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Do you ever wonder why brands like Amazon are so successful at engaging people and bringing them back time and time again? It’s not necessarily their prices or the convenience (which you can typically get elsewhere), it’s the level of personalization they provide customers.

When you go to Amazon, a significant portion of the home page is made up of recommendations based on your previous purchases or browsing history. They also send regular emails with suggestions related to what you’ve been looking at. They don’t provide a one-size-fits-all experience; they provide a customized experience.

Personalized Communication Is No Longer an Exception, It’s an Expectation

The Amazon level of personalization is what all customers and donors are coming to expect when they engage with organizations. Today’s donors expect to receive content that’s personal and relevant to them and their interests.

To build and strengthen your connection with donors, you have to effectively communicate in a way that’s meaningful to the individual. This requires a deep understanding of your supporters and how they prefer to be engaged.

How to Leverage Personalization to Maximize the Donor Experience

What can you do to make the donor experience more personal? Here are few ideas…

    • Start with the basics. What do you do when you want engage a neighbor or acquaintance? Address them directly and use what you know about them. Your nonprofit should take the same approach. Use the person’s name. Use the pronouns “you” and “I”. Use demographic information (where they live, their age group, family status) to personalize your message (“As a Millennial…”, “As a Texas resident…”).
    • Share content based on their interests. People don’t have time for the irrelevant. Use what you know about a donor (the programs they have given to, the e-newsletter articles they’ve clicked on, etc.) to provide content they will be interested in. Think about how you might share an article with a friend because you know it’s a topic of interest to them. Take the same approach.
    • Provide contextualized giving options. Customize your appeals to individual preferences. If you know a donor has made an online donation the past few times, focus on that channel. You can also use previous gift amounts to customize upgrade options. Or identify people who might be good candidates for sustained giving based on giving frequency.

Example: Using Personalization to Increase Response Rates

The goal with personalization is to put the individual at the center of the communication. The direct mail piece we discuss in this post provides a great example of how personalization can increase impact.

This postcard includes:

  • A silhouette of a runner based on the gender of the recipient
  • The name of the city where the person lives
  • The specific skyline of that city
  • The individual’s first name
  • The logo of the club the person belongs to

These elements helped to significantly raise response rates for this mail piece well beyond projections—proving that the more personal the communication, the more likely a person is to notice and respond to it.  

Are You Ready to Optimize Your Donor Engagement?

If organizations like Amazon are using personalization to engage audiences, why shouldn’t your nonprofit? After all, you have a mission that can change the world.