Two ways to win in testing

Direct-response testing is what makes fundraisers smart. Smarter than advertisers, who have nothing to go on but bogus, misleading research like surveys and focus groups.

You’ll get your money’s worth from testing by doing two kinds of testing:

Test big

Test things unlike you’ve ever done before. Test crazy ideas. Test new offers. Test those notions that everyone hates. That’s where the breakthroughs happen.

And you need breakthroughs. The fundraising that work best today will eventually fade. If you’ve been testing big, you have a much better chance of replacing your winners before they fade into losers.

When you test big, you learn even from failure: Near-misses can be revised into winners. Even big, fat, raspberry failures give you knowledge.

Test small

Testing small is much safer than testing big. It’s the way you squeeze another 5% or 10% more performance out of what’s already working. Starting with a strong package, you look for improvements, testing things like these:


  • Tinker with the amounts you ask and the way they’re arranged and expressed.
  • Change the size of the package
  • Change colors.
  • Add or remove elements.


Comments

2 responses to “Two ways to win in testing”

  1. I’m a big believer in testing. Here’s my struggle and I’d love advice. Virtually all the nonprofits I work with are really small grassroots orgs — list size of less than 1,000; in some cases just a couple hundred. What kind of testing can be done with such a small sample and yield legitimate results? Thanks!

  2. I’m a big believer in testing. Here’s my struggle and I’d love advice. Virtually all the nonprofits I work with are really small grassroots orgs — list size of less than 1,000; in some cases just a couple hundred. What kind of testing can be done with such a small sample and yield legitimate results? Thanks!

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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