October 19, 2009

Highlights from new report on online campaigns

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Amy Sample WardAs I announced recently, Advocacy Online and Fairsay have jointly produced a benchmark report to examine key e-campaigning performance measures. The benchmark data is derived from the activity of over 2 million supporters from 50 campaigning organizations in the UK, Canada, and several other countries. In addition to the benchmark data, the project also includes an e-campaigning survey that has been carried by Jess Day, an independent e-campaigning consultant. (I also referenced the report in my latest presentation slides about social media use by individuals in nonprofit organizations.)

The report, titled “2009 eCampaigning Review Insights & Benchmarks,” was released this past week at an event in London (and via webcast). I want to share some of the highlights from the launch presentations of Duane Raymond and Jess Day, but if you want to skip ahead to the download, you can scroll to the bottom.

Report highlights

65% of actions reviewed in the report asked people to add their own message (whether this was a petition, or post, etc.). This is great because letting your supporters personalize or otherwise get more involved in your actions will only help build a commitment to the outcome of your campaign or action as well as encourage your supporters to ask their friends or colleagues to participate as well.

Only 43% of actions linked to background information. People may worry that if someone clicks on an action button, say, on your home page, and then you provide them links to more information about the topic of the action, that they will click away and never actually complete the action. Nope. People may want more background information but that’s because they are interested! Most all of the actions reviewed in the report that even those that did link to background information, those pages didn’t link back to the action. That’s why people aren’t completing the action. Remember to link to actions from everywhere on your site that is related to the action!

Resources or capacity are still an issue — the big organizations do better with online actions. This isn’t really a surprise as bigger organizations naturally have more people/staff and time, technical capacity and so on (many groups working on advocacy have only a couple people vs a large organization with hundreds).

58% of the actions scored full marks for visibility within their websites. That’s not a very high number for succeeding at visibility of actions on the one space online you have complete control: your own website.  There are lots of places where actions could be included to be more visible, like the above note of including them on background information (or blog posts!).

11% of campaigns had no target (meaning, “join the campaign”).  Be sure that if you are just trying to get supporters, or grow your list of interested people who could sign a petition or do other actions later on in your campaign or work, that you create an action that isn’t seen as empty or short term (literally just “we want your email”).

37% of the actions did not generate a thank you email after taking action; 74% sent poor quality thank you emails; and 69% do not send a follow up email within one month of a supporter taking action. This is bad news! After someone donates, signs up or completes any other action for your organization is prime time for providing relevant follow-up options to get more involved, learn more, or support your organization/campaign in other ways.

50% of organizations had databases that included 40% or more of inactive supporters. It doesn’t help your cause to have people in your database that aren’t really there.  Provide ways for people to update their contact information or change their email address.

“If you stand back from the survey data these is one very clear message: strategic personalization and targeting are on a level of sophistication that many groups are still struggling to reach.” This means specifically working on segmenting your database and testing messages.  Track your supporters’ actions to know who you should target for which actions and when.  Succeeding at this, though, isn’t reliant on the tools but staff time and knowledge about how to do it.

Download reports

Visit the Advocacy Online website for more details and downloads.

  • Advocacy Online summary document: download [PDF]
  • benchmark data (author:  Duane Raymond): download [PDF]
  • e-action review (author:  Jess Day): download [PDF]
  • e-campaigning survey (author:  Jess Day): download [PDF]

Amy Sample Ward connects nonprofits with new media technologies. See her business profile, contact Amy or leave a comment.

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One thought on “Highlights from new report on online campaigns

  1. Wow, there is a wealth of information in this post and take aways for charities, nonprofits and associations. Thanks for boiling the information down to the highlights Amy.