As we continue to explore creating an integrated donor experience let’s dive into implementation and execution practices. In recent weeks we’ve unpacked the importance of an aligned organizational structure and culture. Now let’s get into the nitty gritty strategy and tactics to create an integrated donor experience.
1. Start with a clear understanding of campaign objectives. Do you want to raise awareness of your cause or your organization and its work? Do you need to acquire new donors to offset your donor attrition rate? Are you looking to improve your donor retention rate? Choose the objectives for each campaign and micro-campaign you deploy, and keep them top of mind throughout the entire process.
2. Determine the goals for each channel. Create goals for each campaign that align with your objectives. If your objective is to drive awareness of your organization, you may have goals for social sharing and likes on social media channels. If the objective is acquisition, your goals may include the number or percentage of new donors acquired to your donor base. Being clear about your goals and objectives will avoid confusion and disappointment when you report on the progress of your campaigns. Even a decisive victory will look grim if you bring social sharing analytics to your upper management when they’re looking for newly acquired donors.
3. Develop a data-driven strategy. To craft a centralized strategy, you’ll need to assess your donor data. Extensive, reliable donor data that tells you who your donors are, their propensity and capacity to give, and their specific interests and preferences will be highly informative in your decisions. Determine what data will be required to make decisions and how it will be captured and updated in an ongoing fashion. You don’t have to have a complicated plan, just a thorough one. Capture key behavioral data during your campaigns, such as how your donors interact with your emails and website, so you can engage donors according to their preferences and motivations. Avoid relying too heavily on giving history. A donor’s giving history is a reflection of past fundraising strategy, not necessarily his or her current motivations or preferences.
4. Plan your campaigns based on donor preferences, motivations, and relationship with your organization. Nonprofits often build fundraising programs based on what is most convenient for them, rather than what works best for the donor. For example, you may space out several direct mail sends with a few emails in between according to timing that’s manageable for you and your team. But that might not be the sequence or combination that will drive donors to give.
5. Focus your fundraising approach on a donor-centric perspective. Use your donor data to establish donors’ preferred methods and timing. Interactions should speak to specific donors, and giving options should be intuitive. Personalization is key. How well do you know your donors? How much updated, relevant data do you have for each constituent? Gone are the days of general mass mailings; if communications aren’t highly personalized, you risk losing the attention of your prospects and donors. It’s important that nonprofits exceed the expectations of their constituents at every interaction. To do this right, you can’t rely on analysts from the database alone, you must get primary research directly from your donors. Talk with them, survey them, visit them. Use primary research to better interpret the analytics you’re pulling.
6. Segment your donors based on their relationship with the organization. Understanding your donor goes well beyond recording how they respond to your messaging. You need to discover how your whole donor base feels about your brand at every level of engagement. This will enable your organization to craft appropriate channel and message strategies aligned with the interests of each donor type.
7. Consider how each channel plays into your overall strategy. Just because you can do something in every channel doesn’t mean you should. By evaluating data and segmenting donors, you can identify the right channels for the right audiences and coordinate those channels to work together. We suggest that organizations map the ideal experience—based on data—that they feel each level of donor should follow and then use that information to craft the multi-channel plan. For example, a non-donor will have a different path than a new donor which would differ from the multi-year donor, the major donor, and so on.
8. Optimize your efforts with automation. The time spent in mapping out donor experiences based on data and primary research pays off if you begin to automate your fundraising communication. For example, mapping out an automated follow up sequence that is triggered by a single action can not only help you increase your consistency of messaging in each level of engagement but also provide an immediate, personalized connection with your donor. We’ve seen nonprofits increase their year end giving by up to 98 percent by using 2Dialog, Pursuant’s fundraising automation technology.
A well-crafted strategy is critical to break through barriers and create a truly integrated donor experience.
Learn more about our integrated fundraising approach by downloading the full-length free resource: the Intelligent Fundraiser’s Guide to Integrated Fundraising.