Free NTEN Programming!

, Monday, November 3rd, 2014

We’re thrilled to be a sponsor for NTEN’s Member Appreciation Month (MAM) this November. Every year, NTEN says thank you to its member community of nonprofit professionals committed to using technology for social change by offering a full month of free programming and prizes exclusively for NTEN Members, plus special local events and content. If you’re not an NTEN Member, you can learn more and join today just in time for the celebration at!  (I’ve been a member for 10 years. If you’re not a member yet, join today — it’s totally worth it.)

Kick off the celebration today, Nov 3rd, with NTEN’s 2014 Year In Review: Community Impact webinar and hear from NTEN staff and Community who will share their experiences and highlights from 2014; then look forward at what’s ahead for 2015. Check out the full list of upcoming webinars and register. All November webinars are free for NTEN Members.

Win a prize! NTEN will be giving away daily prizes, and special prizes for members actively engaged in the community. They are giving away a mini digital engagement audit to a lucky NTEN Member, so stay tuned to the NTEN blog and #ntenthanks hashtag for each day’s winners.

Learn more about MAM and join the celebration on the event page:


Beaconfire is Honored to Be Part of a Pioneering New Institute and Memorial in Cambodia

, Monday, October 27th, 2014

Beaconfire is honored to be a part of a new institution and genocide memorial underway in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. The Sleuk Rith Institute is the vision of human rights activist and investigator of the Khmer Rouge atrocities, Youk Chhang. “We have to live with a long, dark shadow,” says Chhang. “We cannot escape it, but we shouldn’t be enslaved by it. I want the institute to bring something new and hopeful, and get us out of the mindset of being victims.”

Focused on reflection, healing and reconciliation, the stunning architecture was designed by world renowned architect Zaha Hadid. Beaconfire was honored to design and build the organization’s web site. The website’s immersive design is meant to showcase the unique vision and breath taking architecture. Learn more about this bold and ambitious new project at  “The website is just so beautiful,” says Chhang. “It allows the Institute to have a positive footprint around the globe.”

Sleuk Rith Institute

Sleuk Rith Institute

Sleuk Rith Institute

Haul out the Holly – Winning Holiday Fundraising Strategies

, Friday, October 10th, 2014

My colleague Jen and I recently presented a webinar entitled “The Top Five Principles: What successful non-profits know about holiday fundraising.”

We haven’t even broken out the Halloween candy yet, but many non-profits are already highly focused on year end fundraising and with very good reason. Almost 50 percent of our clients’ digital fundraising dollars are realized in November and December.

The presentation covered what we consider to be the top five principles the nation’s best digital fundraisers practice to ensure a prosperous holiday season. What do we see differentiating the best from the rest?

  1. Preparation – set goals, strategies, KPI’s
  2. Activation – define segmentation, use conditional content, optimize donor form
  3. Acquisition – use of paid search and display to find qualified donors
  4. Testing  – conduct A/B, multivariate, pre-flight tests
  5.  Measurement – leverage donor dashboards, google analytics, lifetime value

The webinar includes some high-performing creative examples and multiple tips that you can put into practice today.

What are the head scratching questions your organization is grappling with this season?  Let us know and we’ll give you our best answer.

We’re hiring! Beaconfire is searching for a marketing-savvy digital client manager to join our award-winning team. Apply today.

Want a 66% Lift On Your Action Rates?

, Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Today everyone is busy and impatient. A study from University of Massachusetts Amherst found the average user will give a video two seconds to load before ditching it. Organizations trying to engage users through e-mail face the same challenge. Each time a user has to make the conscious decision to take action it reduces the likelihood they will ultimately do so. Every click matters.

Our job as online organizers is not only to tell a compelling story to engage supporters on an issue, but give them the most frictionless path for taking action.

The typical e-mail campaign requires that your supporters take 3 distinct actions.

1. Be invested enough in your organization and the subject to open and read your e-mail.
2. Be motivated enough by your copy to click a link.
3. Care enough about the issue to complete your landing page form and click submit.

What if I told you we could cut out a step? Think it would have a big impact on your campaign’s action rates? Guess what? We can and it did!

EmailOn a recent Feeding America advocacy campaign, we were able to use Convio’s action APIs and some creative e-mail design to give active supporters a two-step process.

1. Be invested enough in Feeding America and the subject to open and read the e-mail.
2. Be motivated enough by the copy to submit the form directly from the e-mail body.
3. [nothing else]

Yes, that’s right. Supporters who have previously taken action with Feeding America were able to view and complete the landing page form directly from the e-mail. We assumed that this would have a big impact on the campaign, however, we like to test all of our assumptions and ran this campaign as a 50/50 split test. The result was overwhelming. The two-step campaign outperformed the control (three-step) campaign by 66%.

That’s a tremendous lift for such a small change. We’re still digging into the test data, but in my opinion there were two factors at play here. One is the reduction of friction. By removing the landing page step, Feeding America essentially turned every click into an action. It eliminates the typical drop you’ll see from your Click Rate to your Action Rate. However, that alone can’t entirely account for a 66% lift. In my opinion the other driver of the lift was the visual cue supporters got by actually seeing the landing page form in the body of the e-mail. It is more eye catching and engaging than even the best worded hyperlink text could be.

We’re going to continue to test out this capability and will undoubtedly learn more along the way, so stay tuned for further updates. In the meantime, if you are interested in trying out a two-step action with your list, contact us and we’ll be happy to talk through how we can leverage this ability to increase your action rates as well.