At Virtuous, our top priority is to support nonprofits as they evolve to meet the demands of the modern donor. That means identifying generosity trends, researching new fundraising philosophies and adding new features to our products on a regular basis.
Recently, we released a tracking pixel called Web Listener to help our customers understand their donors more accurately, using real-time website behavior data. Here is a look at what we’ve learned so far. More importantly, read why we think using a tracking pixel is important for responsive fundraising.
What Is a Tracking Pixel? An Overview of the Virtuous Web Listener for Nonprofits
The best way to see the value of a tracking pixel is to look at your current website traffic. Every day, thousands of individuals visit your site hoping to learn something new or give to your cause. While you may know the raw numbers of visitors down to the page level, can you identify the individuals that make up those numbers? Without a tracking pixel, the answer is probably no.
To put it simply, a tracking pixel is a small piece of code that you add to your website. It compiles information from each website visitor and files it away for the future. It works even if the person’s information isn’t currently in your nonprofit CRM. When a user provides their contact information, the Virtuous Web Listener will use the behavior information it has stored over time to add context to their donor profile. Now, instead of starting from scratch when you add a new contact to your CRM, you know much more. You can see what they’re interested in, what they already know and how best to engage them authentically.
Increase Nonprofit Fundraising Using a Tracking Pixel
It’s no secret that donors favor online engagements and donations. Of course, offline engagements are valuable as well. But when it comes to quickly finding information quickly or giving a gift, your website is an essential tool to serve donors. Fortunately, tracking online behavior is also incredibly important to the health of your fundraising and development efforts.
A tracking pixel gives you full transparency into website behavior, down to the donor. You’ll know exactly where each person came to your website from. You can see what pages they visited before and after their gift. You can also establish the most important conversion points at each stage of the donor journey. In fact, the Web Listener will help you refine the donor journey for each persona so that you grow giving faster.
For our customers, installing the Web Listener is a simple process that takes only about 5 minutes. Once installed, the web listener pairs information with what you know from social media, email and direct mail engagements, to provide a full picture of your donors’ interests at scale. With the intelligence provided by Web Listener, you have more data to improve fundraising strategies, resulting in better donor relationships and ultimately greater overall giving levels.
How a Nonprofit Can Use A Tracking Pixel to Increase Revenue
When setting up the Virtuous Web Listener, your team must be clear on what data the pixel will provide and what it will enable them to do with it — particularly with your responsive fundraising strategies.
Pixel data will allow you to make a little more sense of what people are doing on your site and then provide suggested next steps for them to take that aligns with their interests. Following are some examples.
Understanding donor behavior, and what motivates it, is the most critical piece of successful responsive fundraising. Knowing which actions your donors will take based on each engagement will help you be more efficient and effective. Data from the Virtuous Web Listener will help you get there.
Use the trends you see in the data to create an automation workflow for each of your donor engagements. For example, you may notice that after a phone call from one of your reps, donors are most likely to give within 24 hours. You can use that information to add a task to send an email to those individuals 3 hours after the call. Not only are you ensuring that you connect with people when they are most inspired, but you’re also capturing the attention of donors who might be too busy to seek your donation page themselves. The result is more generosity, and also additional opportunities to gather data.
You might find, through the Virtuous Web Listener, that 65% of donors want to donate within the 24 hour window of a rep call. That still leaves 35% of people who need the next best action from your nonprofit. Your team still needs ways to activate and invigorate these people so that when it is time to make an appeal, they feel as connected, informed and inspired as they did when the call ended.
When you focus your attention on the specific behaviors and actions you want donors to take after each engagement, it’s easy to know exactly what to track with your Virtuous Web Listener. Your reporting becomes more purposeful, actionable and valuable to your fundraising efforts.
Donor Persona Suggestions
While every donor carries a unique set of values and motivations for supporting your nonprofit, there are broad themes that they share with each other. Those common themes could be how they like to give or how engaged they are or the level of transparency they require from your team. With information from your Web Listener, you are better able to categorize donors based on traits they share with your existing donor base.
For example, let’s assume you currently have 3 distinct donor personas. With data from the Web Listener, you notice that most of your younger, more passionate donors are quick to subscribe to your newsletter. Using website analytics, you can see them consuming content on your blog and sharing to their networks frequently. You also notice that they represent the fewest conversions on your giving page, especially from email appeals.
On the other hand, individuals in your middle-age, disengaged donor persona don’t usually engage with content or download any of your information assets. They will, however, give via email and direct mail appeals equally.
With that information, you can start to optimize your automation workflows to help inspire generosity more consistently from people, in the way they want to give. You can work to provide a constant flow of information and content to the younger, passionate donors that slowly encourages them to become a peer-to-peer fundraiser using their passions for social sharing.
Likewise, your data might encourage your team to send less direct mail pieces to those tagged as middle-age, disengaged donors because they will see any additional appeals as a waste of resources. Rather, you might want to create a comprehensive update to send every quarter with a single, personalized appeal to ensure high conversion for you and relevancy for donors.
Use your Web Listener as a way to understand both next best behaviors as well as best donor relationship strategies. Your team will be able to focus on improving the development strategies that work and won’t be bogged down by doing more work without meaningful results.
Finally, and most importantly, the types of generosity suggestions you send to your donors will be more effective with data pulled from your Web Listener. Responsive fundraisers know that not all generosity comes in the form of money. Donors will give much more frequently and passionately when they feel that you’re engaging them like a human. They don’t want to be treated like an ATM.
Using conversion metrics from your Web Listener, you can build more personalized donor relationships that bring the individuals closer to your cause with each engagement. We know that 63% of people think more positively of organizations when they see relevant, valuable and interesting content. To that end, responsive fundraisers have an entirely different philosophy on generosity. Of course, they must focus on earning the revenue that will help them do more good. However, they understand that the way to get there isn’t constant appeals based on what they need as fundraisers.
Instead, they use the donor signals supplied by their Web Listener, historical data and offline interactions to give more often than they receive from their donors. Rather than spending more time using tactics that aren’t working, they create strategic, meaningful engagements that pay off with increased generosity and lasting relationships.
Responsive Fundraising Strategies Using Tracking Pixel
To help provide immediate value to our customers, we’ve created a few responsive fundraising plays for you. Each will help you leverage the Virtuous Web Listener and grow giving. If you want to see how the Virtuous Web Listener and CRM can work for you, sign up for a demo right here.
1. Use The Virtuous Web Listener for Responsive Giving Pages
As we mentioned above, the Virtuous Web Listener’s primary objective was to help responsive fundraisers grow giving. Here is a responsive fundraising play you can use to optimize your giving pages based on data pulled from your Web Listener.
- Pull the conversion metrics of your current giving page based on the donor persona tags you’ve assigned to each person in your list.
- Identify the individuals who have visited your giving page in the last 3 months, but did not trigger the Web Listener.
- Research the emails and other content they’ve engaged with in the last 3 months to create an A/B test that speaks to what they’ve proven to respond to most often. Remember to include a dynamic gift array on the pages to ensure that the appeals make the most sense for each individual donor.
- Segment a sample 25% of the list to send an email appeal to. Make sure that each person in this sample list is sent to one of the two giving pages in your A/B test.
- After 8 hours, send the same email appeal to the remaining 75% of your list. This time, direct traffic to the giving page that converted the most donors based on the information provided by your Web Listener.
- Compare the performance of the winning giving page to the standard giving page performance. Try to identify ways that you can optimize each so that your overall giving rate improves based on your current traffic.
2. Update Your Website Experience for Donors Based on Tracking
Many nonprofits, not concerned with personalized donor experiences, structure their website to lead everyone to their giving page. While donations are your ultimate goal, there are numerous reasons an individual might visit your site. A responsive nonprofit works to make the experience as relevant and personalized as possible for every visitor.
It’s particularly important to change the experience of your website if the traffic is a known donor or subscriber. Here’s how you can leverage the Virtuous Web Listener to treat donors to a better experience.
- Take an inventory of all conversion forms on your website. Look at giving pages, contact forms, volunteer sign-ups, gated content and email newsletter subscription forms.
- Ensure that you’re taking advantage of progressive profiling features on your forms so that repeat submissions do not require the same answers from visitors.
- Use the Web Listener data to understand the journey of each person leading to the conversions you value most.
- Compare the conversion data to the page views and time on site analytics you pull from Google Analytics. Use the information to identify popular visitor journeys through your website.
- Search for ways to condense the number of page visits necessary for individuals. Give them what information they need before they convert in a more succinct flow. Test different ways to communicate that information. Ask yourself if you can provide a multimedia experience on your page so that you can direct visitors around your page.
- Test the new website experience against different donor tags. Try to understand who it’s working for and who still needs information differently.
- Set a goal to continue testing until you reach an ideal rate between website visits and conversions.
3. Plan Responsive Fundraising Automation Workflows for Better Engagement
Responsive fundraisers rely heavily on automation workflows in order to create the customized experiences their donors need at scale. Using what they learn from the donor signals, they are able to update the workflows. Optimized workflows make the experience better for thousands of donors at once, rather than one at a time.
Here’s how the Virtuous Web Listener can help you plan better automation workflows.
- Identify your most important goal and the ways in which your current workflows are performing against that goal. Let’s say, for this exercise, your goal is to decrease the time between a donor’s first and second goal.
- Take inventory of which workflows you’re currently using to affect this goal. Identify the engagement points with the lowest conversion rates. Remember, not every engagement should include an ask. Focus only one the communications that explicitly aim to get your donors to take an action.
- Look for website engagements post-conversion using information from your Web Listener and your web analytics. Look for the pages a person visits immediately after they leave the confirmation page. Consider the pages they’ve visited immediately before conversion.
- Create new workflows to deliver the information they’re seeking directly to each individual. Don’t rely on donors finding it on their own. Remember, responsive fundraising is about giving more than you ask.
- Compare the time to second conversion when you deliver the information against the time to second conversion when donors are seeking information out for themselves. Is there a donor segment that responds best? Are any donor segments responding with less enthusiasm?
- Regularly schedule time to analyze the performance of workflows. As your donor segments evolve and grow, their motivations, values and most important information will change. Don’t forget to optimize your automation workflows as often as necessary to avoid lapsed donors.
See How the Virtuous Web Listener Can Make You a Responsive Fundraiser
Start using the Virtuous Web Listener today. Schedule a demo with our team to learn the best use cases for your team and the kind of return you can expect from better donor relationships. We’ll give you all the information you need to increase your fundraising at scale.