Hey All–

This is my first post regarding 2009 Annual Fundraiser.  It’s been an interesting first three weeks — we’ve had some real success, and we’ve learned what was less successful.  With a huge goal this year, we were very ambitious with our plans:

1) Host our own credit card payment processing.  We felt that many of our donors preferred to use credit cards directly, rather than being shuttled off-site, to donate.
2) Create a new look and feel that more closely resembled the Wiki user experience.  We wanted our donors to feel comfortable giving in a familiar environment.
3) Work with outside marketing/communications support from Fenton Communications and SeaChange Strategies on our messaging, design, and strategy.
4) Allow our chapters to fundraise more successfully in their countries.  For that we introduced a GEO IP location system allowing some donors to see chapter specific donation pages.
5) An aggressive matching gift program to encourage higher value gifts.  Omidyar Network offered to match gifts from $100 to $10,000 this year, up to $500,000.
6) Numerous smaller improvements, like mobile giving, social media outreach, and various cool stuff to come.

Thankfully, all those systems are working well (but not perfectly).  As I write this, we have had a successful run (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Special:FundraiserStatistics) over the last two weeks.  The blue lines are the 2007 totals, the green are the 2008 totals, and the orange are 2009 totals by day of the fundraiser.  Hold your mouse over any bar to see the exact dates, number of donors, and donation totals for each day.

Much like last year, we continue to test many different elements to find ways to appeal to our donors.  During the fundraiser, we will be (and have been) testing the following elements:

  • Site Notice messaging (Personal Appeal vs. Slogans vs. Emotional vs. Statistical etc.)
  • Site Notice text, bolding, font size, placement.
  • Thermometer vs. No Thermometer
  • Donate Button vs. No Donate Button
  • Landing Pages
  • Ask Strings
  • Personal Appeals
  • And much more.

Each test takes time and technical effort to implement and track and we will attempt to provide detail into those tests as we can.

We largely finished our testing of ask strings on our landing pages.

This landing page has an ask string starting with $35 and going up to $100.
This one has an ask string starting with $250 and going down to $35.

We tested these compared these significantly during the first few weeks.  We noticed that the page with the larger ask string had about a $1 higher average donation with about the same number of transactions.

I hope to be able to share more of our findings about our other landing pages (Change the World and 5 Facts) and site notices (Wikipedia Needs You, Wikipedia Forever, & others) later in the month.

Rand Montoya, Head of Community Giving