Welcome to the final installation of Symplify’s Non-Profit Playbook, a three-part series that will help you unlock the full potential of your donor base through conversion optimization and donor engagement automation. In this series, we will show how non-profits can leverage donor insights and omnichannel donor engagement to not only acquire new donors but also increase contributions from existing donors.
In part one of the series, we covered the “Digital Donor” and explored what drives donor behaviour and expectations.
Part two focused on the importance of conversion optimization. We looked at how to leverage data and donor insights to increase donations and website conversions.
Will now complete our three-part series with an exploration of how to create better donor experiences. We’ll examine techniques and best practices for donor engagement and retention.
Part 3: How to Create Better Donor Experiences
Building long-lasting relationships with donors mean constantly striving to provide the best donor experience possible. Existing donors, who are already engaging with you through active campaigns, are your best ambassadors and sources of ongoing organizational funding. You need to take care of them by creating better donor experiences.
At Symplify, we’ve been drawing inspiration from fintech, igaming and e-commerce, and have successfully applied these to our clients’ donor campaigns. We’ve used conversion optimization to control costs and increase transactions by observing, testing and, ultimately, acquiring. The result is impressive.
- Observe: watch how users interact with your website
- Test: conduct scientifically significant tests aimed at optimizing conversion
- Acquire: using personalized pages and targeted pop-ups
Once these users have been acquired, it’s important to engage with them through personalized communications which deepen loyalty. Donors need to feel that they’re making a real difference and are connecting with the organization they’ve chosen to support.
Playbook Tip #3: Be Donor-centric
As marketers, we’ve all lauded the virtues of the customer or donor-centric experience. Whether it’s addressing e-marketing campaigns by leveraging the user’s given name or delivering content or invitations based on indicators of past interest, we know that personalization and keeping the user at the core of our campaigns wield results. Sometimes, however, the most effective personalization is the one that’s invisible to the user.
Case in point: CancerFonden, the Swedish Cancer Society
In operation since the 1950s, CancerFonden is Sweden’s leading financer of cancer research. Highly respected, this independent non-profit funds approximately 450 research projects annually. Like many healthcare non-profits who don’t receive government financing, CancerFonden holds a large signature celebrity-filled fundraising gala every year, sharing research stories to cultivate new and ongoing donor support. As it is broadcast on television, viewers can donate by phone or online.
Such an initiative requires time, preparation and money. CancerFonden spends a good deal of each on promoting their fundraising gala. Given their notoriety and long existence, they’ve built a significant database. Naturally, classic issues of churn, bounce and conversion come into play. There is a careful balance to be maintained between attracting potential donors, with the increased market spend that comes along with that, and maintaining existing relationships.
Symplify worked to address what CancerFonden considered to be a significant amount of bounce. Website analytics indicated a bounce rate of between 0.3 % and 0.6% monthly or 6% annually. This meant that approximately 27,000 donors were slipping through the cracks each year.
Immediately, we recognized the impressive amount of diversity within the CancerFonden database, expressed through age segments. A segment of its donor base was as young as 18, while its older donors were well past retirement age. Closer examination allowed us to determine that a portion of these older donors were using email addresses from providers such as Yahoo and AOL that may have been set up two decades prior and subsequently neglected. Thus, email prompts to this donor segment were bouncing for technical reasons rather than because of the subscriber’s disinclination to donate.
Symplify established a re-engagement strategy based on a visual journey which included the following:
1.Website prompts – As soon as we received a bounce notification from a user, we reconfigured the website experience for that individual. Should they happen to browse the website anytime after that bounce, they would receive a prompt to update their contact details. While unlikely, this is a simple adjustment that could potentially help recapture a small segment of those potentially lost donors.
2. Engagement split – Two to three days after implementing the website prompt, we separated those who did indeed update their contact information from those who didn’t. We reached out to the latter through other available channels, such as SMS or post. Those who had previously provided us with their telephone numbers received an SMS message from us inviting them to update their information. Where only a mailing address was available, a printed invitation displaying the website address and a QR code was delivered. Recipients were notified that their contact information was out of date and were provided with an easy way to re-engage with the organization.
These tactics allowed us to recapture and reactivate donors who might otherwise have been lost forever.
Our initial target for this campaign was modest: we sought to reactivate 1% or 270 users from the bounced database. Of these, we hope to convert 30% or 81 formerly bounced users into renewed donors.
The results? Beyond expectation.
All this influx of revenue comes without much additional marketing spend, investment in new awareness campaigns or mobilization of customer service resources, given that everything is fully automated.
Symplify’s clients are able to engage with their audiences on a deep level using targeted personalized communication and donor journeys. They do so in a number of ways:
- Multi-Channels – 8 different channels which to connect with your audience
- Visual Journeys – automated and personalized customer experiences triggered by real-time events and behaviours
- 360 Profiling – targets based on profile, behaviour & transactions
Harnessing all these tools and channels means that NGOs and other charitable organizations can make the most of their precious marketing and promotion budgets and resources. The important projects and thought leadership that these non-profits support can shine.
At Symplify, we’re happy to do our part to help make that happen.