Digital Fundraising Testing: 3 Steps to Innovation and Better Fundraising

We all know that incorporating testing into digital fundraising plans is important, but do you have a testing strategy and a clear understanding of what’s winning? Do you have a testing grid that is a repository for tests, results, and ideas? If not, then start one—we’ll show you how and provide a template. 

Testing is critical to innovation and improved results. Going through the process of populating a testing grid helps clarify what you are testing and why. It also helps you leverage insights on what’s working (or not working) so that you can continue to understand your audience better and increase your digital fundraising. 

So, what is a testing grid? It’s an excel spreadsheet where you keep a running record of tests and results. You can include email tests, donation page tests, ad tests, etc.

Use our testing grid template to create one for your organization. Note that this is just a starting place, you may need to add/delete columns to fit your needs.

How to Populate the Testing Grid

Step 1. Define the test. 

For an organization to have confidence in a test’s results, everyone must agree on why the test is important and what success should look like before the test is conducted. Defining the test, the test date, why you’re testing this parameter, and the success metric is a critical first step that ensures everyone is on board with the test and how it is being measured. 

Step 2. Setting up the test. 

The test needs to be statistically significant or the results won’t matter. There are lots of sample size calculators available online to help you understand how large your sample size needs to be. Then you can determine, based on your audience size, if you need a 10/10/80 or 50/50 email test and how long a donation page test or social test needs to run before you have enough visitors to be able to report results (coming up in step 3.)  

Step 3. Populate Results, Insights, and Next Steps. 

Results from email tests can be added 48 hours after the email send. Donation page tests can be measured once you’ve reached statistical significance. The timing will depend on the organization and how long it takes for the page to reach the right volume, but the best practice is to check on it once per week to see how it’s performing. Social media tests will also vary in timing—a weekly check is a good place to start.

You’ll probably have an official campaign report with all of the metrics, but the purpose of the testing grid is to keep it simple and insightful by including only the results of the predetermined success metric, key insights, and next steps. You might find it helpful to place images of variation A and B on a separate spreadsheet because a picture is worth a thousand words. 

You should start your testing grid today. Don’t worry about going back in time and adding past results, if you do then you’ll never get started (trust me, I’m guilty of this!) Just start. Then always be testing. Before each campaign, ask what you can test to help refine the results from the last test. There is always room for improvement. 

Start today. Keep it simple and insightful. Update continuously. 

Need some help with your digital fundraising testing strategy? Get in touch!

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