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September 26, 2011 / Ben Simon

Join September Appeal #2 Results

September Appeal #2Last week, we launched the second appeal in our September series — on Monday to previous donors and on Friday morning to non-donors.

We were hoping that this appeal would go some distance to addressing the primary concern that we received about the first — namely, a desire to more concretely tell the story of what the Foundation does. Mark described in detail three exciting MoFo projects — Hackasaurus, Open Badges, and Popcorn — and made what we’d hoped was a compelling case for giving.

Unfortunately, rates of response across the board went down precipitously. I should say that some drop is expected — normally a drop of ~50% would be acceptable when going from the first to the second appeal in a series.

However, we saw drops bigger than that across the most meaningful measurements. Opens and clicks both dropped by less than 50% among donors — but by much more than that among non-donors (click % went from 1.75% to 0.67% among the latter group, for instance). And response dropped by more than 50% across all segments — most noticeably from 0.24% to 0.04% among non-donors. Somewhat alarmingly, rates that we hope to be able to keep fairly constant, or at least to maximize with better copy — things like click-to-open % and conversion % — also dropped quite a bit between the two appeals.

I’m not really sure why we saw this drop, although I can certainly come up with some ideas — would be interested in thoughts anyone might have. A few potential explanations:

  • We needed to spend more time story-telling and engaging from the beginning. This is definitely planned — in particular, folks can look forward to hearing a good deal more about the upcoming Mozilla Festival in November — but it’s certainly possible that there just wasn’t enough emphasis on it to begin with.
  • Since this was the first straight donation ask made to this list in a long time, it’s possible that our rates were inflated on the first appeal.
  • Too much or too little time between the first and second messages (could be either, honestly).
  • It could be that the thematic, broader case is more appealing to some Mozillians than the specific projects (especially if the projects mentioned specifically happen to fall outside their areas of interest).
  • What else?

These results are certainly not disastrous, and I look forward to trying a bunch more in the future and seeing them go back up — fuller results* (and the actual text) from message 2 are beneath the fold. Look forward to your thoughts!

One note on the audience sizes: the donor number went down so much from appeal 1 to appeal 2 because we suppressed folks who have ordered t-shirts in the past several months. There have been some supply chain issues (since worked out) which delayed deliveries, so we didn’t want to ask folks who have been waiting too long for their shirts. We also suppressed donors to appeal #1 from appeal #2.

Appeal 2 Text:

From: Mark Surman
Subject: Mozilla projects are leading the way

Dear Benjamin,

What does it mean to build a better Web? It means unleashing the creativity of millions. It means tearing down barriers. It means making the Web open and accessible for everyone.

That’s what Mozilla is all about — and it’s why we count on you.

Together, we are part of a community that is working together to help the Web live up to its potential to do good in the world, empowering creativity and building tools that anyone can use to make awesome things happen — online and off.

And while you are already putting your skills to work to help make the Web more awesome, you can add to that impact when you make a donation of just $10 to support exciting projects that you and thousands of others are developing to make the Web better.

Projects like:

HACKASAURUS — creating a generation of Web-makers. Hackasaurus is teaching kids how to remix and hack the Web. Offering up cool tools like X-Ray Goggles and interactive games that make hacking fun and approachable, Hackasaurus invites kids to dig in and get their hands dirty — hacking the real live Web while learning to code.

POPCORN — new technology changing the shape of film. An HTML5 video framework, Popcorn allows you to bring the Web into your videos. It’s been used to add analysis to the president’s State of the Union address — and to understand the real Justin Bieber. From book reports to feature documentaries, for everyone who makes video online, Popcorn makes it possible to put video and the Web together like never before.

OPEN BADGES — making it easy to show what you’ve learned. Launched last week, Open Badges is a chance to create learning that looks more like the Web. It will provide any organization with the building blocks they need to offer badges in a standard way — and it will let you gather badges from any site on the internet, combining them into a story about what you know and what you’ve achieved.

Mozilla projects like these are leading the way to a Web that is better and brighter for everyone who uses it. And everything we do depends on collaboration with dedicated volunteers and supporters like you. I know how dedicated you are to improving the Web — if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be here. Will you help today by making a donation of just $10?

Building a better Web and keeping it open and accessible for everyone — it’s a big job, and we’re proud to have you by our side.


Mark Surman
Executive Director
Mozilla Foundation



Leave a Comment
  1. davidillsley / Sep 26 2011 2:24 pm

    I think the thing that was still missing in this mail to me was the lack of any notion of opportunity cost…. these are projects (in the main aimed not at end users, unlike Firefox), which are happening, and one of which your $10 might go towards, but there’s no suggestion that incremental revenue will allow something additional to happen. Or that any of them are especially important to fund *now*.

    Also, the popcorn and open badges blurbs are almost content free. I think I have less understanding of Popcorn after reading the e-mail, and the open badges means absolutely nothing if you don’t understand this use of the word badges. I’d argue that to most people, donating to enable “any organization with the building blocks they need to offer badges in a standard way” means nothing. It’s only in the last line of that paragraph that it gets interesting.

    Finally, the elephant in the room is the omission of the word ‘Firefox’ from the e-mail. I guess the point is that Firefox is self-funding?

  2. Ben / Oct 14 2011 7:03 pm


    the design of these messages could be better. some of the font spacing was inconsistent (maybe composed in etherpad?), and the header logo, typography, color and buttons are a little lifeless. i know we’re not necessary aping the brand toolkit,, but it doesn’t have the polish one would expect from mozilla.


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