A Preview of Mozilla’s 2014 Year-End Fundraising Campaign

Mozilla is a nonprofit organization with an incredible global community behind everything we do. Our fundraising strategy sustains our work to encourage more people around the world to move beyond just using the Web — to making it.

We had an awesome 2013 year-end fundraising campaign. We exceeded our projected revenue goal, but building that campaign did something arguably more important:  It established a culture of excellence in our small-dollar fundraising programs. We made huge improvements to how we execute our End of Year (EOY) campaign and now we have a rock-solid baseline from which to grow. Here’s a summary:

We did this during EOY 2013 …  and this was the result:
We executed a coordinated, multi-channel strategy in line with other large nonprofits who run fundraising campaigns in the final month of the year. We raised a total of $1.4 million — double the amount raised during EOY 2012 and $250,000 more than projected. We proved we can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best fundraising organizations out there.
We adopted a “working open” philosophy by creating fundraising.mozilla.org (FMO). FMO answered the Q “Why are we fundraising?” and gave us a way to share our strategies, clear up myths, and get Mozillians excited about the campaign.
We began planning earlier than previous years and consulted with many other teams well in advance. Our cross-team work brought in over $300,000! We increased revenue from the mozilla.org homepage by over 530% over 2012. The email open rate for the Firefox & You fundraising message improved to 43.63% compared to 27.33% in 2012, and the click-through rate (CTR) increased more than 4x to 5.99% from 1.31% in 2012. We did more, and did better, by respecting people’s time and planning smart with colleagues around Mozilla.
We established specific projections and targets by channel. We built a culture of data-driven decision-making that relies on numbers instead of “gut”. It gave us real metrics to measure success. This is how every effective fundraising program gets results.
We evaluated or experimented with new fundraising channels (such as Reddit advertising and alternate currencies). We tried some stuff, and learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. It is strengthening our 2014 strategy.
We conducted rigorous testing where the ROI on that testing would be highest — on the snippet channel. We increased revenue through the snippet by more than 1100% over 2012.
We localized the EOY snippet for the first time (DE, FR, PT-BR). Over 46,000 donations were made by donors outside the U.S. (accounting for 42% of all donors).

Now, what’s the plan for 2014?

We have a bigger team of incredible Mozillians who are pitching in, and we got an even bigger head start this year in our planning. Here’s what we’re aiming for:

1. Raise at least $1.75 million in individual donations between November 1 and December 31, 2014. This includes a projected increase in snippet revenue to at least $1 million. Many of the learnings and best practices established during 2013 snippet testing can be found in this comprehensive blog post. Based on those learnings, we know what we need to do. Our biggest opportunity: Optimize the donation form. That’s where I think we have the most ROI to gain. We also will have more staff dedicated to data collection and analysis;

2. Increase the proportion of donations from outside the United States. Mozilla is a global organization and we should continue to inspire more support from around the world, not just the United States. Goal: At least 55% of donations from non-U.S. locales (an increase of 13 percentage points over 2013).

3. Delight donors. This includes improving our FAQ, expanding accepted payment methods, increasing accepted currencies, improved localization, improved mobile payment UX, and more.

Most of the optimized tools and practices for fundraising will stay in place after the campaign wraps on January 1, 2015. All of the work that goes into this campaign has a big impact on our ability to inspire support the other 315 days of the year. Ultimately, it is about long-term sustainability for Mozilla.

Stay tuned for more updates as the campaign unfolds.