#17NTC 17 Tips for YOU!

May 02, 2017 - by Rachel Kottler and Megan Buchheit

Lautman recently attended the 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference, which was held right here in DC! We enjoyed connecting with so many great folks in the industry – but most importantly, we left with new ideas on how to help nonprofits succeed.

Here are our top 17 take-aways to help you raise more money online in 2017!

1. It’s okay to reuse good content! That email you sent that doubled projections? Resend it! On average, only 13% of people on nonprofit email lists open emails, so not everyone saw your awesome email. Change the subject, and try resending a few days later to all your non-opens.

2. Want to improve first-year retention? Try adding in a 6-month anniversary email or a thank you call around month 9. These inexpensive cultivation tactics can make the difference in the first year.

3. If you are not sending more emails than you did last year, you could be losing out on revenue. According to the M+R 2017 Benchmarks, on average, nonprofits sent 69 emails in 2016 – up 10% from 2015. So, email away!

4. Always email your most engaged audience first. Did you know that if you are sending your email full file, there is a good chance it never makes it to some people’s inboxes? To improve the chances of everyone receiving your emails, create sub-audiences and send emails to your most engaged audiences first.

5. Fundraising spikes around moments. Whether the moments are real threats to your organization (election) or created (deadlines), taking advantage of them is key to raising money.

6. Be cohesive! When designing an integrated fundraising campaign, be mindful of the creative that you are using. You should have the same look and feel (including the same graphics, fonts, colors) across all channels. Visual consistency will make your campaign more integrated and more successful.

7. Giving Tuesday can spill over to Wednesday – and so can other deadlines. If you have a 24-hour campaign, like Giving Tuesday, and it is going extremely well, consider adding an extension for the next day.

8. Donors are individuals – not “the list” or “the file.” Each donor is unique. Work to understand the various donors on your list as individual people, rather than as a single entity. Creating personas can be a useful way to do this.

9. Don’t forget to monitor the comments on Facebook ads! If you are running a Facebook advertising campaign, not only should you track ad performance, but also be sure to go in and hide any comments on the ads that are inappropriate or unhelpful for ad performance.

10. Avoid stock photos. Those images can quickly seem stale and inauthentic. Not every image needs to be high quality. For Facebook ads, even phone photos can work well.

11. Adopt a mobile-first approach for email. Take a look at what percentage of your emails are opened on mobile. If it is over 40%, consider designing your emails for mobile views instead of desktop. Specifically, think about your call out boxes, the length of your emails, and your landing page design on mobile. Consider testing a multi-page donation form.

12. Optimize Facebook ads for mobile. Most clicks on Facebook ads come from mobile. Write short, compelling copy that can be skimmed quickly. You’ll see more shares!

13. Tests can span multiple emails – and multiple campaigns. By running longer tests, you’ll get more meaningful results. This can be especially helpful if you have a small email file.

14. Track engagement! In most CRMs, you can create an engagement score for everyone on your email list. This will help you know who to email first, and also help you know who to email when you are trying to avoid sending a full file email.

15. Always keep the donor in the room when making decisions. Remember that real people are your audience, and be conscious of that when making decisions about both copy and design.

16. Vague visuals are okay! We tend to look for images that directly illustrate our message, which can be difficult to find and can be expensive. Luckily, they aren’t necessary – instead, use simple, emotionally affecting images to draw people in. 

17. Use all the information Facebook gives you! When a person interacts with your Facebook page, they're giving you access to a lot of valuable information. Go to some of your donors' Facebook pages and get a feel for who they are. This will keep you connected with your community of donors and can help your messaging resonate.

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