It's Christmas time in direct-mail-land in early November. I've sat in the review meetings and I know this works. But it leads fundraising teams to send email appeals and ask on social media too early.
It's Christmas time on the internet when people finish their last day of work.
This year Christmas starts on December 20th.
By far and away the most underestimated aspect of digital fundraising, at all times of year, is easiness.
The easier it is, the more money you get.
Once, I removed phone and address fields from a donation form and the conversion rate doubled. Same design, same everything and instead of 19% of people donating, 38% of people donated.
People hate complexity. They hate jumping through hoops. And they live in a permanent state of semi-overwhelm. They are just about able to get through all the administrative details the modern world throws at them. If you add to this, they'll resent you for it.
Many, many digital fundraising ships have perished on the rocks of complex, long and slow. I've been at the helm of dozens of these.
Facebook are in the business of giving people what they want, faster and faster.
Just look at how they've evolved the Facebook Fundraiser set-up process. It's now two thumb taps to set up a Facebook Fundraiser. Tap. Tap.
Facebook get it. They understand people. They know they want slick and easy and clean. That’s why they’ve endured.
But what about the data?
Most people don’t want to give you their data, but you’ve seen and felt the value of data and the retention campaigns it enables. You’ve personal experience of this. It’s a real and tangible way to help the people you’re tasked with helping.
Much more real and tangible than anything on a social media app.
So let’s leave the big-picture, strategic debate for another day.
Instead I’ll give you three good reasons to spend €50 and 15 minutes on the tactic I’m recommending here.
- Only 10% to 15% of new cash donors on your website will give again
- Only 15% of people give via direct mail
- Only 1% - 2% of your warm Facebook followers will convert on your website
Only 10% to 15% of new cash donors on your website will give again
Out of the die-hards who wade through your website donation form and you their name, email address, phone number and postal address, only 10% to 15% will donate again.
If your email programme is inconsistent, this will be lower.
If you have a strong automated email journey to welcome and inspire new donors, this might be 25%. But I’m betting that you don’t.
Only 15% of people give via direct mail
Let’s be honest about it, it’s the postal address you really want. Because that has proven to the most valuable information. And you suspect that even if you only got a few postal addresses, that would be better than whatever you’d get on Facebook.
But in Ireland, for example, over 50% of people say they give to charity every year. 15% give via direct mail and you’ve already put the time, thought and tactics into targeting that segment. This tactic is for the 35% who are charitable, but don’t use the post.
Consider it a way to diversify your Christmas appeal.
Only 1% - 2% of your warm Facebook followers will convert on your website.
This is the depressing reality. This is why you’re probably didn’t bother using your Christmas appeal on Facebook last year. People really don’t want to leave a social media app, where their friends are, and head over to their Chrome browser and wait for some static charity web page to load.
Recently I clicked ‘Donate now’ on a major charities Facebook post when I only had two bars of reception on my Samsung. It took 26 seconds for the donation form to load… that’s an eternity.
So, depending on how easy your donation form is to fill out, a mere 1% to 2% of people who read your Christmas Appeal on Facebook and click Donate Now will actually donate.
But if you ask the same people to donate within Facebook, 10% to 20% will donate.
The real KPI
The real KPI is total Euros raised to help the people who need your help.
Sometimes, in the 21st century, you should sacrifice the data to make that KPI go up.
Here are three examples from last December, where clients of ours have done this successfully.
€2,855 for Womens Aid - https://lnkd.in/dAntieg
€5,647 for Dogs Trust Ireland - http://bit.ly/2XqGMqH
€692 for Barnardos Ireland - http://bit.ly/2qfmR1U
The nitty gritty
Now that I’ve persuaded you to give this a pop, here are the exact steps you should take on the 20th of December at 11.30am:
1) Copy a gripping line that introduces the person and paste it into a new Facebook post
2) Copy and paste 3 to 5 lines which summarise the difficulty they are facing, or one memorable aspect of it
3) Copy and paste the line before the final call-to-action
4) Put all of these sentences in inverted commas
5) Hit enter twice
6) Type the name of the signatory on the direct mail piece
7) Hit enter twice
8) Copy and paste the final call-to-action
9) Click 'Support charity' and select your charity
10) Click 'Boost post'
11) Select 'People who like your page' as the Audience.
12) Select 5 days as the Duration
13) Select €50 as your Total budget (If your audience is larger than 20,000 people, you can spend more on this.)
14) Click 'Set budget'
15) Click 'Share now'
The nitty gritty for Concern Worldwide
To help you execute this, I’ve gone to my former employer’s website, found their Christmas Appeal and went through all of the steps above.
It’s a walk-through and a talk-through and I think you’ll find it helpful.
If you don’t have time to watch the video, here’s a screenshot of what the post looked like (on our FB page):
If you’re up for it
If you’re feeling enthused, this is what I’d go for via Facebook and Email, if was working for your charity.
I’d take a different image and aspect of the direct mail pack and create a second appeal.
- Facebook donate post on December 20th, 11.30am, boosted for 4 days.
- Email appeal on December 21st, 9am
- Facebook donate post no. 2 on December 24th, 9am, boosted for 2 days.
- Email appeal on December 24th, 9am
If this works for you…
The only thing I ask is that you send a screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And next Christmas we’ll inspire even more fundraising teams to raise money on Facebook.