Spire’s Ayla Peacock, Director of Digital Strategy, Dave Maren, SVP of Strategy, and partner, Gryyt, presented on a webinar about digital marketing and tech best practices for the nonprofit industry. You can view the webinar below.
Digital Marketing & Tech for Nonprofits
With conflicting departmental priorities and shoestring budgets, nonprofits accomplish incredible digital feat. But, the effort made online by nonprofits is measured against that of enterprise organizations that utilize different resources.
B2B enterprise organizations use web and digital media to generate leads and revenue, so the extra effort is easily justified by returns. Nonprofits must shift their thinking, often missing the mark to generate funds, volunteers, or membership online. Here’s how.
In this webinar we’ll discuss:
- Digital analytics and conversion rate
- Attribution and integration of marketing channels
- Web best practice
- Digital media as a business tool
Gryyt: Working more in depth with nonprofits was I saw like $10,000 a month being spent. And then I would see like an 80 to 90% bounce rate on the site and the nonprofit not getting the conversions that they’re looking for. So that might be, you know, Dave, you might want to just take a moment to kind of talk about web design and web optimization and why that’s really important because you can increase qualified traffic, but if it’s all bouncing, it’s kind of like a, you know, it really isn’t a big, big a game changer.
Dave: Yeah. Our general approach is to make sure that, you know, the site that you’re sending traffic to is as good as it can be before you really start sending traffic to it. Otherwise you’re just wasting money, even if it’s free money.
Ayla: Or effort. I mean, and a lot of this, I’ll get, I’ll get to this later in this slide deck, but a lot of this is, is based in best practice. Little things that make a big difference when you’re trying to convert users. And I think it’s one place where nonprofits missed the mark. One way to think about it is in the digital world, even if you’re, you’re given grace in other places, it’s an even playing field. So you’re up against people who are running tests constantly and optimizing websites constantly be it a B to B website or a nonprofit website. And truly it should be a tool like your website should be a tool that’s generating donations, volunteers, whatever it is. And until we shift thinking and start thinking about a website as a tool for conversion and then ultimately revenue or donations we’re, we’ll continue to, to spend effort in dollars in a way that sort of mute.
Gryyt: Yes, absolutely. And Kelly, I see your question. I’m actually going to hold off on answering that until we get down to slide five cause I think it’ll actually part of it will answer your question and we can get to that. But yes, absolutely agree. Ayla and Dave a couple of other things on the Google grant. Just to just to make everybody aware. So it’s, it’s $10,000 a month. There is, you do have to have a 5% click through rate. So you do have to, you have to, you know, it’s, it’s not just about spending as much money as you can. It’s about spending the money and having traffic come to the website and actually click through and interact with the website. So it’s really important just, just as a strategy. So what’s happened over the last couple of years, there’s been a couple things, right?
Gryyt: So people started getting Google grants and they would go in and because it’s run on the Google ad platform Google makes all these suggestions in terms of bids that you could do in keywords that you could, you could go after. But what they found was people were kind of going in and just clicking all those buttons and going after keywords that really weren’t relevant. And there was, there was a low click through rate and at a bad user experience. So Google put in place their 5% click through where you have to keep that conversion metric. And then you also have to you also have to have goals. You need to have goal conversions going with your Google analytics. So for any of any non, any of you guys that are not using Google analytics first and foremost, you gotta do you gotta do that.
Gryyt: Google analytics obviously is another fantastic Google tool that they give away for free and that will tell you the sources of your traffic. So social media you know, goo you know, Facebook you know, Google ads, direct traffic, things like that. But it’ll also tell you if people are filling out your email newsletter, clicking on your social media how many, if they’re staying three minutes, if they’re giving, they can, you can even do it where like you can see if they’re giving donations and things like that. So Google and the Google grants an amazing tool, but it definitely needs to be backed up with Google analytics. And I, I don’t know Ayla or Dave if you have anything on the analytics there you want to touch on. But I know you guys are obviously deep into that too.
Dave: Yeah, we use Google analytics for sure. And then we also bring it to life with whatever mouse tracking software that the client might already be using or one that we’ll bring into the picture. Ayla really specializes in tracking you know, setting up that software. What’s your favorite hot jar? Mouseflow?
Ayla: So what we’ll do is we’ll look at analytics and some people ask me like, what do I do when I’m staring at all these crazy numbers on analytics? Like what am I looking for, where do I start? And my advice there is really just to look for the, the weird stuff. Like if there’s anything unusual, try to pick out that needle in the haystack. So there isn’t a certain flow I use. I just, I go kind of looking for something odd, whether it’s good, odd or bad odd. So, Hey, traffic spiked on this day. Why might that be? Did we send out a, an email campaign? Did we start a Google grant ad words situation? Did we have an event like, and I try to work backwards from the anomaly and then we overlay that with heat mapping and mouse tracking. So we can literally see on a website using this tool called Hotjar where, where mice or mouses, I never know which one, just say where they’re going. And it’s really creepy. You can, you can walk someone, use your website. So that information paired with Google analytics becomes really powerful when we’re talking about conversion optimization because you’ll start to notice where people are having trouble on the website. And you might even see that they go to the forum to make a donation and they get hung up because there are so many form fields. Well that tells us let’s reduce number of form fields and help get more donations through the website because in that sense we’re leaving money on the table.
Gryyt: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s a really good point. There’s, there’s nothing, there’s nothing worse than driving qualified traffic that goes to like a page. For someone to volunteer or to donate and then they leave without actually completing it. So all of these analytics tools that we’re talking about are things that you can use to really figure out and hone that in. And it’s, it’s really is, you know, it doesn’t, you don’t, I think the really important thing to think about is you don’t have to do all of this in one day or one month, but there are just things that you want to write down and like they’re just, you know, you kinda tackle them bit by bit, but you’ll, if you do it over a, you know, three or four months period, you’re gonna wake up one day and you’re going to like, wow, this is like, I’ve increased my traffic by 40%, and my bounce rate’s gone down down by 30%.
Gryyt: And that type of aggregate optimization is really, really powerful in terms of, you know, people interacting with your website. And, and these tools are a lot of these tools are available to nonprofits at very, very steep discounts. And there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of help out there for nonprofits too. So that’s always something cool to think about. Cool. I think Ayla the next side is just add anatomy. Does anybody have any questions on the grant or anything that we’ve talked about so far before we move on? I want to jump into live chat.
Gryyt: Cool. All right. So this is just an example of an actual an ad. I think Ayla’s already touched on the point that the good and the bad thing about the internet is that everything’s trackable. So definitely always remember that. But we can use that to our advantage. You know what, you know, the thing that I like to say that Google is always like the most important thing to think about in terms of Google as well, Google really cares about is relevance, right? Like they, Google’s made a social contract with you whether you know it or not that you, they will provide for you that the most relevant search. You know, this research experience possible. And in turn you won’t mind them knowing everything about you and you know, mining your data and on being like the best resource that you could ever have.
Dave: Right? If you’ve ever wondered whether or not that’s worth it or not, just do incognito browsing for about an hour and see how much you like your life experience. And it’s not very much fun. But you know, Google makes their $90 billion a year off of ads. That’s the primary place that they make all their money. So that’s why this is such a powerful tool is because this is, you know, this is, this is where when people are searching for something, this is where they’re going and using this Google grant gives you the opportunity to be at the top of the page. So yeah, so it’s, you know, we’re, what we’re trying to do here with ad anatomy is we’re trying to send the right people to the right page. And you know, this, it gives us the opportunity to appear on the front page of Google.
Gryyt: If we were doing that from an SEO standpoint or organic standpoint, it could take months. It could take years, you know, for something that’s really competitive. Like we might, we might, you know, we might never get there and we might never, we might never get there for a large amount of key terms. So this allows us to just get up there very quickly. So this, this is a really good example. This is the keywords blood drive. And you can see, actually this is a real example of Bonfils here in Denver having an ad that’s taking you right to like if you wanted to give blood or you want to join a blood drive, that’s where you’re gonna go right below that is red cross, right? So we’ve got, we have two examples of paid ads. We have the Google grant that, you know, if somebody, if I go looking for blood drive, more than likely I really want to go give blood, right?
Gryyt: I’m not like, you know, I’m not, I’m not, it’s not a search term that I would ever use if I wasn’t super intent on going and giving blood or finding out where a blood drive was. So there’s a daily budget essentially of $330 a month. So that’s the cap on what we can spend per day, which gets us to our $10,000 per month. You know, one of the things that we want to do, what you can see in this example is you want to build a keyword strategy to target long tail strategies and all to grow your add blueprint. So Dave, actually do you guys want to, do you guys want to jump in on or Ayla you want to jump in on long tail versus short tail keywords for everyone just so we can kind of talk about the difference in terms of what you’d to be targeting.
Ayla: Sure. so there’s a balance between keywords that are difficult to rank for appear for, and those are the more short-tail ones that the a lot of people are searching for. And then the long tail ones that are, that are a little bit less competitive. And when you’re thinking about keywords in which to select, I think the story telling piece is really important. So working backwards from what is our goal like we’re running this ad was our goal. If you believe in the story you’re telling, which I think it’s probably hard to work for a nonprofit, if you don’t believe in the story, what piece of that story attracts the right visitors. So in the case of blood drive, we have a task at hand, get more people to give blood. It might be just get more people to be aware of your organization and be aware of of what they’re, what you’re doing to make the world better. Or it very well could be like, give us donations and it might also be we have an event coming up that we’d like you to sponsor or be at. So I, I think that’s a really important piece of this puzzle is working backwards from the goal and understanding the balance between high competitive keywords and then ones long tail ones. It might be a little bit easier to,
Dave: Yeah, there are certain keywords in your space that you might think are good because they’re relevant to your organization, but they might also be highly relevant to a hospital, a surgery center or cancer, and they might be spending a lot more and you don’t want to get in those bidding wars when there’s, you know, there’s not that kind of a pay out for you guys compared to them with ROI. Not to think of it necessarily in those terms, but that’s how, you know, others are that are thinking about that the hospitals of the world perhaps. So it’s, it’s also a matter of well what keywords are more specific to what we do and won’t we, we won’t be competing with, you know, big dollars against because you’re getting bidding wars. You can run out of your Google grant in a day and that’s, that’s not what you want to do.
Gryyt:Yeah, absolutely. And the good news is that there’s there’s great tools out there as well. Like Google has a keyword planner that will help you with with coming up with keywords. And then there, and they’ll, they’ll give you examples of like, you know, both short tail and long tail. But I agree with both Ayla and Dave. Like you want to really think about like your story and user intent. And so, you know, there’s obvious, there’s like, you know, for like, you know, Bonfils is a great example, right? There’s blood drive is a very obvious one. But you know you know, you could, you could do things even more specific like you know, giving blood in Denver, Colorado or giving blood in Longmont, Colorado. Those are things that are, those are, those are going to be a little bit more specific.
Gryyt: But that, you know, if somebody, if some, if somebody types in, you know, give blood in Denver, Colorado or even like a neighborhood of Denver, that means that they’re looking specifically to go to like a, a center right within their, within their zip code or their geographic regions. So that’s even better user intent. Because then we know, like, we know that that person is like wants to give, but they also want to give somewhere close. So if they’re gonna, they’re gonna try to find the, the, you know, the closest location that they can. And, but you know, and so the Google keyword planner will be a great place to start. Ayla. I don’t know if there’s any other tools that you might want to throw out there that that they might be able to use that you’d like to use as well.
Dave: I think that’s the best one to start with. I do, I do want to bring up something that nonprofits typically, if not always, don’t really think about. But it’s, it’s free. There’s so there’s, you know, Google grants free advertising that way, but you can think about your donors, your board members, some of these people who really care about your organization already have a website of their own, a blog of their own perhaps. Some of them are very powerful, influential people in the world and, and they might want to promote if you gave them an easy way, their support, their affiliation of your cause. And, and what I’m really talking about here is display advertising, banner ads where every nonprofit should have on their site banner ads that their supporters, volunteers, donors, board members can, can use on their own sites to promote your brand drive traffic to your site.
Dave: And that’s not even going through an ad network. It’s just providing the assets for them. If in case, let’s say, you know, at one point I ran marketing for the American Alpine club, we had a board member from REI that was a member, you know, that was a member of the board. Our board as well. So, you know, just using opportunities like that to give someone of influence, the ability to go promote your, your nonprofit can be a pretty powerful thing. But if that person has to go, you know, design their own banner or, you know, try to get approval from you to do that and they’re just trying to help. And it just never happens. So it’s something that nonprofits haven’t yet really thought about, but, but every nonprofit should. That’s my own thought on that. I’d like to get Winston or Ayla’s thoughts too.
Ayla: Well, Hey, you could even write tweets for them. You make it as easy as possible for them to spread the word because if you think about their reach compared to the length of time it would take you to reach that many people, like the REI example, that dude probably has. What do you think? A hundred thousand or more followers on Twitter. So it’s an easy gesture to say, Hey, we fabricated this tweet for you. Would you mind posting it on Tuesday? And all it is, is a copy and paste.
Gryyt: Yeah, I think that’s a really, really, that’s a really great point. Yeah. You should always think about your, your board members and also just your, your, your user universe. And that’s, that’s a really powerful example of why having a CRM system is something that’s important. Or at least some way to look at this because I mean, if you, you might not know who, like all of the people within your volunteer base and your user base are, but if you have them in there and you just started looking one day, you just like looked at the list from a, from a email strategy standpoint, you know, you’re going to see that this is like, you know, this is you know, Davemarin@rei.com or that, you know, you’re gonna all of a sudden just, just sometimes by people’s email you’re going to see the companies that they work with or that they’re involved in.
Gryyt: And those are actually really, really good opportunities. So yeah, I completely agree with that. That’s a really, that’s a very underutilized and very simple tactic that I think a lot of times people just kind of overlook. Yeah. Awesome. So a couple more things on the Google grant. A couple more things. So this, the Google grant can only be used for text-based ads. Unfortunately we can’t use it for display ads. We can only use it for, for textbased ads. However, display advertising is really nominally nominally expensive. So I would definitely think about if you’re going to put, if you have a little bit of a paid budget and you want to put some real dollars in putting them into remarketing, retargeting and display advertising is a great place to put them. Because you’re going to, it’s not nearly as expensive as as PPC traffic and you’re gonna s you’re using Google’s own money for the more expensive traffic and then you can use your own money for sort of the less expensive stuff on the back end.
Gryyt: And Ayla, I don’t know if you want to jump in on that at all, but in terms of display or, or anything that you’d like to do with that.
Ayla: Let’s cruise through these so we can make sure we have time for questions.
Gryyt: Um cool. All right, so this gets into I think Kelly had a question about you know, whether this, whether this type of communication should come from one person or whether it should come from many. There are, there’s definitely tools that you can use like HootSuite and different different social media platforms that will allow you to kind of have, have multiple people within your within your network or your nonprofit using being able to communicate via social channels and it’s kind of staying on point with the same type of messaging and, but then allowing all of you guys to do the work.
Gryyt: So you know, I’m a big fan of Hootsuite. There’s definitely, there’s other ones like Sprout Social and Ayla and Dave might have some ones that they like, but there’s, and they’re all. The great thing is they all have really good discounts for nonprofits. So but I think a really, really important thing to think about is creating a weekly campaign as well as a monthly campaign, maybe even a quarterly campaign if you want to get really adventurous. But then thinking about like, what do you want to post on, you know, on these different days, where do you want to hit people? And then you essentially, when you have a content calendar like this and you start putting those things, those things in and you have it ready to go, you’re going to find yourself being a lot less reactionary and you’re going to have these stories going out on a regular basis.
Gryyt: And then you’re going to have people reacting to those stories. And then you can do, you know, then you can think about, you know, boosting a post from Facebook or you know, doing some paid and paid advertising via social for the things that are working well. But just having a, having a have, being more consistent and having a campaign calendar and thinking about it on a weekly and a monthly basis is going to allow you to really like, again, take those, that treasure trust, justice stories that you guys have and make sure that you’re getting them out there. And then it’s going to, because of the analytics, you’re going to be able to see what people are reacting to, what they like, what like what they don’t react to. And then like, you take the stories that you know, people really respond to and you think about doing more campaigns that are, you know, centered around those, you know, that type of graphic or infographic or video or whatever.
Gryyt: So that’s, that’s the way that I like to think about it. And then you can obviously have asks in there, you can have one where you’re asking people to become a donor. You can say like, Hey, we’re volunteering. You know, we have we have, you know, we’re getting together on Saturday. You know, for a walk we’d like for everyone to come in. We need volunteers and people to be in the walk. And then this allows people obviously to subscribe and share on their own channels, which is, you know, kind of what we already alluded to, which becomes very powerful. So I think this makes things a little bit more simple and also allows everyone on your team to kind of go off the same script. Which is what I like about it too.
Ayla: A few thoughts here. Um Buffer is a really easy social media tool that has a free version. Mixmatch is awesome. It integrates with Gmail, so you can schedule follow ups. So if this person doesn’t respond in three days, schedule a follow up and it’s all automated so you don’t have to touch it. And then one best practice thought. Emails that come from a real person tend to test better. So a real person, meaning like your name or even an alias versus info@Spiredigital.com or marketing@ or something. So if you can create an alias or just have one person responsible for email, that tends to really help.
Gryyt: Yes, totally agree. Nobody likes info@. That is not even, that’s a, that’s a big spam. Spam no-no. And, and if you you know, for, for email, I’m also, you know if you need a ESP Oh my gosh, I don’t know. Oh, MailChimp is, sorry. Mailchimp is a great example. Mailchimp does a fantastic job. They also have a really, really nice integrations with with Facebook ads. And they have some really nice integrations with Zapier, which is one of the ones I mentioned that has really like automation. So you could send an email and if somebody replies, then there could be a marketing automation to, you know, add them to at, you know, try to add them on Facebook or something like that. So you can do some nice little nice little Zapier integrations. They call them zaps. And, and MailChimp is like kind of leading the charge in terms of like some of that marketing automation and integrating with with other tools. And they do a really nice job and they have a really nice they have very, I mean, I think they give 10 or 20% off for nonprofits. So it’s, it’s, it’s, or it’s pretty substantial. Might be more now, but yeah, completely agree.
Gryyt: This is just an example of what this might look like if you were like, we’re talking about if you wanted to get adventurous and do this over like over a quarter you know, you could do a campaign calendar where you know, you’re doing, you’re, you’re putting a story out and the are you doing some events and then you’re like doing fundraising and petitions and rewards. And you can kind of really mix up, mix all this up so that people aren’t just seeing the same thing from you over and over again, but they’re getting different stories and you’re hitting them at different times in different places. So you’re not, you’re not, you’re not just kind of, you know, if you ask people to donate every other day, people get kinda tired of that story. So you want to really mix that up and have a lot of different examples of what you’re looking for.
Ayla: I think building a calendar too, even to syndicate internally helps build a culture of marketing and digital marketing. So as you, if, if you’re the person really leading the charge on digital marketing, and then you share the calendar with others or start to ask for blog posts or, or copy for ads or whatever it is it helps the whole organization get on board, or at least understand your motive and hopefully proves some value eventually.
Gryyt: All right. So the next one is we’re just looking at like, how do we, how do we turn this traffic traffic into dollars, right? So, you know, we’ve got now, now let’s just pretend like we’re using a Google grant. And we’re, and we’re putting it into the website. And then we’re, you know, we’re like, what do we do? Like, you know, how do we, how do we convert these people once they hit our website? So live chat is something that I’m just a huge for proponent of and, and I think is really important. You know, live chat doesn’t have to be just someone asking for donations. They can be you know, as saying like, Hey, are you, you know, it could be when they come to the website, could be like, Hey, you know what, you know, thank you so much for coming to our community.
Gryyt: How can we help you? You know, what are, you know, what are you looking to do? And someone says, Oh, I want to volunteer. For, I, I, you know, I, my, my mom has cancer and I, and it’s really important to me. I want to volunteer. Fantastic. So then you put them into like, okay, let’s, you know, here’s a link that allows you to look at all of our volunteer opportunities. You know, or you know, somebody wants to you know, somebody wants to become a donor, fantastic. Have them give or if they, you know, maybe they want to, you know, you know, do a fundraising walk or something like that. So it really allows you to have that conversational piece. There are ways that you can do it where either it can be automated, it can be automated at the beginning, and then you can have real people come in.
Gryyt: There’s, there’s a ton of different ways to do chat. But just having things on your website, like live chat and optimization tools are going to be something that’s going to be really important in terms of like turning that traffic either into dollars, volunteers or supporters, whichever you know, which, and we want it, we want to try to do all of those. Because we don’t, we don’t know what somebody is coming to us about, but we want to find that out. We want to be authentic with them and you know, and, and be, and ask them for and help them get where they’re really looking to go.
Dave: And this is really important too, because when we do a heat mapping, mouse tracking, we find that oftentimes the top nav isn’t used nearly as much as you imagine it would be. And people are looking for something and they don’t know where to find it. They, you know where to find it, you guys put it there. But yeah, for them it’s not as intuitive, especially if they haven’t been at the site for a while. So searchability findability is really important. And having live chat can be just a really nice tool for helping to make that happen quickly.
Gryyt: Yeah, absolutely. And there’s, there’s a lot of different live channel, live chat channels that you can use. There are, I’m, I can, I can post a couple in here, but I don’t know. Ayla and Dave, do you have any ones that you guys are fans of as well?
Dave: Personally, I think one reach offers some really interesting automation opportunities with live chat cause you still have a human in the loop. I’m not sure how many nonprofits are using one reach today as opposed to enterprise organizations, but it can be very sophisticated and yet pretty easy to build inside of. And you know, an example would be, let’s say you have an FAQ but people don’t even know where to find the FAQ, but they have a question. With automation, you can have a bot that goes in, you know understands what’s in the FAQ and looks for the answer and then tries to return the answer and asks, has this been helpful to you? And if, if not, then a human can be prompted to come into that conversation.
Ayla: We’ve, we’ve used one called Drift I think. And it can sound like a heavy lift just to have someone man the live chat. But like Dave said, there’s a lot of automation potential and also intern potential if you have college credits to share something like volunteers. Yeah. It’s a good way to have someone ramp up and learn about the organization. And, and then it starts to give you like into common questions. What should be automated? Do, do people keep asking you where the form is to volunteer? And then maybe you bring that forward on your website because you continue to hear the same thing over and over. So it can be a good listening tool.
Gryyt: Yeah, absolutely. And they’re, and, and doing having automation and bots at the front of it. And then having maybe like a real person, whether it’s an intern or somebody on the team kind of catching up on those is something that is cool. If you’re using a CRM system, sometimes like if you’re using HubSpot HubSpot has a really cool live chat that integrates right with it. So that’s a cool one too.
Gryyt: Well, so yeah, you guys actually somebody already posted about popups and yeah popups are a fantastic thing to do. You know, you could have just like, Hey, like what are you looking to do here? And they can just, you know, they can type in, it doesn’t have to be live chat right off the bat, but it’s a good way to get started.
Gryyt: But there’s other things you can do like welcome mats smart bars. There are tools. There’s a, there’s a tool called Privy that integrates really, really well with with WordPress. If you’re using WordPress. It’s very, very inexpensive. That’s one you can use like both as a list builder or for different targeting where you can say like, Hey, join our email newsletter. And they, you know, give their information that automatically sends them something. Those are some that I like to use. I’m not sure if Ayla and Dave have some that they want, they might have as well that they like.
Dave: No, I think, I think you hit on. We were also looking at the group chat because we didn’t have it on our screen for a while, so we were just trying to get your phone.
Gryyt: Oh yeah, sorry. Yeah, I’ve been trying to kind of go through these
Gryyt: As, as we’ve been, as we’ve been talking off and off. But but I think we, I think we’ve covered it some of some of it and we can say those two questions at the end too.
Ayla: Great. Next slide.
Gryyt: So just, here’s a really good example of, you know, where you’re like, you know, you’ve gotta you’ve got to learn more. You know, we’ve got it, we’ve got a very intentional ask. Like, what’s your email? You know, it’s, it’s a little bit, this is probably a little bit more aggressive than some nonprofits like to get you know, where you’re like, I want to help or no thanks. Well, who wants to hit no thanks when you’re looking at a, at a page like this. Right. so, you know, these are just some good examples. On the right hand side here, we’ve got all this social media shares. You know, we’ve got, you know, joining the community. Really what you have here is just you have multiple ways for somebody to, you know, multiple calls to action in which somebody can some, somebody can interact with the website. So we’re being a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more intentional than probably traditionally nonprofits are. In terms of interacting with the, with website traffic. But I think that’s something really important to do. Is it you know, it’s, I mean, you know, we, we need to figure like people are coming to your website and we need to figure out how to interact with them and what to do with them. So
Dave: Yeah, Winston and I just wanted to add, it’s all about testing, so, maybe this works well for you. Maybe it doesn’t, but you don’t know until you try it.
Gryyt: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. Test, test, test, test. I mean that’s, that’s what like all of us do all day long is we test things and then we optimize things and I mean, we test as much to figure out what doesn’t work as much to figure out what as what does work, right. So don’t think about you. You know, if you put something on there and like people don’t like it or they don’t interact with it or whatever. Like don’t think of it as a failure. Think of it as, okay, we know that our, our, our group doesn’t, doesn’t like this, or that’s not like their, maybe their, you know, their demographic skews in a different way and they don’t like, they don’t like this, but they do, you know, but they love, they, you know, they love our email newsletters. I’ve seen it honestly with working with different nonprofits across the country.
Gryyt: I’ve seen everything I’ve seen. I mean, you know, and don’t be afraid of things like, I mean, I worked with one faith based nonprofit where they, you know, they had a newsletter list of 2000 people for direct mail and that they sent out direct mail three times a year and that it, I mean, it brought in a serious amount of money. So, you know, just because, I mean, just because you’re doing digital, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think about other things. And you know, if your, if your demographic skews that way, don’t be afraid of it. I mean, I’m a digital kid, but I’m the first one to say if billboards work for you, use billboards, you know. So, you know, I mean, don’t just don’t think that digital is the only solution.
Dave: Ayla is smiling because I always, I often will talk about how well direct mail has worked for me in the past. Like at the American Alpine club, for instance, and you know, the board
Dave: Wanted to be digital, you know, a bunch of old guys who wanted to be digital. But, you know, at the end of the day it was about what’s driving the desired response. And measuring everything, understanding, you know, first looking at, Oh, what’s the lifetime value of a member? Okay, how many renew after year one, 50%, how many review renew every year after that 80%. So do some math there, figure out, you know, what’s the lifetime value of a member for us, you know, and, and my goal was to get a good, you know, get a positive ROI in acquiring new members within the first year. And yeah, direct direct mail is definitely a big piece of that. But even like, that’s a blanket statement, direct mail. So it was like, what kind of messaging, you know, there’s so many things you could test, even inside of direct mail you know, stamp versus Indesha. But just different types of appeals. And yeah, not to, not to, to harp on them too long, but,
Gryyt: No, no, I mean, just, yeah, I mean, thanks for bringing it up. I totally agree. And actually the funny, funny caveat, so this, these direct mail pieces that went out and I forgot, it was like, it actually raised like hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were actually handwritten. They were handwritten letters. And, and I mean, I, I mean, I actually, I mean, I’m not going to say like, I like when they first told me, I was like, I don’t know, but I actually watched them do it and I was like, Oh, all right, well that’s cool. So, and they’d been doing it for like a decade, and I’m like, dude, if it works, like let’s find more people to send those types of handwritten letters to. But you know, if we increase people from digital and we get more people signing up and then we, and then we, you know, there’s different ways we know that they’re like a high net worth individual or something like that, then we can start having good strategies where we know that a handwritten letter to those people you know, could like really get them more involved in the nonprofit or whatever.
Gryyt: So yeah, definitely don’t, don’t be afraid to, to test everything.
Ayla: A piece about revenue to some this next line to kick it off and all this testing. It can sound like a really heavy lift and a lot of work, but the idea is that we eventually attach it to dollar signs. So as you’re looking to make a case for more spend or more effort in a particular area via digital or direct mail, having that data to back up your point. So being able to say, we generated X number of donations or we ran this test on though, I’m saying, figured out that our audience hates newsletters. So let’s cut that out of our strategy. It really does make a big difference. And it at some point you’re able to draw a direct line from your effort to increase donations, volunteers, whatever it might be. And that makes advocating for this practice a lot easier.
Gryyt: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, so obviously like, you know, our goal is always to, you know, we want to increase revenue and we want to do that, you know, via web and mobile. But really it all comes down to tracking. Like, Ayla’s talking about like, if we can track what’s working and what’s not working and we can look at those sources in terms of like in amounts of dollars that are coming in then we can then we can forecast for what’s like where we want to put more of our time and energy. Recurring donations is something that we’ve had a lot of success with that I think is really important. You know, you can ask somebody for $50, $100, or you can ask them to give you 25 or $50 for the next year. And you can know that you’re, you know, you all of a sudden, you know, you can start forecasting your revenue and you really, and then you get people, you get people involved to, you know, in a whole different way.
Gryyt: So recurring, I think, you know, you can ask somebody when they’re coming in, do you want to give a one time donation or would you like to, or would you be willing to sign up for, you know, a 12 month commitment or a six month commitment. Some other things that we haven’t talked about that are really great ways to go. If you’ve, if you’ve never used text to give or text to donate these are fantastic SMS tools that allow you to have people text in and give either give donations or join your community. These are really nice ways to interact with people. And then I’ve just got a couple different areas in here in terms of processing. We work with multiple groups. IATS is the largest. They have 15,000 nonprofits in North America.
Gryyt: So they’re one of the leaders on, in payment processing. And they also have really nice integrations for recurring donations. Obviously there’s authorized.net. There’s PayPal. Paypal does a great job. Their UI is not really great, but then against, you know, neither is Craigslist and that’s one of the best websites on the planet. So that’s, I always like to say, you know, don’t be afraid of it. There’s obviously Stripe. And then there’s a new company that we’ve just started interacting with and working with, it’s called Give Lively. They’re actually backed by George Soros. And his entire mission is to essentially just give enterprise level software out to nonprofits. A big part of that as is payment processing. So Give Lively is a fantastic organization based out of New York that you guys might like people might not have heard of yet, but they’re really kind of coming on strong.
Gryyt: And they’re, you know, it’s, it’s really, it’s just a social change organization that that George Soros is like trying to change the world and he’s got the money to do it. So and you know, obviously we, I mean, we want to capture don’t donor data. We want to track those campaigns. And we wanna, you know, don’t, don’t forget we’ve got to, you know, we want to, this is also about your brand, right? We want your image, your logo, your colors to be all over everything. Think of this, everything is a branding exercise, right? So whatever you’re doing, whether digital or direct mail or website or whatever, make sure that your brand is, is getting as much exposure as possible. Ayla and and Dave are probably much better on the branding side than I am. If you guys have any comments on branding,
Gryyt: I’m more of a lead gen guy than a branding guy.
Dave: Oh gosh. That’s a whole other, I think it’s, it’s a whole other conversation, but I would just think about branding this way. It’s, there’s several levels of branding. There’s you know what, but the level I want to get to that, that nonprofits always miss out on is like what does the brand say about you? What does it say about supporters? This idea of symbolic branding the Lance Armstrong Foundation and its hay day did a really good job with that. With live strong and like if you had to live strong wristband, it, it wasn’t just showing that, you know, it wasn’t just about promoting that organization. It was about promoting some aspect of yourself. And, and what you believe in, what it said about you. It, it, it conveyed you were an athlete, you were someone who cared.
Dave: Whatever it was. And I think that’s just a really important thing for nonprofits to be able to try to harness is when someone supports you, what does it say about them? What does that symbolic power? And, and tapping into that, and by the way, Lance Armstrong Foundation did not come up with the live strong wristband. Nike did. Nike said, Hey, LAF, live strong is your, just do it and you should have it on wristbands. And we’re going to buy the first batch for you. And when those wristbands showed up at a gala, or maybe it was a board meeting the board and Lance, they were all laughing about it. I’m like, Oh, this is going to be a flop. They were shooting them at each other and just like, Oh, what the heck is this crap? And they had no idea it was going to be so successful because they didn’t really understand, even though Lance was such a superstar at the time, like about being able to tap into that. Now anyone else, I’ll tell you who tried to do a wristband after that wasn’t really successful because it looked like a copycat kind of thing. But that doesn’t negate the point that there is identity branding and symbolic branding and to be on earth with nonprofits and figuring out how to give that to your community of supporters. If you, if you can do it right, that says a lot. You know, product red is another good example. And you know, just always be thinking about it.
Dave: An example with the American Alpine club where I worked was, you know, we gave out hard copies of the American Alpine journal every year and there was always a debate and a, should we just go digital on this? But you lose out on the symbolic piece of that, which is if you can put that on your coffee table, like you’re not to admit it to anyone, but if you have that on your coffee table and someone sees it, you’re gonna be like, wow, I didn’t know you were, you were a climber.
Ayla: You must be cool.
Dave: Yeah. And you think about that, like climbing is a look that lots of people go for a lot of non climbers, but like if you have the American Alpine journal on your coffee table, it’s like, that’s pretty, it’s pretty powerful. So, you know, think about things like that. I’m not exactly sure how it ties in yet with CSC or your family of, of you know, affiliates. But I think there’s something there.
Dave: Cool. Well, we have just a few minutes left. Winston, do you want to try to wrap up these last few slides?
Gryyt: Yes, absolutely. Yeah.
Gryyt: So the next one is actually very much in line with what you’re talking about. So you know, we can always, you know, donations are great, are recurring donations are even better. One thing that I’ve seen work really well, this song got some gamification around it. So you can have like different, like you could be a member or an ambassador and then, you know, think about things that you could do that interact with the, you know, if like if I become, if I give 50 bucks a month, like, do I get any, do I get anything, anything special? Like, do I get, like if you guys are having an event, like a, like an after event where like there’s a really cool speaker, maybe you could just invite like only people that are members or ambassadors to come to it.
Gryyt: Just little perks. They don’t have to be things that really cost money, but I’m just, you know, kind of like cool things. That, you know, you might be able to like maybe there’s a doctor, a famous doctor, you know, giving a speech and you can have him come in after him or her come in and afterwards mobile is definitely something if you’re not using SMS definitely think about outgoing and incoming SMS notifications can be just as powerful as email with a much better open rate, especially because if they’ve, if they’ve given you their their phone number, they’re going to, they’re going to be very, the chances of them like, you know, saying that they don’t want to get text messages from you is pretty low. So it’s a really great way as well as email and social to stay engaged with people. And this is just mobile engagement, you know, open rates of 98%. People keep their mobile number for eight years. There’s the click through rates like 17 to 30%, which is super high. And for those of you guys that are run email campaigns in the past,
Gryyt: This is just an example of where with text to give where you can, like you can send out, you can have a message incoming or outgoing and they can pick a different, you can have different donation options. So be kind of flexible with your donation options and, and, and again, test them, right? Try thinking about you know, try thinking about whether or not you know, you want to try to go for more or you want to get like 500 people at 10 bucks. Nikki, yes. Texting at live events is probably one of the best places to use the text to give and text to donate. If you can have a person get up on stage and say everybody get out your phones, we’re going to raise $5,000 in the next 30 minutes. Everybody’s gonna get their phone out, they’re going to it like say like, get out your phones. Let me see those lights. And then you can say, okay, if everybody, if everyone in this room right now gives 50 bucks, we’re going to hit $5,000 in the next 30 minutes. Just make it, make it fun, make it interactive, like make it, make it something. And then if you have like somebody that’s super charismatic you know, have them up on stage just like leading the charge and it works really, really well. I’ve seen it work thousands of times.
Gryyt: Okay. So, sorry. I will get back to the, I’ll get through this and then try to answer the chats. So you know, analytics obviously we’ve kind of talked about this. This is something you’re going to see in Google analytics, but as Dave and Ayla mentioned, definitely important to use. You’re going to see your new cliques, new members you can even get it down to a cost per lead, which essentially is how much is every person coming in from a lead basis costing you pay attention to your bounce rate. Work on that all the time. If you can decrease your bounce rate, you’re getting much better. You’re gonna have a much better stickiness with people that are coming in.
Gryyt: Yep. And then obviously you can always use fundraising experts in terms of like some, you know, if you’re really trying to reach like, you know, certain specific areas you know, it’s, sometimes this can be a little bit expensive or like if you’re trying to, like, sometimes there’s like high net worth individuals or if you’re trying to get people that are like in a certain type of high net worth or like, you know, CSR or something that’s become really big, which is corporate social responsibility. So I like to think about the fact of, you know, going out and finding corporations that are involved or have some relevance with what your nonprofit does and asking them if they might be willing to run campaigns with you or run ran, run campaigns on behalf of you. So looking at, you know, looking at not just the people in a company as like donors or users or volunteers, but also the company themselves and how can you, how, how can you make them advocates for you and how can you, and that, that, that term is corporate social responsibility, which is becoming really big these days.
Dave: I would say in general too, as we get to this slide that we saw some questions around you know, Google grants who could help me with that? You kind of think Winston is one of the foremost experts in the world of getting Google grants. Winston is a partner with Gryyt, G. R Y. Y. T. I would look at it this way. You’ve got people on the phone who can help with driving traffic to your website. That’s more of Grytt’s world. Spire plays a little in that world. Conversely,
Dave: Um building a great website with an eye on conversion that squarely in Spire’s wheelhouse and, and I think Gryyt probably plays a little there, but I think together we work really well together to help nonprofits drive conversion. We didn’t get much backgrounds on ourselves beforehand. I ran marketing this is David for the American Alpine club for three or four years. A big part of that was realizing that we needed to improve our programs to create more value for membership. We are very much a membership driven organization. That was, that accounted for a big chunk of our budget. So I made that part of my job figuring out what, what extra value we can provide to members the, the climbing community in mostly the United States. And I often recommend it’s not just about marketing. I mean your product can be your best marketing. So in that case it was, and the changes we made on the product side of what we had to offer really helped us. Gosh, I think double if not triple membership along with, you know, instituting a testing mentality with everything we were doing. And, and yeah, harnessing direct mail at times. But also, you know, advancing in the digital space. And, and Winston, I think you and your team have great, have run campaigns for gosh, red cross Goodwill. I mean may probably be talking about that than I would.
Gryyt: Yeah. My, my team collectively has run a Red Cross red nose day comic relief. So they’ve been involved with some of the biggest SMS donation campaigns in history. And you know I’ve got an extensive background and at a really good team with Google grants? So, you know, collectively between, between our groups we definitely have I think probably almost more experience in nonprofit marketing than, than most other agencies out there. So definitely you know, happy to help, always love giving advice. I think all Ayla, myself and Dave, I’ll have a passion for helping nonprofits with digital. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s cool to see where we’re at a time right now where it’s like the democratization of, of digital for nonprofits. It’s finally getting there. It’s been a long time coming. But it’s awesome and it’s really cool to see how many of you guys are on here and wanting to learn more and use these tools.
Gryyt: And we’re definitely excited that you guys are, obviously some of you are already in those steps and some of you are looking at taking those steps. So you know, definitely. I think the biggest thing is don’t be afraid. There’s tons of information, there’s tons of resources, there’s tons of awesome tech companies out there that want to help you that can help you whether as a paid service or they also have things that you can access and if your budget doesn’t allow for that. So but it’s an exciting time for nonprofits and digital. We definitely are happy to be a help in it.
Ayla: So, we’re right up at time, but we can stick around and answer a few questions if there are any. And I’ll also just share my email and Dave’s email in the chat and I’m not going to make one to do that unless he wants to, but we’re available for followup if you need us.
Dave: We’d go through the chat real quick and see if there’s any questions we haven’t answered.
Ayla: I think we’ve got them as they came in. If there are any others.
Kelly: Yeah. And I’m, I’m looking at this and it looks like Winston, you sent this message to me instead of everyone, but it says give lively is awesome. Grit can help with SMS and text to donate.
Gryyt: Yup, that’s correct. We could definitely help a give lively one of your, once somebody in here said they were using give lively and it had done really well. I’m a huge fan of give lively. We’re actually, we’re about to become a partner with them. So yeah, I mean I think that’s awesome.
Kelly: Great. and then also just everyone on the call. I am going to make the recording available on the community hub and Winston and Ayla and David, that’s our internal website for our affiliates and healthcare partners. It’s just where they can network and you things like this, like recordings and meeting minutes that they missed. So also the slides will be made available and you know, if it would be helpful, I can kind of type up some of these questions and kind of keep a running list. And then maybe Ayla and David, I could refer any of those additional questions to you guys. Sure. We’re happy to help. Great. Great. Awesome. And then I think Winston you might’ve sent the message to me. It’s, it’s your, your email, but I can also, okay, cool.
Gryyt: Yeah, but I did just realize I was, I was on private with you.
Kelly: I’m always doing that. I’m always accidentally sending a message. I mean to send that everyone just privately to someone. Okay. Great. Okay. Well thank you so much, all of you for giving this amazing presentation. It was really engaging and, and I, I know very helpful for the network. So I love hearing the feedback on what everyone thought of it and, and continuing the conversation with how they can use this information to help spread the word about what they’re trying to accomplish.
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