At Bridge: Testing…1, 2, 3

In fundraising, if you have something that works, you don’t need to do anything else, right?  The money just prints itself month after month.  If only that were true, it would be margaritas by 4 every afternoon!

At the 2013 Bridge Conference I was lucky enough to attend “Don’t Test THAT… Test THIS” with Tiffany Neil, Tracy Lea and Jennifer Boland.

In a lively session (especially lively considering it began at 8:15 on a Thursday morning!), the speakers went over what variables to consider testing and what not to test in order to manage your resources most efficiently.

The key takeaway?  Test one hypothesis and ensure the results can be repeated. And don’t go test crazy, test one or two things at a time to ensure the results can be repeated.

Here are a few other specific suggestions:

In the digital world…

  • Testing button color, button cap, and variation? Copy color? None of these are difference makers in the speakers’ opinions.
  • Testing different images in the digital space?  Go for it!
  • Don’t just test “what” in emails but also test “when,” by considering different times of the day and different days to send an email…
  • And of course don’t forget to consider that more and more people are reading their emails over mobile devices—adjust your layouts accordingly

In the mail…

  • Testing copy color isn’t a winner for direct mail. Keep color copy in the normal range and concentrate on other variables…
  • Phrasing and language are great things to test.  One of the simplest phrases that worked for them was adding, “supporter since” to a package.
  • The response device is an excellent place for testing…

Perhaps the most important thing to take from this session was that when you test, do it across all channels—direct mail, digital and telemarketing—and remain consistent to find what works and what can push results even higher.


– Posted by Kurt Thurber

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