Our Abila experts have researched and crafted Key Fundraising Predictions for 2015 to help you gain a clear understanding of the challenges facing your sector in the coming year, and how you can turn them into real advantages for your organization.

 Below is a deep dive into Fundraising Prediction #1 – Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

 And, because conversion optimization is so important to nonprofits’ success, we’re rolling out a series of blogs on this topic. In the first post, we defined CRO. Then, we unveiled the 8 Pillars of CRO. Next, we introduced the concept of A/B Split Testing. Now, this week, we delve into the tests you should undertake first.

As we’ve discussed in previous CRO blog entries, small changes can have huge impacts on your ability to convert website visitors to donors. A/B split testing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to find which slight tweaks can make considerable differences.

There are not many nonprofits utilizing A/B testing, and if they are, they’re not reporting their results, which compels us to look to the business community for ideas. One great resource is WhichTestWon.com. Every week on the site, testing experts highlight a new test and ask you to guess the winner. It’s a great (free) way to see what others are testing and what’s working.

However, you still need to run your own tests … remember, just because something works for another business or even nonprofit, doesn’t mean it will work the same for you. (See our Pillars blog.)

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you have to start somewhere. So, here are six website features on which you can cut your A/B testing teeth:

ONE: Headlines

Headlines are one of the first elements on a page your visitors see. However, they’re often an afterthought for writers, or too clever for their own good. A better headline can increase conversions up to 89.97 percent and possibly more, according to Quick Sprout. So, test different colors, fonts, point sizes, location on the page, and style, for example try a question headline, versus a benefit-gaining headline, versus a loss aversion headline, which touts what the reader could potentially lose by not acting/buying/donating/signing up.

TWO: Call to Action (CTA) Buttons

Switch Video increased conversions 221 percent by changing one word in their CTA copy (“Get a Free Consultation” to “Get a Free Quote.”) So, play with different words, test copy length, font, and color.

THREE: Navigation Elements

Test the text on your navigation bar – its location, the order of items, and the actual words. For example, consider changing your “Ways to Help” navigation button to “Donate Now” or “Change a Life,” or “Support.”

FOUR: Images

Images can have a huge impact. Test location of images, number of images, and types of images, for example, people or things, individuals or groups, male or female, photos or illustrations. I’ve seen instances where the gender of the person depicted has increased conversions.

FIVE: Testimonials

Nonprofits, of all sectors, understand the power of testimonials. They allow you to show, rather than just tell, visitors about your mission and all the good things you’re doing to achieve it. Plus, readers trust the message far more when it’s coming from someone you’ve impacted, rather than your PR department. Test multiple items around testimonials – location, quantity, who they’re from (donors, board members, celebrities) and type (text, text with photo, or video).

SIX: Remove Form Fields

Generally, the shorter the form the more likely it is an individual will fill it out. However, what does that mean for your audience? How many form fields are too many, too few? Is this different for donation forms versus registration forms?  Even a single extra field can lower conversions in many cases. Testing is the only way to know for sure.