How to test and record fundraising messages

October 29, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

You don’t have to dive in. It’s usually good to test the waters before making a splash. The same philosophy applies to your marketing messages. As delivery methods can vary among brochures, websites, direct mail, email and now social media, one of the most important aspects of ensuring resonance of your message is to test it first.

In fact, 37 percent of all e-marketers do not test their email campaigns before launching them. According to Amanda Mallinger Reinartz, product manager at fundraising and CRM software firm ResultsPlus, here’s how you decide what to test and to record your findings.

  • How do you decide what to test? Direct marketers test envelopes vs. electronic mail, stamps vs. metering, labels vs. windows, etc. The list goes on to include aspects of emails such as subject lines, time of delivery and message wording. The key thing to remember is the goal is to identify which variation provides the best percentage of engagement.
  • Delivery method also matters. Should it be direct mail, email, or a tweet? These are questions your fundraising software cannot directly answer, but testing your messages may help provide the answers.
  • How do you record and report test results? Recording test results and subsequent analysis is where fundraising and donor management software can assist and benefit you. The key is to ensure you’ve identified the data necessary for analysis.
  • You might also want to segment the appeals with specific codes, test group “A” has appeal “X”, and so forth. Use your CRM software’s built-in tools and reports to inform and guide your efforts. Then, review the reports already available in the system for campaign and appeal analysis. Use the winning test as part of your message to your target group.