8 Things We Learned About Marketing and Fundraising in 2015

So much of marketing and fundraising is fluid

By eleventy marketing group

So much of marketing and fundraising is fluid. It’s constantly changing, subtly zigging and zagging in different directions, and turning over new leaves. Usually it’s only when we look back on a period of a time as a whole (like a year) that we see the signposts and trends emerge.

With that in mind, here is an octet of top takeaways from the past 12 months…

1. Facebook ad targeting offers a precise and powerful way to reach people

With the ability to target users based on useful, telling and specific criteria, smart marketers tapped into the power of Facebook advertising like never before in 2015. A great example comes from the presidential race, where the Ben Carson campaign used Facebook ads to great effect. Read more about Facebook ad targeting

Facebook Advertising

2. Responsive website design is now a must thanks to Google

With people viewing your website from all sorts of different devices these days, having a site design that responds to the screen size has made practical sense for a while. But this year Google made it a necessity by incorporating it into their search algorithm. Learn more about Google’s focus on mobile-friendliness

Google Mobile Friendly Test

3. Facebook will soon become more valuable to fundraisers

To great applause from nonprofits, Facebook has started testing out a couple new features that could be huge fundraising assets: individual fundraiser pages and an improved donate button that doesn’t require people to leave the site. Get more on Facebook’s new fundraising features

New Facebook Fundraisers Pages

4. Direct mail is gaining ground with younger audiences

The 2015 DMA Statistical Fact Book included a number of surprising statistics about direct mail. Some of the most notable are that spending on data for direct mail is on the rise, and response to mail pieces by 18-21 year olds rose from 4.1% in 2012 to 12.4% in 2013. See more direct mail stats from the DMA

Response to direct mail piece by age

5. Americans are willing, able and ready to give to nonprofits

The Giving USA 2015 report showed that charitable giving reached record heights in 2014—which is very good news after the rocky times giving endured following the 2008 recession. So the dollars are there, now it’s up to nonprofits to build those strong connections. Check out more stats from the Giving USA 2015 report

Total Giving 2004-2014

6. Nonprofit retention rates need some serious work

Retention has always been a key focus for nonprofits, but new numbers that emerged in 2015 show a troubling industry trend: Donor loss is offsetting donor acquisition. Nonprofits need to make donor retention a top priority moving forward. See more figures from the 2015 Fundraising Effectiveness Report

Every 100 donors gained in 2014 was offset by 103 lost donors

7. Most of your online forms probably need to some work too

While Web design and online marketing have evolved, online contact forms and donation forms have largely remained the same. That means they are bulky, requiring users to provide too much information or jump through too many hoops, and they don’t compel people to complete. Get tips for optimizing your online forms

Ghost Text Example

8. People share content online for several different (but common) reasons

A study from The New York Times in 2015 dug into the reasons people share content online and through social media. The findings are insightful for marketers looking to create more compelling content and inspire sharing. Read more about The Psychology of Sharing study

The Psychology of Sharing