Video, Web Optimization Lead NPO Tech Spending Plans

Nonprofits managers are looking to invest more in imagery and video, but those investments do not include pop-culture staples such as memes or Snapchat.

The 2018 Digital Outlook Report, conducted by Care2, the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), hjc, and The Resource Alliance, asked roughly 500 organization representatives where they expect to see increased investment in the near future. Video (74 percent), website conversion optimization (66 percent), images (57 percent), and infographics (53 percent) are areas in which respondents expect more organizational investment.

Popular areas for divestment include Snapchat (39 percent), memes (35 percent), podcasts (27 percent), how-to guides (24 percent), and Twitter chats (24 percent). In addition to providing a look over nonprofit leaders’ shoulders in terms of future investments, this year’s report analyzes current efforts in email, mobile-responsiveness, and website conversions. In each of the three primary segments, the report provides advice for organization leaders looking to start out, improve, and perfect their operations.

Nearly nine out of 10 (87 percent) of respondents stated that email deliverability was a priority at their organization, but issues still linger. More than one-third (35 percent) reported negative impacts from email deliverability issues within their organization. Managers seeking to start being more intentional with their emailing might do well by simply dedicating planning resources and manpower behind such efforts. Just 51 percent of respondents utilize staff resources to further their organizations’ digital strategies and just more than 7 percent provide only volunteer or intern resources to the charge.

As email delivery capabilities become a little more advanced, leaders might consider writing out goals to meet and testing spam rates and, later, segment email lists by audience based on factors such as geographic location. Areas that respondents have been active in include removing undeliverable or hard-bouncing emails from lists (75 percent), making unsubscribe options prominent in each message (67 percent), removing inactive subscribers (45 percent), and checking email content against a spam-test scorer (31 percent).

Just over half (52 percent) of respondents reported the development of mobile-optimized versions of their websites, leaving plenty of work to be done in appealing to donors’ increasingly mobile-based lifestyles. A basic first step is rendering digital designs for mobile use (something that 77 percent of respondents do) followed by testing to ensure that websites load properly and quickly on mobile devices. Most users wait just six to 10 seconds for a website to load on a mobile device before giving up, according to the report’s authors, citing Accrisoft data.

More advanced mobile steps include ensuring synergy between organizational mobile platforms. Two out of five (40 percent) of respondents feature auto-fill mobile donation forms, while text-to-give (32 percent) and mobile application (19 percent) capabilities are other areas of interest.

Improvements are also to be had in website conversion tracking — understanding where users are going after deciding to visit a website. Just over one-third of organizations (37 percent) track this information, but it stands as the second most popular future goal of organization leaders at over 66 percent.

Coming up with a written plan and familiarizing oneself with analytics providers such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and Hotjar are good first steps, according to the authors. Just 56 percent respondents even had a content-marketing strategy. Diving into analytics and attributing actual donations to various inlet channels are among intermediate and advanced steps, respectively. The average web conversion rate, among organizations that track, is 5.6 percent, according to the report while the average donor conversion rate is 2.8 percent — making web conversion literally half the battle toward securing a gift.