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Now what? Measuring success to prepare for next year

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Now what? Measuring success to prepare for next year Happy #GivingTuesday! As your organization finishes the final sprint, we’re here to help you think about your successes and the places you can build and improve upon to make next year even better.   You can’t know how to improve if you don’t measure your actions – something we’ve talked about on #GivingTuesday University before. Reading analytics can be a bit overwhelming, but we’ve covered the three areas you should be paying attention to:   Google Analytics: Make sure to sign up for Google Analytics to measure how your website is performing. This is particularly important if you’ve implemented a landing page to encourage donations for #GivingTuesday. Make sure users are staying on your site and engaging with content, whether that be written, visual, or a donation ask. Google Analytics Resources: Tech Tips: Using Google Analytics Goals and Funnels on EchoDitto An Overview of Google for Nonprofits on EchoDitto An Intro to Google Analytics on Leap Marketing   Email analytics: Now that you’ve crafted and sent lots of interesting, beautiful emails, it’s time to see if the time you put into them paid off. You’ll need to access reports from the backend of your email client. Here are key metrics to pay attention to: open rate, bounce rate, click through rate, conversions, and unsubscribe rate. More on email analytics: 8 Metrics to Measure the Success of Your Email Marketing on Jumplead Email Marketing: Metrics and How to Read Them on PACE   Social media metrics: Social media metrics are a bit trickier and more expensive to track. In-depth analysis and listening, particularly on Twitter, costs a premium and most metrics can only be accessed via services like Radian6 and Meltwater. Facebook, however, offers a host of free page insights you should be watching. More on social media metrics: An Introduction to Facebook’s New Page Insights on Search Engine Watch Social Media ROI: 11 FREE Tools for Measuring Social Media Success on Search Engine Watch 6 Critically Undervalued Social Media Success Metrics on Convince & Convert  Image credit imagecreationzs via FreeDigitalPhotos.net   Read More
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What We’re Reading: Digital Wisdom Edition

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What We’re Reading: Digital Wisdom Edition Like the #GivingTuesday University Facebook page to keep up with all of our posts and find other practical resources to help your organization achieve success on #GivingTuesday. We’re so grateful to all of you who have come to #GivingTuesday University over the last month and a half and read and shared content on everything from emails to branding to landing pages and everything in between. Of course, there is an immeasurable amount of brilliant content covering these areas all over the web. As you move past #GivingTuesday and start thinking about your digital strategy for the coming year, check out these blogs we love: · Hubspot · CopyBlogger · Unbounce · Vertical Response · Beth Kanter · EchoDitto · B2B Inbound · Convince&Convert · MailChimp · Constant Contact · Salsa Labs Image credit renjith krishnan via FreeDigitalPhotos.net Read More
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Punch up your email copy in three easy steps

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Punch up your email copy in three easy steps Like the #GivingTuesday University Facebook page to keep up with all of our posts and find other practical resources to help your organization achieve success on #GivingTuesday. Learning to write better copy is one of the best ways you can improve engagement with your audience, whether that be through social media posts, emails, or webpage copy. When your audience members are online literally millions of things are fighting for their attention. If what you’re saying isn’t interesting, they’ll move along to something else. Here are three ways you can punch up your email copy to grab and keep the attention of your readers: Personalize your messages: Though it’s not always possible or practical, segmenting your messages can result in much higher email open rates – 39% higher , according to Hubspot and eMarketer. If you’re asking for a donation, you probably don’t want to send the same message to high-dollar donors as you send to those who have never made a gift. Keep it short and sweet: Avoid so-called walls of text at all costs. Email messages should generally be no more than two or three paragraphs and should get to the point quickly. It should be clear to the reader by the end of the first paragraph what you’re asking of them and why. Answer these questions: From the Vertical Response blog – keep these important questions in the back of your mind as you’re writing your copy: What am I selling (at emotional level)? To whom am I selling? Why am I selling this now (will it make sense to the customer)? What do I want my reader to do (Calls to Action)? Image credit Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net Read More
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The Four Things You Need to be Doing to Drive Social Media Engagement

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The Four Things You Need to be Doing to Drive Social Media Engagement Like the #GivingTuesday University Facebook page to keep up with all of our posts and find other practical resources to help your organization achieve success on #GivingTuesday. Everyone wants to know the secret to getting lots of likes, comments, follows, and retweets on their social networks. If there were a silver bullet solution, I’d be a much richer woman! But there are steps you can take find the right engagement formula for your individual audience: See what sticks: Every audience is a little bit different. An organization whose audience is composed mainly of Baby Boomers is going to have different needs and wants than an audience of Millennial college students. Don’t be afraid to throw a lot of content at the wall and see what sticks. You’ll need to do some experimentation to find out what your audience responds to best. Be polite: Etiquette is just as important online as it is offline. Retweet your followers when appropriate, respond to questions and comments in a timely fashion, and generally show appreciation for the time your audience members take to engage with your organization. Everybody likes getting love on social media. Use multimedia content: You don’t need to go out and shoot pricey video or hire a photographer to share images and video on your social channels. Posts that include imagery of some kind receive 39% more engagement than plain text posts. Free online programs like PicMonkey make it easy for anyone (even those of us with sub-par Photoshop skills!) to edit pictures. Have fun! Staying professional and on-message doesn’t mean you need to keep tweets boring and dry. Find an amiable voice for your organization to speak with and try to insert some humor and fun into your posts. Remember, you’re organization is competing with the posts of friends, family members, comedians, thought leaders, and other favorite brands and organizations in your followers’ feeds for attention. Image credit basketman via FreeDigitalPhotos.net Read More
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An Upworthy-tacular Strategy for Writing Subject Lines that Convert

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An Upworthy-tacular Strategy for Writing Subject Lines that Convert Be sure to like #GivingTuesday University on Facebook to keep up with all of our posts and resources to help you plan a successful #GivingTuesday strategy. By now, it’s a near certainty that you’ve heard of Upworthy , an explosively popular viral hits machine focused on spotlighting a variety of social good issues. Upworthy’s magic stems not just from their progressive content or robust social presence, but from an uncanny ability to write really, really good headlines that all but force you to click through to view the content being teased. Last year, Upworthy released a great slideshow presentation highlighting their strategies – strategies that are very useful when concocting your own headlines and subject lines. You can view the whole slideshow and check out four key tips for improving your copywriting, Upworthy style: Nobody knows everything: As we learned from Amelia last week, it’s important to recognize that it’s near impossible to predict exactly what is going to be wildly popular on any given day. This is why it’s so important to test different options and carefully review your analytics to figure out just what resonates with your audience. Make people curious: Don’t give everything away in a subject line or headline; make people interested enough that they want to click through to find out more. For example, the viral video of Zach Wahls speaking about his lesbian mothers received only about one million hits on YouTube with the title, “Zach Wahls Speaks About Family”, but MoveOn.org’s headline “Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got” resulted in about 17 million views. Write 25 Headlines: Curators at Upworthy are required to write 25 headlines and then pick the best one, their logic being that eventually they’ll come up with something great. This strategy is easily applicable to writing subject lines as well. Test, test, test! To get better at writing for your audience, you need to know what your audience likes best. And you’ll never know what they like best if you aren’t testing. Try some A/B testing in your emails and on your landing pages to see what your audience responds to best. Read More
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Conquering Digital: Four Steps

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Conquering Digital: Four Steps The following is a post from Jill Nagle , a manager in Bridgespan's New York office specializing in philanthropy advising.  Here are four points that have stood out to me as I’ve learned more about what makes a great #GivingTuesday: 1.    Email is still king: While many organizations emphasize success based on web traffic, likes, and followers, the engine of fundraising and engagement is email. As I learned from Nicco Mele, co-founder of EchoDitto and all-around digital expert, email provides organizations a way to connect more personally with their audiences. Think about it this way – a person’s inbox is a place where they spend a lot of time, a place where they receive personal and important information. Be sure that when your organization sends messages, they’re well-tailored to recipients and provide meaningful content.   2.    You can probably send more email:. Many nonprofit organizations I work with send emails only a few times each month, but as multiple organizations begin their own end-of-year email fundraising asks, it’s important to be sure your organization’s messages are being seen.  Amelia Showalter, Director of Digital Analytics on President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, explains that when the campaign increased the amount of email they were sending – even by six to eight additional messages each week, their unsubscribe rate remained constant 3.    Personality is priceless: If you were on the Obama campaign’s email list in 2012, there is little doubt you received multiple messages with the subject line “Hey.” This line – with its unexpected casualness – proved to be a powerful call out. Shed the formal or informative language and titles in favor of standout lines that help you connect directly with your audience. 4.    Social media doesn’t raise money (yet), but does build connection: Fundraising takes considerable time and resources, so make sure you’re getting the biggest impact possible. As of right now, fundraising on social media has not proven to be very successful; you’re better off focusing your resources on creating great, high-impact email asks that work for your unique audience. If you are interested in testing the waters of social media fundraising, Beth Kanter has an informative article on her personal learnings. Social media is a great way to build a stronger and more personalized connection with your audience. For example, Water.org shares beautiful pictures of its well sites on Instagram and Twitter , allowing donors to see where their money is going and how it’s positively impacting communities. Image credit Master isolated images via FreeDigitalPhotos.net   Read More
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It’s not (always) about the money: Developing the Ask

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It’s not (always) about the money: Developing the Ask The following is a post by Amy Yellin of The Family Dinner Project When we first started brainstorming our Giving Tuesday ideas, we weren’t sure about what to do with the fundraising piece. Our initial reflex was, well, how much should we ask for? $10 per family? Should we also provide other asks, like funding for a community dinner? Or should we ask families to sign up for our program Food, Fun and Conversation: 4 Weeks to Better Dinner? Should we give them lots of options, a few, or just one? The Family Dinner Project is a small but growing grassroots movement that champions family dinner as an opportunity for family members to connect with each other through food, fun and conversation about things that matter. A young organization, we first needed to demonstrate that we could help families, as well as organizations working closely with families, to make our mission a reality. Our success in this area is evident in the stories from families who say that The Family Dinner Project has helped change not just their dinners, but also their lives and relationships. In the process of this work, we also attracted the attention of partners and media, but without any deliberate marketing efforts. And, we don’t actually have an official fundraising arm or online technology to go with it yet. Without anyone or any system to oversee the donations coming in, the idea of launching a large fundraising campaign felt unrealistic and also misaligned with our short-term goals. The Giving Tuesday consultants were very helpful in directing us back to our own goals and messaging, and synching those goals and messages up with our Giving Tuesday efforts. Through discussions, webinars and other resources, we narrowed down our primary goal for Giving Tuesday as raising awareness about The Family Dinner Project and what we offer, measured via number of new emails, new followers and likes on social media.  We also developed a message that is very close to our mission by focusing our main ask around meaningful conversation. Even families who have all but lost touch with the family dinner tradition sit down together on Thanksgiving, and many go around the table and say why they’re thankful. So this year, we’re asking families to start a conversation about how they might give back on Giving Tuesday and beyond—not just money, but also time and simple gifts of kindness. Ultimately, we want to spark a national conversation, occurring at tables across the country—a conversation that not only helps The Family Dinner Project “break out” onto a broader stage, but also helps more families connect to the real meaning of Giving Tuesday. And we’re helping families have this conversation by providing online tips and tools all about giving , just as we help families with food, fun and conversation about things that matter every other day of the year. In partnership with Giving Tuesday, we hope to inspire more families to make both giving and the family dinner year-round traditions. You can join us by: Having a conversation about giving and #Giving Tuesday at your table this year. Visit The Family Dinner Project Giving Tuesday page for our tips, tools and inspiration . Spreading the word. Follow us on Facebook , Pinterest or Twitter and share our resources with others. Letting us know how it goes! We’d love to hear how your conversation and your #Giving Tuesday went! Please share your experience on our Facebook page . Image credit Edsel L via Flickr Read More
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A/B testing your way to digital success

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A/B testing your way to digital success It’s easy to get stressed out over creating great emails that convert your list members into donors and evangelists for your cause. Should your subject line be informative or funny? Should messages be short and sweet or detail-oriented? It’s likely whatever platform you’re using to send email allows you to A/B test your messages and measure what performs the best – and it’s a function you should be taking advantage of. If there’s any organization that knows a thing or two about sending email, it’s the Obama campaign. And today, Amelia Showalter , Director of Digital Analytics on President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, shares with us her three lessons from the campaign when it comes to testing and digital strategy: 1. Don’t trust your gut: Even the professionals can’t get it right all (or even most) of the time. Conventional wisdom and gut feelings can often fail. When it came to testing subject lines, members of the campaign’s digital team found they could not predict with any degree of accuracy which of several tested messages would win. This just goes to show how critically important testing is. 2. Foster a culture of testing: Get everyone on your team invested in testing. In a culture where you test at every opportunity, questions are answered empirically whenever possible. Then, share the results of your testing. Which subject line performed best? What were the open rates? This gets buy-in from everyone in the organization and generates new discussion and questions about testing. Don’t compare your results to industry benchmarks or your competitors. It’s most important to measure against yourself. Are you using what you learned through testing to improve your messages? Are you doing better than last month? Are you doing better than you would have without testing? These are the important questions to consider. 3. Invest in your team: Very few organizations have the resources to create a digital team like the Obama campaign did. But if you are thinking about creating or expanding your digital team, select smart, diverse talent and look for people with excellent quantitative skills.  Image credit Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net Read More