Learning from 2014 Year-End Fundarising

last chance to giveWill Frechette, GlobalGiving’s Digital Marketing Specialist, joined us on Wednesday, February 11th to reflect on lessons learned from 2014 year-end fundraising and to discuss data-driven techniques to analyze the results of your organization’s fundraising efforts and to make smart decisions about your communications and fundraising in 2015. Will and his team, which is responsible for telling the stories of GlobalGiving and our partner organizations, raised more than $170,000 from donor emails in 2014. Check out a summary of the session below, and check out the webinar recording here: www.anymeeting.com/253-627-000/E154DE80814F.

Sector-Wide Trends

  • Nonprofit surveys show that, overall, there was positive growth year-over-year in December online revenue.
  • Email is not dead! 80% of nonprofits saw year-over-year growth in email revenue. Email is a key driver for year-end fundraising!
    • Some key email metrics to track include: open rate, click through rate, conversion rate (meaning donation rate), average gift/donation size (in response to emails), message volume or frequency, and growth rate of email list!
  • While conversion rates and average gift size were down for 2014, there was still an increase in email revenue. How?
    • Email volume (frequency) increased! From 6.7 on average per subscriber in December 2013 to 7.5 in December 2014, the higher frequency resulted in a 15% increase in revenue.
    • At the end of the year, many organizations are increasing their email volume, so don’t be afraid to increase your volume as well to stand out in crowded email inboxes.

GlobalGiving Trends & Year-End Strategy

We saw a 25% increase in December fundraising in 2014 (in comparison to December 2013). What was the main difference for us? An increase in open rates and average gift size! We decided that rather than reinvent and try new things at the end of the year, we would refine what worked well.

GlobalGiving’s Year-End Tests

  • 3 different subject line A/B tests:
    • #GivingTuesday (+5.6%) vs. Will + Microsoft + GlobalGiving = best #GivingTuesday ever
    • Why we think you’re a genius (+6.5%) vs. Your unique impact on Ebola
    • Last-minute gift (+7.4%) vs. Exhausted from shopping?
  • Number of donation options presented in an email:
    • Four projects versus five or six projects
    • While four projects outperformed five and six in donations, we didn’t find anything conclusive. We’ll continue to test!
  • New email template to increase click through rate through mobile optimization:
    • Results were not what we expected: we saw lower click through rates and open rates. We concluded that we should not have tested our email template, which is core to our email success, at such a crucial time of the year. So, we decided to halt this experiment in December. We’re going to keep working on this one before we send it out in 2015!
  • Change of sender’s name on a forwarded email appeal:
    • Having experimented with this during the year, we used our Chief Product Officer’s name (rather than the generic “GlobalGiving”), resulting in a 40% increase in the open rate and a 50% increase in funds raised.

What We’ll Do Differently in 2015

  • At the end of the year, we’ll focus on testing content, rather than format.
  • Increase our message volume! We’re aiming to send at least one more additional ask per person (we’re currently around 7).
  • Optimize the matching of projects to donors and improve our appeal.

Lessons To Take Away

  • Don’t be afraid to send more emails!
  • Make data-driven decisions and construct experiments based on your audience! What works for GlobalGiving may not work for your organization.
  • Look at your Effectiveness Dashboard on GG (and earn more points by listening, acting, and learning!)

So – what have you learned from your year-end fundraising? Have you performed any experiments, and if so, what did you learn? What do you plan on doing differently in your year-end fundraising in 2015?

Get Effectiveness Points for watching this recording!

You even get credit on your Effectiveness Dashboard for listening to webinars! So everyone who listens to this webinar, even the recording of it, will receive a point for “Listen.” Again, the link to the webinar recording: www.anymeeting.com/253-627-000/E154DE80814F.


This post was written by Destiny Nobles, Program Team Intern.

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