What Marketing A/B Tests Does Your Nonprofit Need to Use?

10/08/2018 4 min read Written by Jenny Traster

Guessing games may be great for parties, but they’re not necessarily the best way to run your nonprofit inbound marketing efforts. Yet that’s what many marketers do when they create only a single version of a campaign, email or donation page. If you're trying to decide which copy, design, or CTA will get the most engagement for your nonprofit, this can be easily determined by A/B testing.

AB testing

Why A/B Test?

A/B testing, also called split-testing, allows you to compare one version of an email, donation page or campaign against another version of that same email, donation page or campaign. You present each version to a different group of audience members, with the winning version as the version that gets the better results.

Nonprofit A/B testing can help improve conversions, fine-tune your message, increase your impact and otherwise enhance your overall marketing efforts.

Find Your Creativity: 5 Nonprofit Websites That Will Inspire You

How to Test

1. Establish Goals

Your initial task is to determine why you’re conducting the A/B testing in the first place. What are you trying to drive more of? Depending on the piece of content you’re testing, your goals could include everything from increasing email open rates to determining if your audience prefers drawings or photographs on your donation page.

The reason behind the test will guide you in setting up the test as well as calculating the results.

2. Choose What to Test

Just because you can test even the smallest changes in any given piece of content doesn’t mean you should. Rather than expending loads of effort on small changes that may only result in minute results, focus on bigger changes that can have a much bigger impact.

  • Emails: A/B testing email subject lines can indicate which one provides better open rates, while testing calls to action within the email text can land on the one that increases click-through rates.
  • Donation pages: Here your nonprofit A/B text can extend to a number of elements. These include changing the number of form fields donors need to complete to donate, offering different donation options, or trying two different high-impact visuals.
  • Event registration pages: What changes on registration pages can increase registration across the board? Your A/B testing can include two different headlines, CTAs, layouts and images.
  • About pages: Elements you can A/B test on your about page can include layout, images, amount of text, type of information you provide, and different CTAs.
  • “Donate” buttons: A/B testing two different colors can apply to your donation button, but so can changing the CTA on the actual button. Is the benefit of donating made clear? You can also test different placements of the button on the layout of the page to ensure it’s in a highly visible, attention-grabbing location.

See Also: 7 A/B Tests to Try On Your Nonprofit's Donation Page

Refer to A/B Test Best Practices

A few quick best practices for nonprofit A/B testing include:

  • Choose only one variable to test at a time, such as the headline, subject line or CTA.
  • Divide your sample groups randomly, and make sure they’re the same size.
  • Choose only a portion of your full recipient list for testing, leaving the rest of the list to receive the winning version of whatever you tested.

Create A/B Campaigns

Nonprofit A/B testing is ideal to use to test two different versions of a campaign. Set up an entire campaign, complete with details that include duration, fundraising goal, headlines, images and body content.

Then duplicate the campaign, changing whatever key element you desire. Choices can include using two different headlines, images, CTAs, or donation options. Label your first campaign “A” and your second campaign “B.”

Send Campaigns

Divide your testing portion of your audience in half, and then send campaign A to one half of your test audience and campaign B to the other half. The two campaigns are going to run simultaneously until the finish.

Analyze Results and Select Winner

Once the campaigns are complete, it’s time to analyze the data for each one to determine which was more successful in reaching the goal you established at the beginning of the test. Send the winning version to the remainder of your audience and watch the success roll in.

A/B testing is essential to determine what marketing resonates best with your audience. You can use nonprofit A/B testing and these tips to continuously improve your marketing to more consistently achieve your goals. For additional help with nonprofit A/B testing or other marketing strategies, contact LyntonWeb today.


By: Jenny Traster

With a love of HubSpot dating back to 2010, Jenny works with clients to put the pieces of the inbound marketing puzzle together, from content marketing and social media management to demand generation and lead nurturing. When she’s not digging through data or reading the latest in social media trends, you’re most likely to find her traveling, practicing yoga or hiking with her dogs in the great outdoors.

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