Guest speaker: Chris Hines, from Apopo US
Why do recurring donations matter?
Because they are a consistent and reliable source of income! Recurring donors are your most loyal supporters. Once a donor signs up, they give on average for 8 consecutive months, and the main cause of cancelation is expired credit cards.
A little background on Apopo
Apopo trains rats to detect landmines and TB in Tanzania and Mozambique. Their Adopt a HeroRAT campaign where donors could “adopt” a rat was starting to stagnate. Donors would get updates and pictures, but no interaction or social media engagement. So, Apopo launched a new recurring donation experience with myapopo.org, a personalized, engaging platform for donors.
Experimenting to increase recurring donations!
-Testing on the website homepage
- Support button – changed the color, background, and added small animation to the button and found that it drew more clicks and a higher percentage of website visits
- “Help us save lives” banner – moved up the banner higher on the homepage and received more clicks and more donations
-Testing on donation page
- Donation pictures – saw increase in recurring donations when switched the Adopt image. Always test new images to see which ones attract the most clicks
- Donation amounts – track how many donations received for the amounts and descriptions given
- Default to monthly donation instead of annual donation – Focus more on monthly donations and had more engagement and less cancellation
- Put video on page to better explain recurring donations
- Added other currencies to donation pages to make it easier for more donors to give
- Got feedback that PayPal page discouraged donors from giving. Made changes and got a higher completion rate for recurring donations
-Testing communication frequency
- Allow donors to choose how frequently they want to get emails – give more options to customize for donors
- FB sharing link on top right – to make donors feel comfortable sharing stories on FB, Apopo provided examples of what stories will be shared that has increased FB sharing among donors
-Testing subject lines
- Fun, mysterious, unique subject lines got higher open and click through rates
- Plan campaigns well in advance and know when communications are going out
- Inspire, motivate and engage donors so they feel more involved and get others to join
- Bring in more interactive, fun elements
- Reward recurring donors with exclusive content – make donors feel like they’re getting something in return
- Keep testing!
How much did experimentation cost? The A/B testing that Apopo did cost only Chris’ time. There are a lot of free tools you can use to do A/B testing including tools on GlobalGiving and on Optimizely.
How GlobalGiving Doubled Recurring Donations
GlobalGiving experimented with different calls-to-action to get one-time donors to upgrade to monthly recurring donations. Here are the three types of calls-to-action GlobalGiving put on donor’s shopping cart pages:
– Simple call to action
– Call-to-action offering different match percentages for new recurring donations
– A group offer, so the more people who upgraded got a higher match percentage
We found that the group offer with the 75% match drove the highest number of upgrades.
Here’s a blogpost explaining more on how we doubled recurring donations on our site: http://tools.blog.globalgiving.org/2012/07/31/how-to-double-your-recurring-donations/
What did we learn?
Never Settle! Always keep experimenting to improve your fundraising. Run your own recurring donation experiments. Look at how you communicate with your recurring donors. And take advantage of week-long recurring donation matching opportunities on GlobalGiving.
All the best,