Summer’s here, and the time is right for planning for year-end. That’s why Erica Gulseth, Online Fundraising Manager at Earthjustice, joined us recently to talk about their successful 2013 year-end fundraising campaign.
First and foremost, Erica told us that year-end starts NOW: “We have 5 months to get in the best place possible for year-end fundraising.” Erica broke down their year-end strategy into three parts: storytelling, acquisition, and testing.
Telling the right story
Before you do anything else, make sure you have the right story to tell. Earthjustice chose their “Save the Wild” campaign as their main year-end narrative for a few reasons. First, there is a strong tie-in to their mission–”As a legal organization, we rely on strong laws, and Save the Wild’s focus is on legislative advocacy,” Erica told us. This campaign also lent itself to a sense of timeliness and urgency because of the many attacks levelled at the Endangered Species Act on its 40th Anniversary. Finally, the emotion conveyed by the beautiful Save the Wild imagery is a powerful hook when asking for donations.
Feeding the funnel
With the right story in hand, Earthjustice then focused on growing its list through a variety of channels, from social media to paid acquisition through Change.org. The key is to start early, Erica shared. “Don’t try to grow your email list immediately before December and expect people to convert right away.” Erica said that they saw a 3x return from users acquired from Change.org in August and September compared to those acquired in November. Very impressive.
Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3
Finally, with a strong story in place, and an active, engaged list to tell it to, Earthjustice made sure that every element of their campaign was optimized for conversion. Erica’s team uses a testing dashboard that covers all of the different types of tests they run, from A/B to multivariate tests. One A/B test from last year really stood out–when they tested different subject lines on the welcome email for new supporters recruited from Change.org, they were surprised to see that a one word subject of “Arctic” vastly outperformed the subject they had been using. This small change led to some big returns from these supporters.
And that’s not the half of what we learned from Erica. For the full download of Earthjustice’s year-end fundraising tips, be sure to watch the webinar video above. As always, if there is a topic you’d like to see us cover in a future webinar, say hi and let us know at @ChangeOrgs.