We’re beginning a new series of interviews with some of EveryAction’s consulting partners across the country. This month, Michael Stein talks with Ira Horowitz, who is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Cornershop Creative, which couples an innovative approach to web design with a genuine affinity for progressive nonprofits. They offer services in visual design, user experience, custom Web development, CRM integration and WordPress maintenance. With more than 15 years’ experience, Ira is an expert in nonprofit online communications and online fundraising. His work has resulted in increased funds and resounding supporter engagement for hundreds of organizations. Cornershop has earned the trust of some amazing organizations, including several on EveryAction such as Union of Concerned Scientists, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Center for Food Safety, Jews United for Justice, and Peace Action. Learn more about Cornershop Creative at https://cornershopcreative.com/.
Michael Stein: Has your team recovered from year-end 2019 yet?
Ira Horowitz: Almost! At Cornershop, our clients had another remarkable year of fundraising. While we’re still analyzing final data from December, we do know that Giving Tuesday and early December fundraising increased by more than 50% for Cornershop clients where we assisted with fundraising! It’s clear to us that there is still room to grow in the digital fundraising channel, both at year-end but also all year-round.
Michael: There was a lot of excitement about mobile fundraising in 2019. How did that impact engagement and fundraising for your nonprofit clients, and what does that promise for 2020?
Ira: Mobile engagement has become a game-changing issue for almost all the nonprofits we work with. With email campaigns, we’ve worked hard to improve email templates to simplify readability on smaller screens and for people on-the-go. Simplicity aids in easier consumption of key messaging and facilitating easier, faster action. Donation forms also have had to be improved to facilitate mobile giving. A one-size-fits-all donation form isn’t going to cut it anymore. Introducing more payment options like ApplePay, Venmo, and GooglePay are making giving easier and increasing revenue. Mobile is also becoming the key strategy to capture small to mid-level gifts from supporters both at events and via email.
Michael: I’ve heard you talk a lot about marketing automation as a key to success. How can nonprofits benefit from automation in 2020 and beyond?
Ira: Marketing automation is a key strategy not just to automate repetitive tasks, but to introduce discipline into a digital fundraising and marketing program. It’s like having a robot which reminds you to do important tasks on a monthly basis. The new marketing automation tool on EveryAction is a potential game-changer for year-round fundraising. This powerful tool now lets you automate and customize messages for your supporters, based on their past history. Instead of sending a one-size-fits-all campaign, you can personalize messages based on past actions, past donations, and even who opened previous messages. This will allow you to create messaging that is more likely to speak to the individual opening the message, like first-time donors, volunteers, or advocates. Marketing automation can also be used to seamlessly incorporate new activists and supporters who join your list.
Michael: What other digital fundraising tactics have you seen move the needle?
Ira: I’m always excited about upsell lightboxes! Most people know lightboxes as pop-ups which appear on Web pages to promote a campaign or a fundraising appeal. An upsell lightbox pops-up on a donation page while a donor is making a donation. Just prior to clicking the “Donate Now” button, this feature encourages a donor to either increase their donation, or to convert their one-time gift into a monthly donation. When Cornershop has implemented upsell lightboxes for our clients, we’ve seen a 4-10% increase in revenue. This can have a huge impact on your fundraising efforts. I know that EveryAction now has an easy-to-setup upsell lightbox tool and I hope that all your customers are taking advantage of it.
Michael: Any final strategy advice for 2020?
Ira: Try something new! Doing the same thing when it comes to digital fundraising is going to produce the same results, especially as there is more and more competition for those donors. With what can be done online, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try something new. GIFs, emojis, animations, live content, and interactive email experiences are just a few of the newest in what can be added to your online campaigns to catch the eye of current and potential donors.
Learn more about Ira Horowitz on the Cornershop Creative website.