A blog by the Brick Factory The Brick Factory
moving

Our New Digs

When founding the Brick Factory back in 2011 one of the first (and biggest) decisions we had to make was about our new office.  The decision was made difficult by a number of challenges:

  1. We decided to launch the firm in the Summer with a firm start date of October 1, 2011.  As a result we only had a few months to find the space, which meant we were limited to offices that were immediately available and didn’t require long build outs.
  2. Finding office space was one of a million things we had going on at the time.  Simply starting the new company was our primary focus, so didn’t have the time to devote our full attention to the search for a new office.
  3. As a new company with a limited credit history, we didn’t have much leverage in our negotiations with prospective landlords.  
  4. We wanted to be in downtown DC, which is a market priced for corporate clients.  There were (and still are frankly) a limited number of office buildings we could afford as a small business.  

We ended up finding a nice pre-built space at 1726 M Street NW near Dupont Circle.  We tore down a wall or two, slapped some paint on the walls and filled it with the nicest furniture we could afford.  And we got to work.

1726 M Street was never our dream office.  It had ugly carpet, limited windows and an eccentric heating/cooling system.  But I’ll always remember if fondly since it was our first office.  It served us well.

In early 2015 we heard that our landlord was planning to tear down 1726 M Street and a few other buildings nearby. The plan was to build a fancy new mega building with rents way out of our price range.  Our landlord exercised the eviction clause in our contract and we had to be out in nine months.

This time around we had a lot more time to find our new space and also a better idea of what we wanted:

  1. A boutique building with character as opposed to a nameless office building like our old space.  We wanted a building small enough that we could have our own floor.
  2. A downtown DC location with metro access.  We loved our old location so didn’t want to move too far away.
  3. After years working in a dark office with windows on one side, we wanted windows on all three sides if possible.
  4. The opportunity to design the space to our specific needs.

The search took a few twists and terms, but we found our new space and today we moved into our new office on 925 15th Street NW.  The space is right on McPherson Square and not far from the White House.  Our new office has our own floor, windows on three sides and was built out to our specs.  It is kind of awesome.  

While leaving the old space is a little bittersweet, all and all we are thrilled with our new office. For me personally, moving into this new office represents the beginning of a new phase for the Brick Factory.  To borrow from Swingers, “our little baby is all growns up.”

We look forward to hosting our clients and friends in the coming weeks and months in the new space.  In the meantime you can see some photos of the new space here.

Join our team: Junior Strategist position

We’re Brick Factory and we build websites:

The Brick Factory plans and executes world-class digital campaigns for non-profits, trade associations, advocacy groups and brands. We understand that results matter, and use cutting edge technology to help our clients reach their goals.

We believe in simple solutions, setting clear goals, and providing great service to our clients. We believe a good website or campaign is never done and the launch of a website is the beginning, not the end.

Why You Should Work for Us:

  • You’re at the core of a small team – you’ll have plenty of opportunity to take on responsibility.
  • You’ll be constantly challenged and will learn something new every day. Trust us – you won’t be bored.
  • You get to develop great relationships with your clients where they value your advice and experience.
  • You get to work for some great causes: from saving tigers to ending Alzheimer’s to empowering global youth.
  • We’re fun to be around.

(more…)

donate

Six non-profit websites with effective calls to donate

On Giving Tuesday a few months back I got seventeen emails from eleven different organizations asking me to donate to their cause online.  These are great organizations I believe in and have relationships with.  I would have liked to give to each and every one.  But, like most Americans not named Mark Zuckerberg, I have a finite amount I can afford to donate to charity each year.  Deciding who to give money to is sort of like asking a parent to choose which child they love the most.

My glut of emails on Giving Tuesday is a great indication of how competitive online fundraising has gotten for charities.  Donors have tons of great choices.  Charities have to fight for each and every dollar they raise online.  To succeed in this sort of ulta competitive landscape, non-profits must have the small details right.

One detail that can make a giant difference is are the calls to donate on non-profit websites. Tyically very little thought is given as to how to get visitors into the donation funnel as quickly as possible once they are on a non-profit website.  Amazon has spent countless hours making their online purchasing process as simple as possible.  The Obama campaign was famous for using data to optimize its donation form.  This kind of optimization is foreign to most charities.  Most throw a big red donate button into their site header and expect the money to flow in.

Here are six non-profits that have clearly spent time optimizing their websites in an effort to maximize online donations.

(1) More than a Costume

More than a Costume is a micro-site produced by Doctors of the World during last year’s Ebola outbreak in Africa.  The site asks for visitors to donate money to help equip volunteer doctors with a real Ebola suite.  Very good example of how to show how money will be spent to personalize the donation.

morethanacostume

 

(2) charity:water

charity: water’s online fundraising efforts are consistently innovative and effective.  During the 2015 giving season, their homepage asks donors to make a donation in honor of the people you care about.  The ask was compelling and the donation process was dead simple.

charity-water

 

(3) Greenpeace

In addition to the ubiquitous big Donate button, Greenpeace includes a quick donate tool in its template that allows visitor to enter an amount and frequency.  This tool, shown in the upper left of the screenshot below, is accessible on every page of its website.

greenpeace

(4) American Cancer Society

If you visited the American Cancer Society website in December, you would see the pop up below urging you to give before the end of the year.  The counter is clever and the photo of Frankie is adorable.  It is also a nice touch to allow use to click a button to not see the pop up on future visits.

american-cancer-society

(5) Food for the Poor

The Food for the Poor homepage includes a really compelling call to give $3.65 per month to feed Maria, a seven year old from El Salvador.  If you refresh the page you will see photos of different children in the space.  The site also include a quick donate feature in its site template.

fooforpoor2

(6) Invisible Children

The Invisible Children website features a well designed donation button that is fixed to the right side of the page.  This means the call to donate is a constant presence as  you navigate the website.

invisiblechildren

Attack of the Clones: 2016 Candidates “Borrow” Obama’s Donation Page Design

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the digital team that worked on the 2012 Obama campaign must be feeling downright exalted. 

After a bunch of experimentation and testing, the 2012 Obama campaign ended up with a donation page layout that included a large, inspiring quote of the candidate and a stepped donation process that made it dead simple to give (you can see an updated version here).  Clearly the design worked, as the campaign raised more money than any other campaign in history.

I think it is safe to say that most of the 2016 candidates had a look at the Obama campaign’s donate page and decided to follow a similar template.  Check out the graphic below.

copycats

Our 2015 Holiday Card

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