Don’t test at year’s end

The time to experiment or test a radically new brand is not during your nonprofit’s year-end fundraising campaign. Peter Genuardi makes the analogy to a marathon runner: On race day, you don’t try something new — whether new sneakers or a new food.

The founder of Strength in Members, a Boulder, Colo.-based marketing agency, Genuardi said he’s more likely to push “off-the-wall” ideas throughout the year but is more conservative at year-end.

Genuardi offered up a few other considerations for year-end campaigns during a panel presentation at DMA Nonprofit Federation’s annual New York City conference:

  • Plan to measure and tune: Don’t wait until Jan. 1 to look at the figures and decide that it didn’t go well.
  • Consider precision targeting with Facebook ads, whether targeting your best donors, lapsed donors, donors to specific programs or from a particular program. Facebook allows you to target based on email address.
  • Include social, across-media social asks. Are your audience members using social networks a lot (or email, web, direct mail)? Experiment with different asks based on connections, social depth and what they’re likely to do. Choose the media where you can find the most people.