I attended a session entitled "A Deep Dive into Online Acquisition ROI" at the Bridge Conference last week and thought I'd share it with everyone. The speakers were Tatiana Marshall from Change.org, Vanessa Kritzer from League of Conservation Voters and Marc Ruben from M+R.
Vanessa from the League of Conservation Voters discussed how the organization grew their online subscriber file from 200M in 2006 to 1.1MM in 2014 using paid online acquisition through petitions, (like Change.org and CARE2.com), non-paid acquisition (by partnering with other organizations to send action e-mails), utilizing other websites (like Mother Jones and Democrats.com), and social media site, Facebook.
Here is how their efforts stacked up. Change.org started off very strong but online acquisition has fallen off for them more recently. On the flip side, CARE2.com started off weak, but has gained more momentum recently.
And Facebook? It started out with very poor results in the beginning but has seen big improvements in 2012 and 2013. So what are they doing to see these improvements for their online acquisition ROI? They are modeling lookalike donors. They use Facebook for current issues and hot topics; whereas they have more success with other paid online acquisition sources using animals, which is what their fundraising focuses on.
Fundraising Tip: Make sure you can supply your suppression files so you're not paying for names you already have.
She recommends analyzing ROI by source, timing, and petition/issue. Petitions that match your fundraising do better than hot topics and current issues (except on Facebook). The League of Conservation now gives credit to actions when calculating ROI since it takes so long to convert people to donors.
Fundraising Tip: Have a plan for what you're going to do with your newly acquired people. Develop an onboarding process.
Their best source for acquisition is e-mail cross promotions (where another organization sends an action request on your behalf to their e-mail list and you do the same for them). There is no cost and it is not a list swap.
Marc from M+R spoke next and he did a great job of keeping the audience involved at the last session of the last day of the conference on a Friday afternoon. Kudos to him. He had everyone playing their boxes of Nerds and singing a song about acquisition to the tune of "Cecilia." It was hysterical!
He pointed out that online acquisition is not tried and true and that they are exploring various channels. Marc went on to say that they haven't cracked the code yet in display advertising, but that some large organizations are making it work.
About Debbie McLain: Debbie is an RMI partner and leads our Nonprofit List Brokerage division. She works with large national and regional fundraisers, and nonprofit magazine and newsletter publishers, and is a master at direct mail planning, list and campaign analysis, and negotiating incredible pricing for her clients.
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