Fundraisers Find Success With Simple Appeals, Wild Ideas, and Offbeat Campaigns

Use simple messages and rigorously test them

Autism Speaks raised $750,000 online, up 50 percent from the previous December, largely by borrowing techniques that helped the Obama presidential campaign raise a big haul last year.

The group e-mailed simple and unabashedly direct text-only fundraising appeals (with messages like “We’re writing to ask you for money”) and tested different subject lines with small batches of supporters to see which ones prompted