Study Finds Instagram is Most Effective Social Platform for Nonprofits

Our Brick Factory team spends a lot of time helping nonprofits get the most out of their presences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Despite how important social media has become, there isn’t a ton of benchmark data for nonprofit marketers. Which social networks are most effective? How often do nonprofits post? What types of posts perform best? Finding answers to these questions is surprisingly difficult. In an effort to provide nonprofit marketers with better benchmark data, we performed an analysis of the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts of the 100 largest nonprofits in the United States. You can download a free copy of our study on how nonprofits use social media here. There are a ton of important insights in the full study, but perhaps the most interesting finding is how much higher engagement rates on Instagram are compared to Twitter and Facebook. For example, the median post for a
Continue reading "Study Finds Instagram is Most Effective Social Platform for Nonprofits"

Learning the wrong lessons from the Ice Bucket Challenge

Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from a few years ago? It was a social media phenomenon where people challenged friends on social media to pour a cold bucket of ice water over their heads to raise awareness about ALS. Once called out, people either posted a video of themselves completing the Challenge or donated money to an ALS charity. Many people did both. The Challenge went viral. More than 2.4 million ice bucket videos, many featuring celebrities, were uploaded to Facebook. The Ice Bucket Challenge was a giant windfall for ALS charities. The ALS Association raised $100.9 million in online donations during the height of the phenomenon between July 29 and August 29, 2014. This compares to $2.8 million during the same, ice bucket-free, period the previous year. After the success of 2014, a group of ALS organizations tried to relaunch the challenge in 2015. It
Continue reading "Learning the wrong lessons from the Ice Bucket Challenge"

Five digital metrics your nonprofit should be tracking

One of the great things about working in the digital communication field is that just about everything can be tracked. Visitor data. Usage patterns. Message effectiveness. A wealth of data is available, and, in the right hands, it can be used to reach a real understanding of what is and isn’t working for your nonprofit. The downside is that all that data can be overwhelming. I’ve seen nonprofits struggle with analysis paralysis; they have trouble acting because they aren’t sure which metrics to focus on. In an effort to help separate the signal from noise, below are five key digital metrics all nonprofits should be tracking on a monthly or quarterly basis. Also included are industry benchmarks for each metric and some simple ideas for improving your performance.

Nonprofit Metric #1: Online Revenue Growth

Online Revenue Growth: What is it and Why Should I Care?

For most nonprofits, generating revenue
Continue reading "Five digital metrics your nonprofit should be tracking"

Why a picture of Fabio is on our thank you page

Details matter online. Every aspect of your web program is an opportunity to communicate who you are to your visitors. On most websites many small opportunities to connect are squandered.  A great deal of energy is put into big, obvious decisions. I’ve been part of two hour discussions about what image to use on a site homepage, for example.  Zero thought is given to the small details of a site that can do just as much to convey your brand identity. Take the thank you message a user sees after filling out a contact form, for example.  On most sites you are shown a generic thank you message, seemingly written by a robot. This opportunity to communicate is thrown away. When redesigning our contact form for, we wanted our thank you page to surprise people and show our sense of humor. We wanted
Continue reading "Why a picture of Fabio is on our thank you page"

Brick Factory Announces Production Release of Stacks

The Brick Factory is happy to announce the first 1.0 production release of our Stacks Drupal 8 module. Stacks makes it possible to develop re-usable components such as slide shows, galleries, banners, and much more in your Drupal projects.  You can check out a good overview of Stacks here and in the video below. The 1.0 release includes a number of improvements:
  • Only re-usable widgets now need to have a title provided
  • Stacks used to only allow the field to be added to a node; it now is available to any field-able entity
  • Repeatable image fields no longer only show the first image. All images now display correctly
  • When nodes containing widgets are deleted, the associated widget entities and instances are now deleted as well
Check out Stacks and let us know what you think.

Effective Beats Fancy

Late last year, we were approached by a nonprofit who had completed a website redesign project with a well respected design firm. After the new site was live for a few months, it was obvious to the non-profit that it wasn’t working. Stakeholders didn’t like it, visitors were complaining, and the site was underperforming based on all the key metrics they tracked. The nonprofit asked us to audit the site to figure out what was wrong. We performed a quantitative analysis of usage statistics and patterns, and had our design and strategy teams complete a qualitative review of the site.

What was wrong with the site?

At first glance, the redesigned site seemed like it should work. It was beautiful. It featured stunning photography and a slick user interface that took advantage of the latest front-end development trends. But as we looked at the data and spent time using the
Continue reading "Effective Beats Fancy"