Williams College Increases Donor Conversions by 36% with EverTrue

Who

Williams College, a private liberal arts college in Williamstown, Massachusetts with 2,000 students and 30,000 constituent records.

Challenge

Win the third-annual Biggest Little Challenge, a head-to-head participation challenge against Amherst College. The competition runs from one college’s homecoming to the other and is limited to the youngest alumni for each school.

Why EverTrue

With the help of EverTrue’s online giving platform, launch a digital campaign targeting graduates of the last 15 years. Use an enhanced and streamlined online giving page, actionable analytics, predictive modeling, and personalized marketing strategy—all provided by EverTrue—to attract and convert more donors than Amherst during the campaign.

Results

EverTrue increased Williams’ donor conversion rate by 36%. The college brought in a total of 766 donors, defeating Amherst by a 123% larger margin than the previous year. This marked Williams’ third consecutive victory in the Biggest Little Challenge.

Working with EverTrue has given us a new way to think about our alumni. This innovative approach, which I’ve only seen possible through their product, helped us increase our donor conversion and utilize new campaign tactics to reach our alumni in a more targeted and personalized way.

Laura Day, Williams College
Laura Day
Director of Annual Giving, Williams College

The Full Story

As the Williams team geared up for the 2015 Biggest Little Challenge, they had one simple goal in mind: to beat Amherst. Just like the previous two years, the winner would be determined by the number of donors on a level playing field—not the dollar amount—so Williams just needed to secure donations from as many young alumni as possible. This year’s challenge centered on the 15 youngest classes of alumni, and because Amherst is slightly smaller, each gift from an Amherst alum counted as 1.22. In order to win, Williams would need to bring in more gifts than ever from these classes during this window.

This time around, however, Williams had a secret weapon: EverTrue. Using the platform, Williams was able to optimize their campaign by marketing an easy-to-use, mobile-friendly giving page, view performance of the page in real time, and remarket to alumni based on EverTrue analytics and scoring techniques.

The Williams team believed that EverTrue would be the difference they needed, but they also wanted to test just how well EverTrue did when compared to their existing giving page and processes. Two groups were created, with similar composition and giving participation patterns. One group was sent to the EverTrue page, and the control group was sent to the legacy giving page.

Williams College and EverTrue

Thanks to the user-friendly interface of the EverTrue page, Williams alumni were able to complete the giving process in just a few easy steps. Just over half of those who clicked through to the legacy giving form converted (55%), whereas 75% of those who clicked through to the EverTrue form completed their gift. It was evident that the EverTrue page was converting donors at a higher rate.

Williams giving conversions with EverTrue

As the campaign progressed, Williams was able to monitor the performance of the EverTrue donation page in a real-time dashboard. Among other analytics, the dashboard provided full-funnel visibility into the actions alumni had taken—including who had visited the page, started the form, and completed a gift. These insights allowed Williams to identify and remarket to their most likely donors by sending personalized emails to alumni who had clicked through to the donation page but hadn’t yet completed their gift. The data was integral to guiding their marketing strategy as they tried to maximize participation at the end of the campaign.

williams-giving-conversionsThis image displays mock data.

Results

  • Williams defeated Amherst by double the margin of previous years.
  • The donor conversion rate increased from 55% to 75%.
  • Mobile giving increased by 67% in just two weeks.
  • The remarketing emails converted 18% of target prospects.
  • In total, the EverTrue marketing campaign brought in 22% of donors.

Although already a leader in alumni participation, Williams is always exploring new ways to improve their annual giving pipeline. The Biggest Little Challenge was so successful that Williams plans to implement EverTrue’s online giving optimization platform for all upcoming Alumni Fund initiatives. The team is confident that—through providing alumni with a streamlined, personalized giving experience—EverTrue’s process will play a key role in the continued growth of their annual giving program.