Earlier this month, I attended this year’s NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference with my colleagues Amy Padre and TJ Hillinger. We fanned out to cover as many presentations as we could, and pooled our notes for some interesting takeaways:
1. A sneak peek of the M+R eNonprofit Benchmarks showed a 13% open rate, a 0.18% unsubscribe rate, a 2% return rate on advocacy, and a 0.07% online fundraising response rate. This session’s presenters also mentioned that for many organizations email revenue is flat, but revenue from email lists is growing. They posited that this could be due to people reading their emails on mobile, but giving via web/generic URL or via search. This is an interesting thought and worth checking out for your organization. The full benchmark study will be released April 9.
2. Nonprofits are testing Facebook custom audiences and lookalike models, as well as email link cookie-based retargeting. These are interesting new ways to leverage ads to complement other marketing efforts and measure their impact on online and direct mail giving.
3. Testing session: bottom line – test wisely. A presenter/former ACS staffer said that even with a $20 million fundraising budget (and likely the quantities and resources that go along with such a large budget), she would only test two variables a year. She would choose two tests at the beginning of the year that they were curious about, test one repeatedly for the first half of the year, and test the other throughout the second half of the year.
4. Regarding holiday giving, it’s important for organizations to distinguish themselves from the crowd. But decide what the core sentiment of the holiday is and how it relates to your mission, instead of the “Hey, it’s a holiday, so give us money!” approach. You can consult a Cause Awareness Day Calendar here – so you can give your donors a more compelling reason to give on certain days.
5. There was a really insightful session on data visualization – with some great tips that we are already putting into practice for PowerPoints and other presentations. Tips to keep in mind include: make one point per slide; de-clutter slides so they’re easier to understand; use fewer words and numbers, and more images to tell your story – this last one makes your presentations more streamlined and easier to digest!
6. And finally, the new .NGO and .ONG domains will be released late summer 2014. Unlike .ORG, the new domains will only be available to NGOs, charities, and nonprofits – which will, for the first time, create an international database of verified NGOs in every country. The new domains will be released on a first come, first served basis, so to ensure that you get your first choice of the new domains, visit GlobalNGO.org now and fill out an expression of interest form.