Hi Till, thanks very much. Would you please document these good fundraising
practices in the Learning Patterns Library?
On May 11, 2015 2:12 AM, "Till Mletzko" <till.mletzko(a)wikimedia.de>
We just released our new WMDE fundraising report. See the detailed
There is also an executive summary of the report on the movement blog:
From € 700,00 to € 8,200,000 in less than five years. That is an
astonishing development. But fundraising is not just about money.
Fundraising at Wikimedia Deutschland, and across the entire Wikimedia
movement, not only helps us achieve financial goals, it also helps raise
awareness for our mission. We reach several million people each day
during our fundraising campaign in Germany, making ours the most
successful online campaign in the country. With the help of a systematic
strategy and comprehensive A/B tests, we have managed to increase our
annual fundraising campaign revenue by more than ten times in just five
years. This success is the result of a data-driven approach that focuses
primarily on donors and their behavior.
This Fundraising Report reviews the findings gathered from our latest
campaign and assesses how our work has developed over recent years.
Thanks to extensive A/B tests and the technical infrastructure that we
have built up over the years, we are constantly and systematically
collecting data and insights. This allows us to analyze the behavior and
payment methods of donors, which in turn helps us to plan and
continually improve our campaigns. We have identified five main factors
that contribute towards fundraising success at Wikimedia Deutschland,
and this report discusses them in detail.
*Five factors of successful banners*
1. Relevance: No association, no donation. Our results show that a
personal appeal in banners, the use of key words, and particularly
references to current events make our appeals more relevant and
therefore more persuasive to potential donors.
2. Visibility is something one has to fight hard for. The time span we
have in which to draw attention to our message is very short. This
Fundraising Report presents findings relating to when is the best time
for the banner to appear and analyzes various design decisions,
including color scheme.
3. Closer to the reader: If there is one thing that the entire donation
process should be–from reading the appeal through to completing a
donation – it’s straightforward. The fewer clicks required, the better.
This fact is nothing new, and it certainly does not only apply to us,
but this report will explain the concrete application of this knowledge
in the creation of successful banners.
4. Donation obstacles should be kept to a minimum. Two findings in
particular have emerged from our previous years’ work: Firstly,
including suggested donation amounts on the banner has proven to provide
effective guidance for donors. The lower the sum, the higher the number
of people who donate–and the overall success of a campaign is greater
when more donors give smaller amounts. Secondly, the option to donate
anonymously is very important to many donors.
5. Raising the campaign profile: It pays to communicate fundraising
goals and show the progress of donations. In 2014 in particular we saw
how effective the creation of dramatic moments within a campaign can be.
This report also touches on a surprising topic: the principle of “social
proof” demonstrates how the behavior of a group can motivate others to
act in the same way, yet Wikimedia Deutschland’s fundraising campaign
made good use of the reverse of this effect.
Looking back, the five factors all played a crucial role in the success
of our campaigns; and looking ahead, their importance for the
international movement stretches far beyond monetary matters. We should
all see fundraising as the start of a relationship – one that requires
continuous care and attention.
*Fundraising is not about banners only*
Our goal for the future is to persuade donors to become long-term
supporters of free knowledge and the Wikimedia movement. This report
provides a glimpse into our strategy on how to maintain and consolidate
our donor relationships, which are built on three main pillars: regular
contact, targeted appeals, and personal dialogue–all things that are not
possible through communication via banners alone. This report discusses
the enormous benefits that stand to be gained from attracting long-term
support for the Wikimedia mission.
Using the example of donation certificates, this report will show how we
benefit from taking the wishes and expectations of donors seriously. Our
postal and electronic mailings are proof of how target-group-specific
content and communication strategies can ensure long-term success. The
fundamental importance of a well-functioning customer service team
should also not be overlooked. During the last fundraising campaign in
Germany, for example, we received hundreds of calls and answered well in
excess of 5,000 e-mails. Contact is therefore not merely an additional
service; it is the very basis of future relationships.
Looking ahead to future challenges, the report ends with a call to
intensify donor relationships, to focus on donors’ needs, and to further
diversify fundraising communications.
(see the detailed report here:
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