How to test your donor and fundraiser stewardship journeys

Jesper Juul Jensen
CEO
2
Min to read

Automating your donor and fundraiser stewardship journeys is scary. Errors can be tremendously bad for your reputation and supporter relations.  

Therefore testing is of utmost importance. In our experience, all automated email journeys will have an error somewhere.  

The more complex your journey is, the higher the chance that you forgot some small condition or segmentation. Usually, we divide our testing into three phases.  

Test for errors in merge fields and layout errors

This is the easy part. Your marketing automation tool will most likely have built-in tools for sending test versions of your emails.  

Testing email layout is a whole blog post on its own. We use tools such as Litmus to get a preview of the layout in the most common email clients, which takes the brunt of the workload.  

One key learning we have made, it is almost impossible to get your layout to work in all email clients. So be okay with your layout not looking good in lesser used email clients.

End-to-end testing your fundraiser stewardship journeys

Especially if your emails are triggered in a nonlinear time schedule or your email automation is just complicated, then end-to-end testing can be very time-consuming and difficult to do.  

The standard BetterNow fundraiser stewardship journeys have literally an unlimited number of ways it can be sent out. This is because it is tailored to each individual fundraiser according to their progress and activities.   This makes for great fundraiser stewardship, but it is also very difficult to test. This is why we mainly rely on the next method for securing error-free automation.

Activated in draft mode

In this type of test, we will activate all emails in a 'draft mode'. In this draft mode, all messages are created but you have to approve all messages before they are sent. This way, you can test with real-life data before you turn the automation on completely.  

We recommend that each email is being triggered correctly at least once before turning on automation. We prefer to have it running like this minimum for of a week, and always with a minimum of 10 drafts.

If you are able to have emails created in a draft mode, you can skip end to end testing, which is really neat when you are on a tight deadline. Unfortunately, not all email automation systems have the feature.

Read our full guide for stewardship journeys

This is an expanded version of Step 9 in our ebook on how to design and implement fundraiser stewardship journeys. You can read the whole book here.

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