Friday, October 29, 2010

Digital stuff: keeping it simple

Recently I got really excited about some cool digital stuff I'd seen at a conference and alluded to some interesting projects we were working on.

Well, we're live with those projects as we speak.

One of them we've worked on is has been with the wonderful folks at WWF-Canada.

We're using a mixture of paid online search and email marketing to individuals who have some (non-financial) relationship with WWF.

If you visit the micro site here, you'll see we present people with two simple options - fill in a short survey or make a monthly gift (in fact for the 'tepid' people we're contacting they are presented with just one option, fill in a survey).

We're less than two weeks, and whilst I can't right now share results, what I will share is what is working really well, and a few key reasons why.

What's working is the survey.


- The call to action throughout all of the media is very, very clear. Share your view with WWF, tell us what you think about environmental issues.

- It's simple. It takes less than 3 minutes to complete. The questions are easy to understand, and even easier to fill in. No barriers.

- There are no distractions. Remember the Ikea theory I talked about? In other words, keeping the website focused, keep people in one spot. Don't make it easy to get out. Much like a visit to Ikea.

- The language throughout is warm, endearing and inviting. People feel like they want to share.

- The site is clean. Easy on the eyes.

- We're asking people to do something really easy. Something small. And we've provided an incentive to do so.

The key overall is signing up new monthly donors. You'll notice we do have the option to sign up immediately on the site, but we know this is a tough sell. So we're in the main focused on survey completion.

Then it's all about the conversion process (phone and email) afterwards. Watch this space for more on that later.

Just remember, simplicity works. The mechanics and the back end may be complicated, but the key to getting people to 'do something', regardless of the channel, is make it so bloody easy they can't help but do what you're asking them to do.


Thursday, October 21, 2010


This is an acronym we use quite a lot in the office.

It isn't that hard to work out its meaning. I'll give you a clue. A rather well known sporting brand coined the term 'Just Do It'.

We simply added another word. Finish (ahem).

You get the drift.

Whilst I'd like to claim I always have a JFDI attitude, it's been my experience that whenever we really put our foot to the floor, on all cylinders - despite the pain, results follow.

Some of the most effective and successful campaigns I've been involved in have happened in the shortest time, with the least time for "planning".

12 weeks campaigns condensed into 7. Responding to emergencies in less than 24 hours. Turning a new idea into a live campaign in a month, when conventional wisdom says it should take 10 weeks.

One specific fundraising project I worked on trebled net income from the previous year, done in a month less than it would 'typically' take. Frankly, we didn't have that extra month.

Doing this usually means blood, sweat and often quite literally, tears. I was reminded of this in the last few days as we went live for one of the most exciting projects I've worked on. Exciting, yes. The cause of upheaval? Most definitely.

It's early days but I'm confident this particular campaign will be a 'stormer'.

Why is it that just getting it done so often really is the best way forward?

I think for two reasons:

1 There is no time to second guess yourself. You back your initial instincts and plough ahead

2 "Planning" time becomes doing time, and there is something to be said for working to a strict deadline. We're humans, we love deadlines (hence why they work so well in direct response).

I'm not suggesting every project you work on should be on a whim, involve staff meltdowns and escalating blood pressure, but in the right environment JFDI can be the way to go.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Silence is deafening

But whilst I haven't had anything to say here for a little while, I've managed to contribute some thoughts over at the blogs of some colleagues.

Phyllis Freedman asked me to share my 20 cents worth on the lack of planned giving innovation in our sector. Here's my take.

John Suart asked me to share my views on what's right when it comes to spending money on marketing/fundraising. Here's my take.

Thanks Phyllis and John for broaching such provoking, yet necessary topics for us as fundraisers. Helping us continue to raise the bar.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Ikea and charity websites

What should they share in common? No, it's not that they give guys (including me) cold sweats and a nauseous feeling. That's just Ikea.

Incredibly focused. Corridors. Hard to get out.

It's easy to get caught up in aesthetics and design when redeveloping your site. It isn't rocket science. Up to date news and stories, easy to navigate, not cluttered, coherent explanation of what you do, use of imagery and video.

Again, make it hard to get out. Keep me in there. Make it clear what you want me to do. You can take me off in another direction, but keep coming back to the same spot.

Remember the corridor. Remember Ikea.