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
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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
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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 www.thebrickfcactory.com, we wanted our thank you page to surprise people and show our sense of humor. We wanted
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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
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How to build a great online donation system using Stripe

As a web development firm that works with non-profits, we frequently help our clients implement online donation systems. There are a ton of great platforms that non-profits can use to power their online giving. However we have increasingly found ourselves recommending Stripe. Stripe isn’t used strictly for online giving. It is a full-featured ecommerce platform that can be used by any organization that wants to accept payments online. There are a number of reasons we love Stripe as a donation platform:
  • It is cost effective. Stripe charges 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction with no other fees. Most donation platforms either charge monthly fees on top of credit card transaction fees or take a significantly higher percentage of donations. By using Stripe non-profits keep more of the money they raise online.
  • It has great tools for developers. Stripe has a variety of tools (Stripe JS, Elements, and
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