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8 Free Tools for Nonprofits to Mobilize Supporters

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Published March 15, 2016 Reading Time: 4 minutes
You go to work each day to achieve lasting change for your cause and make the world a better place. You have the passion—but do you have the time to understand, reach, and motivate supporters?

I feel you. That’s why my team and I at M+R have built a shed of free tools to help you engage your community.

Want to find Twitter handles for reporters who cover health or LGBTQ issues? There’s a tool for that. Want contact info for opinion editors at major newspapers? We’ve got a database. Need to check the statistical significance of difference in response rates for email variants with a “Chi-Squared Test”? No problem.

Below are some free tools for nonprofits that help do all of those things and more.

1. Social Media Calisthenics

What it is: A daily workout for social media managers.

Why you should use it: Your nonprofit’s Facebook page is a quadricep and your tweets are squats. To keep your social media presence growing and strong, there are exercises you should do each day. This colorful sheet lists daily best practices that will help you strengthen your community of followers. Print it out and tape it on the wall by your desk so that it’ll be just a glance away.

2. Benchmark Yourself

What it is: Do you want to know how your nonprofit’s online fundraising and advocacy efforts are performing against industry standards? This tool will tell you, AND make you a custom infographic.

Why you should use it: Metrics matter. Although every organization is unique, it’s important to know how your annual email appeals or social media growth rates compare to other groups in your nonprofit sector. It can help you make changes to your strategy so you can raise more money and drive more actions online next year.

3. Twitter Media Lists

What it is: This is a collection of lists of the top reporters on Twitter who are writing and tweeting about different causes including: the environment, international development, health, education, faith, LGBT, transportation, justice and SCOTUS, reproductive rights, philanthropy, and guns and immigration.

Why you should use it: Twitter is a manic and magic place. These lists help you focus on the right reporters so you can be the first to know when news breaks on your topic. You can (and should) also engage with these reporters on Twitter to build your organization’s presence and be more top of mind when events occur and they need a quote.

4. Opinion Page Yellow Pages

What it is: This is a list of up-to-date email addresses for opinion editors at 30 top media outlets.

Why you should use it: There are always new influential opinion editors on the scene, and good media list databases are too expensive for many nonprofits. This hub of contact information frees you up to spend time writing a brilliant piece instead of figuring out who to send it to.

5. Chi-Square Test

What it is: This test will help you find out whether your A/B tests are statistically significant—or, in other words, how confident you should be with your winning variation and whether the change is worth implementing.

Why you should use it: Let’s say you ran a test to see if adding a call-out-box to an email helps increase conversions. After you split your group randomly and send out your test, you see that the call-out-box version had a response rate of 3 percent and the other had 2.9 percent. You’ll want to know if the difference in response rates between the two versions is large enough, or if the difference is only due to chance. You should run a chi-square test to see if you can detect a statistically significant difference in those averages. Once you know that, then you’ll have a better idea of whether to keep the call-out-box.

6. T-Test

What it is: This test will help you find out if the difference in your average gift is statistically significant.

Why you should use it: What if you ran a test on the suggested giving levels on your donation page? The original page asks for “$20, $40, or $80.” You want to see if bumping up those amounts to “$25, $50, and $100” will encourage people to give larger gifts. The results show that the same percent of people gave to each version, but the new suggested amounts have an average gift of $47, compared to the original average gift of $45. The test version seems higher, but is it high enough to know with confidence that it is the better option? You should run a t-test to see if there is a statistically significant difference in the average gifts from each version. If there is, use the dollar amounts that lead to increased giving rates on your donation page.

7. Revenue per Recipient Test

What it is: This test evaluates both the response rate and average gift on two different email versions, at the very same time.

Why you should use it: Say you’re curious about low dollar asks (“donate just $5!”). This is the kind of ask that has an impact on response rate AND average gift. You send an email to half of your audience and, instead of the usual ask for any donation amount, you ask for $5. The $5 ask will certainly have a lower average gift, but it might also have a higher response rate. That means that the $5 ask could be the “winner” in a chi-square test, and the “loser” in a t-test. You have a conundrum. This is where the “Revenue per Recipient” test steps in. This test takes into account both the average gift and the response rate of you emails, and it will let you decide if there was a statistically significant difference in both.

8. If This Then Totally That / IFTTTT

What it is: Whether you need an email, press, or social media tool to get a job done, this interactive digest of tools can help you figure out just what you need to do it.

Why you should use it: The Internet is full of tools for the taking, but the sheer number of ones out there can make it hard to find what you’re looking for. Select the type of tool you need and what you need to do with it. This gadget will pop out the right option just for you.

I know, that was a lot of info to digest, but luckily you can find all of the tools I talked about in one place: The M+R Toolshed

This is a guest post by Katie Andriulli, a senior strategist at M+R, where she helps organizations design and implement integrated media and social media campaigns. Her Netflix queue is impeccably curated.

Communications Strategy Guide for Nonprofits

Communications Strategy Guide for Nonprofits

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