Posted by Bryan on October 23, 2012
Network For Good has announced that this Wednesday, October 24th, is its inaugural ‘Be Your Donor Day‘ – when they’re hoping to inspire nonprofits to set aside time to put themselves in their donors’ shoes and test the experience being provided for them. Whether it’s calling your main office phone line to see what they make of new donor questions, or enduring the trial by tick box that far too many online donation experiences turn into, it’s an opportunity to highlight any problems in time to get them sorted before the peak time for donations over Christmas.
Given how much effort and budget is invested in getting people to visit donation pages, I’m amazed by how many organisations still focus minimal effort on ensuring their donation process is as simple as possible for the potential donors who reach them. This explains why 47% of potential online donors in the UK apparently give-up before making a donation because the website journey is not intuitive or engaging.
In the light of this, ‘Be Your Donor Day’ is a great way of bringing the real donor experience to the fore and identifying both quick fixes and areas that might require further thought and investment across all of your donor touchpoints.
In support of the day, Network For Good has created a range of resources including a Be Your Donor Day Checklist, and a simple guide to website donation process testing.
Go on. Give yourself some time to see how it feels from your potential donors’ point of view. It needn’t take-up much of your day, and if you can rope-in some colleagues then you can share the testing around. I have no doubt at all that you’ll discover something that you can fix to help improve your donors’ experience – and your fundraising results.
Don’t forget to test your website on different browsers (not everyone runs the old version of Internet Explorer that your IT department forces you to) and different devices (get those smartphones and tablets out) – and also test-out the donation journeys for any SMS shortcodes you might have live.
Rest assured – whatever issues you discover, it won’t be as bad as the customer experience in the great Google video above! (Or will it?)
Posted in Online fundraising, SMS, Web design | Tagged: Be Your Donor Day, Bryan Miller, nptech, Online fundraising | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on December 1, 2009
It’s often the way with things like Twitter that you tend mostly to hear stories about how well people are using them. Which can leave you with something of an inferiority complex about the fact that you haven’t actually had time to begin testing them properly – because you’ve been too busy raising money.
With this in mind, it’s worth taking a quick look at a free report just released by PR Agency Webber Shandwick entitled ‘Do Fortune 100 Companies Need a twittervention?’ – because their research revealed that as much can be learned from what big US companies are doing wrong as from what they are doing right when it comes to Twitter use.
Apparently 73 of the Fortune 100 companies are on Twitter, with 540 Twitter accounts between them. However, half of these accounts have fewer than 500 followers, three-quarters rarely ever tweet, and 81 are inactive – either abandoned after a specific event or simply placeholder accounts protecting against brand-jacking.
The report goes on to consider whether the accounts convey any form of personality or particular tone of voice – with over half registering a FAIL on this. It also examines how the accounts are being used, and then offers a summary of best practice – comprising advice which is as relevant for non-profits considering adding Twitter to their online communications programme as it is for big corporates.
Overall, the report concludes that for the majority of Fortune 100 companies Twitter remains a missed opportunity – which will hopefully make any fundraisers with a Twitter inferiority complex feel just a bit better that they’re not so far behind as they might have thought.
There is no doubt that Twitter can form an effective part of your online programme. But its use has matured extremely quickly and with this have come certain specific expectations on the behalf of Twitter users – which can only be met if you understand and follow best practice when you’re using it.
It’s no longer sufficient just to get your organisation a Twitter account and then play about and see what happens. At best that’s likely just to be a waste of your time and at worst could have a negative impact on your brand in the eyes of those online consumers you’re looking to engage with. Over the last couple of years there have been masses of different reports written on what to do and what not to do – so start by learning from other people’s successes, and failures, and then you’ll be in a far better position to capitalise on whatever Twitter-based opportunities might be out there for you.
For more specific guidance on using Twitter for non-profits, here are a couple of guides to start you off:
If anyone has other non-profit specific Twitter guides that they would recommend, then do share details of them by leaving a comment below.
Posted in Blogging, Online advocacy, Online Campaigning, Online fundraising, Twitter | Tagged: Bryan Miller, nptech, Online fundraising, Twitter | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on November 23, 2009
The Twitter feeds are starting to run hot with requests for Followers to vote for the various sites nominated for the 2009 People’s Choice Website of the Year Awards, with the full line-up of shortlisted nonprofits looking like this:
2009 markes the sixth time these awards have been organised by online research agency MetrixLab and they are apparently the “largest annual ‘people’s choice’ website awards” around, with members of the public ranking the sites based on ‘design’, ‘navigation’, and ‘content’.
Awards aside, it’s also interesting from a general online engagement perspective to browse the shortlisted sites to see just what the different organisations are doing to make their websites especially attractive to online consumers.
Unfortunately, what is most striking is that so many of the landing pages deluge you with so much information and so many calls to action that you end-up with an engagement opportunity overload likely to lead to option paralysis for all but the most focused visitor. I’m not going to name and shame the worst offenders – as I’m sure you’ll spot them if you have a browse.
However, there are some noteable exceptions. British Heart Foundation goes for a cleaner approach, with clear integration with its current advertising campaign and iPhone-like buttons for “quick links”. Likewise, WWF’s homepage goes for simple clarity from the outset – with a wonderfully striking close-up of a Tiger staring out at me and then two columns entitled “We do…” and “You can…”, alongside four clear engagement buttons.
Greenpeace’s blog-style landing page with calls to action in the sidebar also works for me, helping me focus on the key things they want to tell me about the UN Climate Summit (including a great embedded YouTube video) while still making clear the range of personal responses I can make.
Voting in the awards is open until 8th December and the winners will be announced on 15th December.
Posted in Online advocacy, Online Campaigning, Online fundraising, Web design | Tagged: Bryan Miller, nptech, Online fundraising, Website of the Year Awards | 5 Comments »
Posted by Bryan on June 10, 2009
Last week saw the launch of The List of Change, a new ranking of the top English-language change and cause-related blogs – providing a very handy way to find some new sources of news and information of interest to nonprofit marketers and fundraisers.
The ranking is based on each blog’s Technorati Rank, Technorati In-Links, Bloglines Subscribers, Alexa Points, Google PageRank, and Yahoo In-Links, which are combined to give a score out of 100.
Currently the top score of 95 goes to Beths Blog, while at the opposite end of the 127 blog list is The Changebase. Right now this blog – Giving in a Digital World – is hovering mid-table at 66, but things change daily as the various components of the ranking change.
Take a look at the latest full ranking here – and you’re sure to find something of interest amongst the diverse range of blogs listed.
Posted in Blogging, Fundraising | Tagged: Bryan Miller, List of Change, nonprofit, nptech, Online fundraising | 2 Comments »
Posted by Bryan on May 14, 2009
It’s been an interesting three days this week, with the first ever IFC Online eConference taking place – bringing together an estimated 500+ attendees from 42 countries world-wide, through an entirely online conference.
Unlike traditional ‘real world’ conferences, it’s tricky to be sure just how many people are ‘attending’ an online conference. The IFC Online organisers at The Resource Alliance tell me that 387 ‘sites’ signed-up for the event, but the number of individuals at each ‘site’ who watch the sessions can vary massively – from one individual to, in this case, a group of more than 70 people who gathered together in Jerusalem to attend. So, I’m not sure exactly how many people attended the two sessions I presented, but I did spot around 160 ‘sites’ logged-on in places ranging from the US and Latin America, right across Europe, to Singapore, Korea, and Australia – which made for a good crowd.
If you’ve never attended a big web-based conference like this, and it was my first time – both as an attendee and a speaker, then the screengrab above will give you a bit of a feel for how it works. Presenters speak over VoIP and use Powerpoint presentations just as if they were in a convention centre with people infront of them, and throughout the session people can ask questions and make comments by typing into the Chat/Q&A box. Must admit, when I kicked-off my session it felt a bit odd sitting all alone talking to my Mac – but once the questions started coming-in onscreen the whole thing came to life and it was great fun.
Some really interesting speakers too, including Scott Goodstein, External Online Director for Obama for America, and Premal Shah, President of Kiva. And what was particularly handy is that all sessions are recorded, so attendees can catch-up on any they missed or re-watch any session they found especially useful. (Except for Scott Goodstein’s session, apparently – which is a pain, as I missed that one myself).
So, all-in all, a very interesting and, by the looks of it, successful event – and a great extension to the Resource Alliance’s annual ‘real world’ International Fundraising Congress held each October in Holland.
One other thing that struck me was just how much more Twitter activity was going-on amongst the attendees at this event than at the main IFC just last October – when there were a lone two folks Tweeting for all they were worth. This time, there was a pretty constant stream of Twitter commentary coming through under #ifconline – and even a degree of consternation when Twitter went down for maintenance right in the middle of a session yesterday evening (London time).
Posted in Fundraising, Online fundraising, Twitter | Tagged: Bryan Miller, IFC, IFC Online, Kiva, nptech, Online community fundraising, Online fundraising, Twitter | 1 Comment »
Posted by Bryan on March 13, 2009
Today is apparently the 20th birthday of the World Wide Web! So, why not celebrate this great day by taking a little time to stretch your thinking about the Web just a bit.
Go on, make yourself a cup of tea, relax… and watch the great TED video above, in which Tim Berners-Lee explains how he invented the World Wide Web – and sheds some light on how he believes his brainchild will evolve in the future.
In this short talk, Berners-Lee explains how the World Wide Web all began because he wanted to refine the way we use information and work together – and, apparently, because his boss humoured him and agreed that he could spend time on it on the side as a “play project”. All bosses with bright staff – take note!.
It goes without saying that this particular play project ended-up revolutionising our lives through the way the Web links documents together online.
But this is just the beginning. The future, Berners-Lee explains, will comprise evolving from the current ‘linked documents’ approach to a ‘linked data’ approach. This is the next revolution. Releasing, repurposing, and re-using the infinite wealth of data we collate – from medical research databases to data on relationships held on social networking sites – by linking it up in previously unconsidered ways to support previously unachievable applications.
This revolution has already started, with the ever increasing number of of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) being launched – from Facebook to Kiva – which enable the data traditionally held within websites to be accessed, combined with data from other sources, and re-purposed in an infinite number of new ways (such as Google Maps mash-ups).
It might take a second, stronger, cup of tea – perhaps with sugar – for you to start to consider what this means for your own Web activity. Could you release the information you currently only share through ‘documents’ on your website for others to use and share on your behalf? What implications will this mean for your future web architecture and implementations? And what benefits might this bring, given the challenges of marketing within today’s highly savvy and highly connected networked society?
Posted in Web 2.0 | Tagged: Bryan Miller, Kiva API, linked data, mash-up, nptech, Online fundraising | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on March 8, 2009
Just a few weeks behind the originally planned launch date (which is pretty impressive for a development of this complexity) the online fundraising site formerly known as Play it Forward and now renamed Pifworld went live over the weekend.
I’ve been watching the development of Pifworld with interest over the last few months, for a couple of reasons. Partly because it is the latest of a number of innovative online community fundraising developments to recently come from the Netherlands, where the whole concept of online community fundraising has really taken off over the last 18 months or so. But also because pre-launch announcements suggested that Pifworld would offer a very different online user experience to that of established charity project crowdfunding sites like Kiva and Globalgiving – and indeed it does.
At the outset, in addition to the usual project search functionality we’re used to seeing, Pifworld’s project inventory is displayed on an interactive globe (shown above) that you can spin and zoom to see what they have available in any particular area of the world you might be interested in. All within a main screen that also displays latest funding and supporter data. This might sound like an unnecessary novelty, but actually works really well and is a fun and engaging way to see what’s going-on.
Then, when you find a project that looks like it might be of interest, in place of the traditional text and photo-based project funding request, Pifworld projects are promoted through neat little video interviews with key project staff who explain the project aims, activities, and needs – like the woman below explaining her project in India.
Now, other fundraising sites have certainly used video in places to help illustrate project activities. But I’m not aware of any which have taken the next natural step of replacing text and photo project reviews (which are often little more than on-screen versions of good old direct mail leaflets) with a far more authentic and engaging video presentation. Pifworld project updates are also video-based, so you can really see (and hear) what the team have been doing with your donation.
Unfortunately at this stage, once you’ve found the project you’re interested in, the user experience slips a bit – as the online donation process seems a bit more complex than usual. Donations are made from a Pifworld ‘wallet’ which you first have to upload 5 Euro ‘credits’ to. This can be done from vouchers or using most major credit cards (at an added transaction cost of around 1 Euro) but the overall process feels a lot less streamlined than I’ve experienced on other sites. Also the confirmation email doesn’t arrive immediately (I’m still waiting for mine). For all that I love other aspects of the site, I think this payment process could do with another look – given that it’s fundamentally what the whole site is about. It wouldn’t be the first time that an apparently very engaging online fundraising site failed to maximise income simply because insufficient thought had been given to the back-office functionality. Hopefully the Pifworld team will be watching their site analytics to ensure that people are completing their transactions and will fix this if not.
Beyond this, another very nice feature is the way that project advocacy has been built into Pifworld, with people encouraged not only to become Supporters but also Ambassadors for their chosen projects – with blogging facilities provided to help Ambassadors mobilise their personal online networks. There is also email promotional functionality and project details can be shared as an Open Social widget (although only by copying the widget URL and not through a simple pushbutton which is becoming the norm elsewhere).
So all-in-all, a fun and engaging site that will hopefully prove attractive to potential online donors of all ages – with a few wrinkles to iron-out over the coming months. Definitely a site to keep an eye-on.
Meantime, if you’re interested in what else is happening in online community fundraising in the Netherlands, then it’s worth taking a look at 1procentclub.nl and geefsamen.nl (thanks to Victor for those). As well as the latest implementation of the YoCo fundraising platform from my old colleagues at WWAV Holland, which has raised almost 1 million Euros in sponsorship donations for cancer charity KWF Kankerbestrijding’s Alpe d’HuZes cycling challenge just a couple of months after going live.
Posted in crowdfunding, Online advocacy, Online fundraising | Tagged: Community Fundraising 2.0, crowdfunding, GlobalGiving, Kiva, Netherlands, nptech, Online community fundraising, Online fundraising, Pifworld, Play It Forward, WWAV, YoCo | 2 Comments »