Monthly Archives: August 2012

Three Tools To Make Your Life Easier

Three great new tools for site managers…

“Can you reset my password? It’s not working for me.”

“Why can’t I login?”

“The site isn’t working!”

“What is this, Fort Knox??”

Sound familiar? If you’re a site manager, you probably see these messages many, many times a day (or even many times an hour). The fact is that no matter how often you explain the login process, whether it be by phone, e-mail, postcards, FAQ pages, webinars, or sky writing, you probably still get those messages. Often, the user hasn’t authenticated her account yet and just needs to go through First Time Login to set up a password. You’ll be happy to know that iModules is doing its part to help. With the August Product Release, we are updating the Reset Password message for members who attempt to reset their password by entering an e-mail address, but enter an e-mail address that isn’t recognized by the system. The new message will better explain why the system isn’t recognizing the user’s e-mail address and will prompt them to try First Time Login, hopefully before firing off an angry e-mail to you.

Also in the August Release, you’ll find a new functionality we’re calling Member Sessions. This enhancement solves some tricky problems associated with “partial logouts” on your site. A user’s login will now be tied to a unique session and that session will be tracked across your site. If the same user logs in using a different browser or computer, a new session is created that doesn’t conflict. Also, a new auto-logout checkbox will be available when you’re building direct access to events and forms. Checking the box will make sure that non-members are logged out when they complete the registration or form.  You can learn more about this enhancement and many other great things coming next week by checking out the August Release video.

Interested to know how your online engagement data compares to your peers? Take a look at the recently released iModules 2011 Annual Report. A grid on page 2 of the report shows average open rates, event registrations, donations, and overall connections. It’s a good starting point for setting your 2012/2013 web communications goals. We’re always looking for ways to help our clients measure their success. Did you find the information in the Annual Report helpful? What criteria is your institution using to measure engagement?

Meet the Millennials

A hot topic in alumni relations is determining the most effective ways to build lasting relationships with Millennials (generally defined as the 20-35 year age group).  The Millennial Impact Report 2012 provides some very interesting insights about how this segment of the population prefers to engage with nonprofit institutions. Covering giving, social media, volunteerism, and overall preferences for connecting, this comprehensive paper is well worth reading in its entirety.

I was particularly struck by how important a well thought out website presence continues to be as a communications tool, despite the wealth of social media channels used by this age group.

So while it’s important to put serious consideration into your social media strategy, according to this report, it’s equally or even more important to maintain an up to date website “with a unique, purposeful, and concise mission” and “clear calls to action.” I find a lot of institutions are struggling to find this balance, especially in departments where time and resources are stretched.

Another interesting takeaway from the report: Millennials like to have hands-on involvement at an organization, and are more likely to give (and give more) to an institution where they have volunteered and have a strong relationship. Notably, peer involvement is the top source of information for future volunteers.

With this in mind, I think iModules clients are going to be very excited to see the new Volunteer Fundraising tools coming in October. This powerful set of tools allows you to give volunteer fundraisers varying degrees of involvement, and it lets volunteers involve their peers in their passion for your institution. It also provides your fundraising staff efficient management tools for harnessing the enthusiasm of your volunteers. You can read more details about Volunteer Fundraising in this recently published white paper.

I was also interested to read the insights about e-mail marketing to this group. Page 8 of the report provides a summary which begins with “Email, Yes it Still Matters.” Forty-seven percent of respondents say they prefer to receive updates about organizations through e-newsletters. E-mail matters and can be a very effective engagement tool, but the content and delivery is worthy of some careful planning.

Despite being 35 pages long, the report is a surprisingly quick read and packed with useful food for thought. The perfect cure for a lazy Friday. Check it out and let me know what you think.

The Hidden Power of Hidden Values

If you’re a site manager, you’re constantly looking for ways to track how your audience is using the site. iModules recently added a new functionality which will allow you to quickly see the effectiveness of links to forms that you’ve placed on content pages and in e-mail messages.

Let’s say you have a non-commerce form on your site. Perhaps its pretty darn important, like a form for recruiting alumni career mentors.  You start by linking to this form in a myriad of ways: e-mail, homepage link, career services landing page — but you want to get the most bang for your buck when you’re reaching out to your constituents and focus your time and energy where it gets the most traction. You see some responses trickling in, but how do you know where the traffic is originating? Behold the magic of tokenized hidden values!

It’s now possible to create a special kind of hidden field on your non-commerce forms and events which will allow you to track how respondents navigated to the form. You can pull this information into a report and even see it on your admin confirmation e-mails.

Here’s how it works:

First, create a hidden value field on your form and assign it a permanent value name with ## before and after the name:

So far so good. Now you just have to make some URL adjustments to track your forms on the source pages (like the homepage or a volunteer resources page). Add a little extra code to your URL string and hit enter.  Do this for each source page link that you create.

Use these unique URLs on your hyperlinks to the form.  Pull a report and the Source field shows where traffic to the form originated.

Next time you’re building a form on your site, give this little trick a try. With just a few extra steps in the set-up, you can get a lot of valuable information about how your constituents are using your site and where you should focus your energy and messaging. If you need a little help getting started, just let your account manager know.

Have a great weekend, folks!