Digital fundraising jargon at a glance
Looking to refresh your nonprofit’s digital fundraising strategy? No doubt you’ll be scanning the landscape for digital disruptions, evaluating progress against your KPIs, analyzing the CTC and CPC of your latest A/B split tests and calculating event ROIs. Sound confusing? It’s meant to. We all love to play a bit of buzzword bingo, but when it comes to digital fundraising, the terminology and jargon can be overwhelming. Don’t panic though. In this blog, we’ll shed some light on the key digital marketing terms we think every fundraiser should know.
First up, it’s time to talk about…
- Digital disruption: It’s happened to the best of us. In today’s world, the digital landscape is changing so fast it can be hard to keep up. Feeling the pain? It sounds like you’ve been digitally disrupted. From social media to virtual events and contactless donations, digital disruption is the impact we feel when a revolutionary innovation succeeds. Our advice? Get ahead of the game. Be the disruptor. Work with your team to seek out (and leverage) new opportunity from upcoming innovations.
Looking to take that next step? Make sure you’ve got the basics down first, like…
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The holy grail of your online presence, SEO is the process of optimizing your organization’s website (or page) so that it can be found easily – and rank highly – on the likes of Google. It’s a huge topic that is constantly evolving.
- Keywords: These are the words people use to find you, and the road signs Google reads to direct traffic to your site. Don’t just use the first five words that pop into your head. To lock down the right keywords you need to take a step back and think about the search terms people use. Once you’ve got these, plug them into a keyword researcher and check out the volume (estimated number of searches each month) and difficulty (competition) for each one.
- Longtail: Remember, when it comes to keywords, high search volumes are not always the answer. In fact, these keywords are so broad and the difficulty rating so high, that it’s almost impossible to hit top spot. To overcome this, you need to narrow your terms and travel down the ‘longtail’. Instead of optimizing your website for ‘Nonprofit’ try ‘Nonprofit Denver’. It might be a less popular search, but this longtail keyword will yield better results.
Looking to take the next step? Perhaps it’s time to explore…
- Pay per click (PPC): Also known as ‘cost per click’ (CPC), PPC is the amount an organization pays per click on their ad. In flat-rate models, the client will agree to pay a fixed price, with rates increasing with perceived ad value. Bid-based models (such as those used by Google ad grants for nonprofits) run a bit like an auction, with organizations ‘bidding’ on particular keywords to place their ad and setting a maximum amount they are willing to pay per click.
- Quality score: Linked to the above, your score is based on the quality of your organization’s google ads, keywords, and associated landing pages. A key part of Google’s PPC bidding process, the higher your organization’s quality score, the more likely your ad is to rank first. Sound complicated? Google shows you how to check your score here.
- Click-through rates (CTR): Key to understanding the success of any nonprofit digital fundraising campaign, your CTR is a percentage measure of link clicks as a result of a digital ad or call to action. The formula is pretty simple. Just divide the number of impressions by the number of clicks and multiply by 100. The higher your percentage, the more impactful your campaign or ad!
- A/B split testing: An important part of the digital transformation process, A/B split testing is a great way to evaluate the success of digital tools, refine, and optimize their usage. The premise is pretty simple. To do a split test, you need to create two versions of the same digital element (think Google ads, social media ads, and even an online call to action) but with one variation and randomly expose your audience to both to see how the user responds to the variant. Look at the data behind each test and keep working up, re-testing, and refining the ones that are proven to bring the most success.
Feeling confident, why not get creative with…
- A single customer view: A good digital communications strategy will work across multiple channels. Don’t just replicate the same material across each platform. If you do this, a single person may end up seeing the same message, in the same way, several times. That’s far from ideal. A single-customer view recognizes this fact and puts that one individual at the center of their communications strategy. Understanding the demographic, motivation, and online behavior of that individual will make it easier to develop a content plan and strategy that inspires engagement.
- User-generated content (UGC): Doing exactly what it says, UGC is a catch-all term for any type of content that is created and shared by your users. UGC is a great way of generating inspired content without blowing the budget.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): The use of machines to help people solve complex, time-consuming or repetitive challenges. Its application is far-ranging, but typically involves a computer that refers to programmed data to make decisions. Online chatbots are a great example of AI technology, as they can be trained (programmed) to understand questions, provide answers and even perform simple tasks.
Whatever you do, be sure to monitor your…
- Analytics: Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google, you will be surprised by how much information each platform offers. Use it. Analytics are the key to understanding the online behaviors that drive digital fundraising success.
- Key performance indicators (KPI): Fundraising doesn’t just happen, it’s a continual process of learning and evolution. KPIs are markers on the road to success – key metrics by which your nonprofit’s digital fundraising campaign is measured and evaluated.
- Return on investment (ROI): Calculating your ROI is a great way to understand the success of any digital fundraiser. To do this, you need to work out how much your event raised. Then you need to calculate event profit by subtracting the investment figure from your fundraising total (remember to include direct costs and staff time). To understand your ROI, divide this figure by the total amount spent, and multiply by 100.
There you have it. Take away the acronyms and the world of digital fundraising becomes far more accessible. But this isn’t the end. When it comes to digital fundraising the nonprofit world is only just getting started. There is so much untapped potential and you’ll be surprised at just how accessible digital fundraising can be. Good luck!
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