don’t forget the “communications” side, whose press releases and news items help raise awareness. While often a complicated web of messaging, it’s a necessary evil when many departments must relay information using a single corporate website.

So as fundraisers, how can we tell the real story – expose the true heart of an organization – when our messaging is only one part of a huge multi-dimensional website? The answer is simple: Create a microsite that allows you to focus on a particular topic, present specific calls to action and, with the help of social media, reach large numbers of people much more quickly than a traditional website.When done correctly, a microsite can be one of the most powerful storytelling tools available to fundraisers. But don’t take my word for it, here are some examples of wonderful and highly effective microsites.

3 examples of successful nonprofit microsites

Abolish Child Trafficking
Abolish Child Trafficking
1 Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas providing food, shelter, crisis care and essential services to homeless and at-risk kids. In an effort to mobilize their existing activists and acquire new ones, Covenant House developed a microsite that digs deep into the issue of domestic child trafficking.

Through the stories of four young victims, the A.C.T. microsite raises awareness of a crisis that affects thousands of American kids each year and issues an urgent call to action. Clear, concise information, bold statistics and striking graphics help further engage the audience and dispel the misconception that human trafficking is a trend confined to foreign soil.

While the content makes a strong case for giving, the main goal of this campaign is to use the broad reach of Facebook, Twitter, email and free infographics to help raise awareness. There is a valuable lesson to be learned in this strategy. Microsites do not have to be used solely for fundraising. Even though microsites cost money to develop, there are times when building a solid warm-prospect list is a legitimate goal that deserves the investment.

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
2 Problem: How do you educate people about racism in the post-Obama era? For the Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF), America’s first and foremost civil rights legal organization, the solution had to be educational, factually accurate and, most importantly, compelling enough to remind people that the fight for equality is not over.

LDF decided to tell the story of minority Americans – in 38 states across the country – who still face obstacles at the voting booth. Their microsite revealed documented, widespread threats to voting rights in America and effectively weaved localized challenges into a broad picture of the problem.

Any one of these local challenges may be too small to spark a national call to action, but when combined, they serve to rally a renewed commitment from LDF’s constituency.

This microsite allowed LDF to take a complex issue like voting rights and break it down into small, easy-to-understand pieces. The site also enabled the Legal Defense and Education Fund to break out of its normal website messaging mode and dig deeper, providing more detail, substance and emotion. The Voting Rights microsite shows that often the greatest impact is made with a singularly focused story.

Making AIDS History
Making AIDS History
3 Dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic, American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) has invested nearly $325 million in innovative research and awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams since 1985. It has increased the world’s understanding of HIV and helped lay the groundwork for major advances in the study and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

While finding a cure for AIDS is the driving force behind amfAR’s work, their motivation comes from the sum of 50 million personal stories of heartache, courage and triumph over adversity. To help mark the 25th anniversary of their founding, amfAR decided to share a handful of these stories on the Making AIDS History microsite. With compelling video and a simple call to action – a $25 gift in recognition of amfAR’s 25 years – this microsite encourages a renewed, collective commitment to the organization.

Making AIDS History is an example of how a microsite can complement its parent site and act as a powerful fundraising tool at the same time. While the main website establishes amfAR as a world leader in HIV/AIDS research, their microsite connects donors to the people who have benefited from the research.

Is a microsite right for your organization?

There is no question that microsites allow you to effectively tell the story of a single compelling issue – one that is important to your organization and the people you serve. They can easily take off, gathering new supporters for your cause and generating many types of action. They are also just as effective for mobilizing your existing base and serve as a starting point for engaging people in social media conversations.

But don’t jump on the microsite bandwagon just because other nonprofits are doing it – make sure you put some careful planning in before deciding if a microsite is right for your organization. Only use microsites when you have something urgent to say, when you feel a specific topic or area deserves specialized attention and when you’re willing to set aside or reduce your core messaging. It’s true that microsites allow you the freedom to break away from your normal brand – but remember, you have to give a microsite as much attention to detail as you would a flagship site. You need to create a good design, you need to do keyword research and SEO, you need functional/practical on-site navigation and ultimately you need to have a compelling story to tell.

We are all looking for innovative ways to reactivate our existing audiences and cultivate new ones. The more we can provide constituents with interactive ways to connect with us, the better we will be in growing our communities. While microsites are an investment, they are a powerful tool in the new age of online fundraising and marketing.

Source: How to use microsites to better tell your nonprofit’s story – http://bit.ly/uu12Cv
Author: Carla Chadwick, Creative director, SankyNet
Image: Microsite built for The Center for Reproductive Rights by SankyNet.

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