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February 26, 2015

Larissa Hotra, IUCN
From: Josh Einbinder and Katie Fulton, Brick Factory
IUCN 2015 Strategic Planning

The following high-level strategic memo should be used as a starting point for IUCNs 2015 endeavors.
The document outlines recommendations related to messaging, audience, email strategy, social media
and website development as well as best practices on related platforms.
We understand that there may not be enough resources to tackle all outlined strategies, but
recommend determining IUCNs top priorities and moving forward with recommendations that will
satisfy those objectives.
Once IUCN reviews these recommendations and decides on a preferred path, we will work with you to
take a deeper dive and develop concrete actionable tactics.

As we transition from 2014 to 2015, we should think about revamping the existing language on the
website to suit our new goals. In 2014, the websites key focus was to commemorate the 50th
anniversary of The IUCN Red List, but this microsite has the potential to build support and drive
donations beyond the 50th Anniversary.
Messaging is crucial to our 2015 web strategy to determine the purpose of the site. This will, in turn,
influence the audiences we communicate with and what we say to them.
We propose three different options:
1. Revamp 2014 Content
In this option, we would change the messaging slightly. Instead of focusing on the 50th
anniversary year, we would shift this to 50 more years of The IUCN Red List. We will highlight
the successes of IUCN while looking forward to new goals. This option would be an easy, quick
and seamless change that will keep the site from feeling dated. The proposed messaging could
then continue beyond 2015.
Revamping the 2014 content will allow us to keep much of the existing structure and messaging
the same. The Brick Factory team will do an audit of the site to see where we need to make
tweaks. IUCN could then provide us with adjusted copy for the website.

Can implement changes quickly

Does not require new content

Does not require extensive strategy or planning

2. Red List Heroes

This is an action-oriented option that highlights the pledge and donations. By signing the pledge
or donating, you become part of The Red List: a Red List Hero.
Red List Heroes would be an opportunity to encourage a community of Red List supporters
people who are on the very front lines of conservation. The website can become a grassroots
tool for networking among like-minded people who, through Red List, can come together in
support of a cause that is important to them.
With a network of enthusiastic supporters, Red List Heroes could become a powerful
launchpad for any donation-focused campaign we implement this year.
Because this group of supporters is actively involved, we need to keep their interest. We will
want to explore other opportunities for action and engagement. This could include petitions,
recruiting (like sharing the pledge with friends), and community conversations on social media.

Action- and conversion-oriented

Creates emotional connection

Determines a core group of supporters


Will require planning time

Will require increased engagement over social media and email

Will require design changes

3. Amazing Species
In our strategy discussions, we spoke about moving the Amazing Species database over to the
microsite. Many of these species are already on the microsite - they were included during the
original content import.
Once we complete the move, the species database will be the most interesting and substantial
part of the microsite. The database will also create a unique space and purpose for the microsite
within the larger IUCN network.
We propose shifting messaging across the microsite to make the Amazing Species the primary
message for content-driving purposes.
We can rebrand the microsite as the primary resource for IUCN Red List species profiles. This
content is of significant interest and connects well with users. A site shift would be a great
opportunity to leverage species content for marketing and public awareness purposes. In
addition, because the proposed donation campaigns are species-specific, this website messaging
will easily integrate into the campaigns.

Integrates well within the current IUCN network

Built-in content for promotion


Will require planning time

May require design changes

In 2015, we want to leverage IUCNs existing audiences, like the Species Survival Commission, who have
a strong connection with the organization, as well as to increase awareness of IUCN and The Red List. To
do achieve these goals, targeting new external audiences will be a top priority.
Internal Audience
Currently, IUCN has an excellent group of committed conservation experts at its disposal. This group
includes the IUCN Commissions and the Species Survival Commission.
Although we think this group is unlikely to donate, we believe they can help IUCN Red List connect with
other passionate individuals. Our objective is to encourage them to serve as vocal advocates for the
IUCN Red List.
This can include: Committed IUCN Experts

Content creation: The microsite needs original content to encourage people to visit and engage
with us. IUCNs internal audiences are valuable resources that can help here. The experts we
reach out to and content we produce will be determined by 2015s changing message points
and species-specific donation campaigns.

Increased list and followers: This group already supports IUCN - we know they care. Thus, they
are likely to share their support with their personal networks. We can target this group to help
us build our email list and social media following. One possible tactic could be to send a targeted
email asking them to forward the pledge (or another petition) to five friends.

External Audience: Third Party Conservationists / Organizations

During 2014, many of our largest donations came from zoos. Because of this, we believe that we should
target organizations and individuals with a vested interest in conservation, like zoos.

We propose building a list of individuals who work for zoos and other conservation-focused

One possible strategy for engaging with this group could be to send them personalized
introductory letters that explain who IUCN is and why The Red List should interest them. After
the letters, we recommend producing and sending content specifically related to species
assessments and The Red Lists primary goal (160,000 species by 2020).

Another tactic to consider would be leveraging IUCNs connection with conservation

celebrities like Sir David Attenborough. Sir Attenborough can potentially host an online talk,
webinar, Twitter chat, or Reddit Ask Me Anything, which would allow external audiences to
connect with conservation thought-leaders through The IUCN Red List.

If you pursue media-outreach, focusing in on publications and blogs that this group reads would
be a strong tactic.

External Audience: General Population

There are many people with a general interest in conservation - perhaps they follow WWF on Twitter or
frequently visit a zoo. This group is likely to be interested in The Red List, but is likely unaware of the
critical role IUCN plays in conservation.
We want to raise awareness with the group and begin engaging with them. By doing so, we are
grooming them to be supporters of IUCN.
Initially, we recommend launching social media ads on Twitter and Facebook that highlight Red List
species. Social media ads are proven to significantly increase social media following by users who are
likely to engage with the organization through targeted interests. With ads, we can utilize our library of
photographs and species to attract current and future supporters.
We also recommend a list-building campaign. If we decide to pursue this tactic, we must offer an
incentive that is sensational enough for users to feel they must enter to win. One possible example may
be providing your email address for a chance to win a trip to the San Diego Zoo.

List Building
A key component to the success of this website and IUCNs 50th Anniversary campaign is our email
growth strategy. While in 2014 we saw high engagement within our Mailchimp email list, we see a huge
opportunity to growth this list further throughout the year. While we will of course have separate
strategies unique to our fundraising campaigns this year, the following are some recommendations we
can implement to continue to grow our list year round.
Primary List Building Tactic

Pledge to Support the IUCN Red List: The pledge was our primary list building strategy in 2014
and resulted in more than 2,700 email signups. In 2015, we could simply revise the language
used in this pledge to match our new messaging.

New Topic: Moving away from a general pledge, IUCN could capitalize on current events or news
within the conservation space and create a newsworthy, fresh and promotable call-to-action to
be used in our website, social media and email strategy. This tactic would pivot off the success
of the pledge, going a step further in specificity and potentially allowing us to market our
content better. An example might be climate changes effect on threatened species.

Campaign Specific: Rotate out a very specific call-to-action that mirrors the content of our 2015
campaigns. The idea is that we would not change anything about the pledge until we launch our
first fundraising campaign. Once launched, we would switch our main call-to-action area to
mirror the mission and content of that campaign.

Further, if we want to explore all of these options, we could investigate building a custom petition
platform or looking to a third party to achieve our objectives.

Email List Acquisition

Purchasing and renting email contact lists can be a great strategy for nonprofit organizations looking to
expand their reach and impact in a competitive online atmosphere. In theory, potential donors and
leaders in service would agree to receive emails from nonprofit organizations in which they may be
interested in becoming involved or contributing. In practice, however, the realm of direct marketing via
purchasing email lists can lead to ineffective campaigning and the possible loss of credibility.
We investigated a variety of options and continue to think that most paid list-building outlets would be
ineffective and counterproductive for IUCN:

Email addresses acquired through paid list-generation are typically low quality, meaning that the
people do not have a strong connection with your organization. It is unlikely we'll be able to
convert these people into donors.

Nearly all reputable mass email providers have policies against list purchase. Mailchimp has
stated on their website that they do not allow, purchased lists of any kind, even from a
reputable source, rented lists, lists scraped from websites or other publicly available data, or a
list of members of an association, trade show vendors, fellow industry members, etc.
Mailchimps compliance policy states that they will suspend and investigate any account found
of pursuing these strategies.

If we did decide to go the paid route, the most legimate method would be to use a service such as or Care2. These groups allow users to launch petitions for free, but then charge to extract
the email addresses from their platforms before you can add them to your own list, usually for a cost of
$1.75 per email address.

List Segmentation
As outlined above, IUCN has a variety of audiences they are trying to reach. While our end-goal for these
supporters is generally the same, there are targeted strategies and tactics that can optimize our
communications and increase our conversation rate.
Previous vs. Current Donors:
When asking for donations, we should treat supporters who have previously donated the same as those
who havent. We propose segmenting our list further to create targeted appeals that take donation
status and amount donated into consideration.
For example, someone whos already donated would be asked to donate more. Additionally, because
we saw a fall-off in clickthrough and open rates after the holiday campaign, people whove donated
might receive a higher volume of donation appeals, while someone who has never donated will get
fewer appeals, and instead receive email content with messages focused on awareness.
IUCNs Internal vs. External Audiences:
As mentioned above, our goals for these audiences are different, so our outreach strategy should be as
well. The type of content we promote and the appeals we send should reflect this. Example strategies
might be as follows:

Internal: An internal audience who is already invested in and are aware of IUCNs mission might
be asked to share and promote the campaign with their colleagues and friends.

External: An external audience might receive content-driven appeals with a goal of increasing
awareness. This could be further divided into general population leads verses our potential
supporters actively engaged in conservation.

Campaign Segmentation:
As we begin planning 2015 fundraising campaigns, we will develop tactics aimed at acquiring supporters
who are actively interested in our species topics. A beginning stage of the campaign might look to target
groups interested in bees or Carnivorous Plants with a goal of creating a targeted list of supporters we
know to have strong ties to these causes. Targeted content could then be developed accordingly.

Email Strategy: Content and Schedule

Current Situation:
In 2014, our open- and click-rate was above average for our industry, but we have not sent enough
emails to see any concrete trends. Our average open rate is about 33 percent and our average click rate
is about 4 percent.
To reiterate, below is our 2014 trends assessment:

Informational emails like species updates perform significantly better than appeals.

In December, when the focus shifted to appeal emails, we saw a steady decline in both open
rate and click rates. (This may be due to novelty - our earliest emails performed the best.)

Two emails had a significantly high click rates: the invitation to take the matching game and the
first email with website content updates.

Keeping these trends in mind, we recommend considering the following strategy moving forward:
Frequency of Content:
We should aim to send one email per week going into 2015.
Type of Content:
For every four emails we send, we should aim to send one appeal. The following is a sample schedule
we might consider each month to ensure we vary our content and convert our email subscribers into
action-oriented supporters:

Amazing Species: every week

Blog Wrap-up: every 2 weeks

Action Appeal: every month

Email Training:
To efficiently use both our teams resources and keep up with a more demanding email schedule, we
may consider training your team to use the Mailchimp platform, work with the HTML email templates,
and develop email content.

Social Media
Industry Analysis:
We conducted an industry analysis of similar nonprofits in the animal/environment conservation space,
and found that IUCN is among the top three performing Facebook pages in terms of quality of posts
(average likes, comments and shares per 100,000 fans).
IUCN Analysis:
In evaluating IUCNs current social media strategy, we delved into the Facebook insights from
September 2014 through today. As the page is nearing 100,000 likes, we evaluated the current posting
strategy, mainly focusing on the types of posts (i.e. photo, link, or status), in addition to their respective
engagement rates. The reach-to-engagement conversion rate compares the total average number of
engagements with the number of users reached, as shown below:

Based on analytics from January 1st, 2015 to present.

Most of the posts from IUCN are original photo posts with links, most often used during recurring segments like Fascinating
Facts and Amazing Species. 70.21% of content posted is original, with the other 29.79% consisting of shared content, mostly
from pages like IUCN.

Photo posts commonly have a higher general reach than other post types. Because photos only feature hashtags and do not
link to site pages, they serve only as a source of content and do not effectively generate clickthroughs or conversions on the
IUCN Red List site.

While the engagement rates for both original and shared photos is comparatively high, these rates are based on clicks to tagged
pages and hashtags within the posts and do not directly generate site visits.

Although photo posts have successful reach and engagement rates, the conversion rate of photos is similar to that of posts with
both photos and links. The high conversion rate further justifies the need for continued use of photo posts with links, as they
most directly generate site and page visits.

Based on our assessment, we developed concrete takeaways that should help improve IUCNs posting
Analytical feedback:
Best posting time: 9am and 1pm (30,000+ impressions)
Best posting days: Thursday through Sunday (84,900+ impressions)
Key observations:
a. Only 28.8% of posts are link posts
Link posts have a reach-to-engagement conversion rate of almost double that of
photo posts and nearly triple that of status posts
Most link posts relate to animals and endangered species in the media and pop
Analytics-based suggestions
Paid Posts: Adding sponsored and promoted posts can help to create more insightful analytics

Videos: We recommend experimenting with more original video posts.

Only one original video has been posted to the account, which garnered a significant
reach-to-engagement conversion rate of 9.6% (trumping the original photo conversion
rate of 6.5%).
Adding videos could be a great way to keep fans interested in IUCN content while
further prompting site visits and donations.
Testing: It may be helpful to collect organic, qualitative data through A/B Testing:
Create a spreadsheet with columns for two types of posts (date/time, Post A,
clicks and date/time, Post B, clicks,).
Posts should include the same link and/or picture with different headlines.
Use free or paid analytic tools to track which post gets more engagement.
Recommended platforms for free analytics: Twitter analytics or Hootsuite owl.y click
Content Calendar: Based on recommendations and A/B testing, create a content calendar of
suggested posts. (I.e. more frequent amazing species posts may be beneficial, due to their
previous success.)
Install Facebook Call-to-Action Button
To drive your digital objectives, we recommend installing Facebooks new call-to-action
button to direct visitors to the IUCN website. Call-to-action buttons can be used to
encourage visitors to learn more, subscribe, take the pledge, donate or get additional
The button can also be easily installed and edited to redirect visitors to campaignspecific pages, and is tracked through Facebook insights to measure conversions and
Hootsuite- Social Management Platform
Although your team can post in real time or use the scheduling function on Facebook,
there are other, more sophisticated tools that can help you become organized and track
valuable analytics in the process.
From our research, the recommended platform would be Hootsuite, which has options
for either free or paid (pro) versions.
Free version allows for:
Organization of multiple (up to three) social media platforms in one place
Keyword, hashtag, geotag and influencer searching to:
o Build relationships with potential influencers
o Find new business leads you may have missed through research
o See and solve customer service questions quickly
Customizable tabs
Basic analytics
Pro version allows for:
Organization of multiple (up to five) social media platforms in one place
Easy collaboration with internal teams for better engagement

Suggested posts for more efficient content updates

Robust social media reports with the option of custom analytics

Website Improvements
While the following doesnt cover the full breadth of our proposed web development work in 2015,
below are some initial improvements we can make to ensure a more successful platform.
Site Integration: Its become clear that the integration between IUCNs websites is somewhat disjointed
and requires a more concrete strategy to benefit the organizations visitors. Following are
recommendations to more prominently promoted the 50th Anniversary site to increase the awareness
of this campaign for IUCNs stakeholders: IUCNs main site has a homepage slider that would be a perfect area to showcase the
anniversary microsite. We would provide your team with a graphic and language to upload to
the site. As a permanent presence, a link could be included in the Resources menu, Red List
page and IUCN Red List homepage feature area. The homepage lightbox that appears when you first access could
be repliaced with a new graphic encouraging users to visit the anniversary site. Additionally, on we could promote the launch in the homepage news section. As a permanent
presence, a link could be added to header area on both sites.
Amazing Species: Currently, IUCNs main platform for posting their Amazing Species is not user friendly
and doesnt provide your visitors an area to learn more about these species beyond the PDF documents.
We would recommend moving all species onto the 50th anniversary site, further developing our
platform to meet your needs. A few of the painpoints we might consider addressing:
Improved Content Type: We could potentially make some adjustments to the backend of the
site to make the upload process more user friendly for our web editors.
Adding Search Functionality: Adding the ability for visitors to search our species database. With
this addition, we would need to discuss specific functionality and required search terms.
Content Migration: Working to configure the system further for user friendly mass uploads.
Currently much of the process must be done manually so if we anticipate needing to upload a
huge volume of species frequently, this might be beneficial.
Ongoing Content Creation:
To date, our Updates section has merely taken articles and blog posts from IUCNs other platforms and
regurgitated them on our site. In order to engage our visitors and keep them coming back, its vital that
we aim to produce original content this year. Examples of content we could produce would be as
Campaign Updates: As our campaigns and fundraising efforts are underway, we should produce
new posts outlines all progress and successes.

Expert Posts: There is a potentially opportunity within IUCNs community to capitalize on our
experts and look to them for fresh, new content. This could take the form of written posts,
Q&As or photos and updates from the field.

A/B Testing:
A/B testing allows us to get important information about clicks, conversions, and our audience. It helps
us to ensure that our website is performing as well as it can.
Using a service like Optimizely, we will present all website visitors with one of two options for a call-toaction. Often, the difference between the two is something small like changing a color or changing text.
Which option the visitor sees is completely random, but each option will be presented equally.
We keep statistics on the number of impressions, clicks, and conversions garnered by each option. With
this information, we can compare the two to see which performed better. This tells us which option we
should permanently implement as well as informs our future designs and builds.
A/B testing helps us to answer one of the most important questions in web design; what appeals to our
After evaluating the 50th Anniversary site, we would recommend starting testing with a few key calls to

Main homepage button

Different color
Different text
Donate button in header
Different color
Different text
Donation page: amounts
Lower suggested amounts
Lower highlighted amount

Showing our Progress:

IUCN and The Red List have a clearly defined goal that will motivate our efforts for the next few years: to
assess 160,000 species by 2020. Already, in the short time since our microsite launched, we have made
When we launched, there were 74,000 species assessed. Today, it is 76,000. However, we made changes
to this number across the website without demonstrating that we are making significant progress
towards our overall goal. We feel that this is a missed opportunity.
The number of assessed species will continue to increase. We propose showing the progress towards
our goal over time, making updates each time we take a significant step closer.
Users will be able to follow our progress and will have another reason to return to the site. In addition,
the goal will create a strong narrative for The Red List. Story is a powerful motivator that helps
individuals connect with an organization emotionally. Telling our story and forging this connection can
help inspire users to take action.
We envision a few elements:

An infographic:
Shows progress overtime in a timeline or graph format
Can include examples of recently assessed species
Can double as social media content
An interactive timeline:
Contains similar content to the infographic
Because this is interactive, we can include even more content
We can add animations as the user scrolls to control the narrative of the page like we
did with the IYF Annual Report
This can be similar to our holiday giving splash page

Media Outreach:
We would suggest integrating media outreach into IUCNs overall communications strategy. While we
dont have the resources to handle this work in-house, we think its an important tactic that could
greatly benefit the organization. We do have several partners we work with that could help facilitate
your outreach efforts, creating content and communicating with the media, so let us know if that
interests you and we can discuss further.