By Ralf Beuker, with collaboration from Justin Perkins
As you might see in a few magazines and blogs, the term “Design Thinking,” is a new approach to decision making and problem solving, usually applied to management theory. While I will not bother you with the details of this stream of thinking (you can read more about this here, here and here), I’d like to share some thoughts about the link between design, decision making, communications, and a stunning flash video making a bold statement about the US engagement in the Iraq Conflict.
The American people can send loud and clear messages to the government, and when they do, officials are often responsive. Last August, a draft of policies and rules for National Parks was leaked that emphasized commercialization, tourism, and motorized recreation within the parks. In response, more than 50,000 people commented on the proposed changes in the management style of the National Park Service, including a petition from Care2 and The Wilderness Society that was signed by over 11,000 people. These outcries put an end to the possibility of any radical changes.
Through this experience, Americans now realize not only that they cannot take their parks for granted, but how powerful they can be within our democracy when they have a consensus opinion and take action.
Self-review isn't always easy--it's hard to let go of a good idea on your website, even if the idea doesn't generate good results. However, in the article "Online Fundraising: the Weight of the World Rests on Understanding Your Organization's Web Stats," Liz Murphy of Redboots Fundraising reminds us that whether you're selling the latest styles or an important cause, the customer is always right.
As much as direct marketers pay close attention to response rates from mailing, nonprofits who use internet marketing must find ways to track how effectively they are convincing visitors to donate, sign petitions, download information, or do whatever else it may be that the nonprofit wants them to do (Murphy calls this the conversion rate). Not all designs are created equally, either: "I've seen donation-page conversion rates from a low of 0.5 percent (the site had problems) to a high of 17 percent for optimized sites. For relief organizations collecting donations for the recent Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, that number shot up to 30 percent." Basically... well... the weight of the world rests on understanding your web stats.
Are you all already doing this? Any advice or questions?
Care2 and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund recently celebrated Earth Day with a bang – we gathered over 100,600 activists for a "Virtual March to Leave NO Species Behind." One of the hooks we used to encourage people to march, and especially to encourage people to invite their friends, was a special Activist Award – an iPod Nano with wildlife wrapper. Does advertising the award increase CTR's? Does it increase friends invited? Could the results be tied to cognitive dissonance? Read on...
It has commonly been assumed that including a related image in a fundraising appeal or action alert would make it more effective. However, recent tests conducted by M+R Strategic Services show that images may not actually boost response rates or giving. Actually, they might undermine your cause.