Participate in a Marketing/Fundraising Experiment

Participate in an ExperimentIf you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll remember the “thank you” note experiment I did in 2008 and 2009. More recently, Marta Lindsey’s experiment on keeping all of the nonprofit direct mail she received for a year was also a big hit.

So, I started thinking, what if a bunch of us picked an experiment to try for 2011 and shared the results here on the blog over the course of the year?

Here are a few ideas . . . if you want to participate, leave a comment on this post, or send me an email letting me know what you plan to track. That way I can stay in touch with you so you can guest blog or otherwise share your results during the year.

The goal here isn’t to “catch” anyone doing anything (or not doing something), but rather to learn from how others are approaching our craft. I hope that together we’ll be able to point to some great examples of what nonprofits are doing right, as well as learn from those who could stand some improvements.

Option 1: Track Communications as a New Donor

Pick three nonprofits you’ve never donated to before, donate to them (either online or through the mail, your choice), then track all of the communications you get from them in the next year. How well do they communicate gratitude and results? Do they try to bring you up to speed on the issues, and get you more involved in their community?  How often and when do they ask for another donation?

For a twist, you might want to use a variation on the name you usually use (e.g. your middle name) and a new email address, so you can track whether your information is rented out to others.

Option 2: Track Communications as a Current Donor

Start paying more attention to the communications you get from the charities you already support. If you’ve donated to an organization for a couple of years or more, what kind of communications do you get from them? Do they feel the same as what a new donor might get, or can you tell the charity is segmenting you in some way (by length of support, or by project supported)?

Option 3: Track Communications as a Social Media Fan

Pick a few charities you haven’t supported previously (but genuinely care about) and become an active follower/fan/subscriber to all of the social media feeds you can find for the organization. Watch how well the charity engages with its social media fans, and whether and how they try to connect with you in more traditional (non-social media) ways (e.g. asking you to sign up for an email newsletter, download something from their website, or attend an in-person event, for example).

Option 4: Make Up Your Own!

Interested in tracking something else related to nonprofit marketing, communications, or fundraising? Go for it! Please explain in the comments in case someone else wants to try your experiment too.

Let’s see what we can learn together!



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