Last week, Retail Leader posted an article, How To Thrive In The Age of “Me-Commerce,” by McKinsey Digital experts. The described tenets apply equally to the Nonprofit sector because as consumer habits evolve, so do their donation habits. The article defines “Me-Commerce” as “where retail success depends on meeting consumers’ ever-changing and increasingly demanding shopping habits.” The article goes on to say that personalization, the foundation of Me-Commerce, can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales 10 percent or more. So what does a retail imperative have to do with fundraising?
Nonprofits and retailers share many challenges. Both:
- Face stiff competition for discretionary spending
- Operate in a world where their audience is highly connected and informed
- Must deliver a seamless experience across all channels
Nonprofits can learn from those retailers who’ve blazed the way in adopting omni-channel marketing while ensuring more efficient use of limited staff and budgets.
To help you achieve higher ROI on your development spend and increase donations, here are some questions (adapted from the retail model) to ask yourself today. The answers will help you plan your fundraising campaigns to effectively engage the “Me Supporter”:
1. Do we really know our donors? The habits and interests of individual supporters (including major donors) are changing quickly.
To retain your supporters you need to keep up with these changes. Are you focusing enough time on post-donation/participation information gathering, such as performing supporter surveys to see how often, in which channels, and on what topics they prefer to engage with your organization, why they gave in the first place and why they continue to give? How are you incentivizing donors and supporters to provide this kind of feedback to you? Are you then subsequently showing them you “listened” by tailoring material to what you learned about them?
2. “Are we donor-centric, or channel-centric?” A donor’s decision to support you is a very personal and emotional act and they expect personalized communication in return. With more information at their fingertips than ever before, they can continually evaluate how to share their time, money and networks. To achieve donor-centricity, nonprofits need to:
- Integrate all channels and systems so that all donor data can be used to provide a personalized and seamless brand experience. This single view of the donor should be stored in a centralized place.
- Integrate fundraising plans and programs to leverages the unique strengths of each channel. It should be developed and executed consistently across channels – not in channel silos.
These two goals are easier said than done, and many have been on the long, challenged road to achieve data and channel integration. But, even without perfect data and campaign alignment, it is important to strive to leverage existing data sources available and consider cross-channel campaigns.
3. Are we providing the information they want how they want it? To be relevant, build trust and continue to inspire your omni-channel supporter, you must continually be communicating, not just fundraising. This requires a steady stream of new and relevant content that motivates them to make your mission their mission, and then share it with friends and family.
Each direct mail, email, mobile and DRTV appeal, landing page donation form, and social media and Pledge2Give campaign needs to have consistent messaging as well as compelling, relevant content. It requires an [popover title=”Omni-Channel Fundraising™” pop_content=”Omni-Channel Fundraising is a strategic, holistic approach that combines the unique strengths of each channel to engage your supporter. It helps you develop a deeper supporter relationship, recruit and retain higher lifetime vale supporters and multiply campaign response rates and revenue” trigger=”hover” style=”top” size=”” type=”btn-default” ]Omni-Channel Fundraising™[/popover] approach.
4. Are we testing often enough? In a world where donors’ interests and habits change quickly, it’s important to adopt an “Optimize. Test. Repeat.” mindset. Online fundraising is still relatively new and not intuitive. You’ve spent decades honing your direct mail campaigns. Luckily, online fundraising optimization can be achieved much faster. Regular A/B testing, enabled by your online fundraising platform, will help you increase revenue by continuously improving your value proposition messaging, donation form content and placement, and even your donation button color. See Proven Practices for Year-Round testing for simple testing execution guidelines.
5. Do we have the skills and tools we need? Online channels are now leading the way for new donor and participant acquisition. Online-acquired donors who give to and share your mission across many channels have the highest lifetime value. And online campaigns are engaging major donors and more participants who in turn can spread your mission across more communities and continents.
Does your development team include social media, mobile and online experienced staffers? Do you have a best-of-breed online fundraising platform that is designed to speed and simplify the online process for your staff to launch campaigns and for your supporters to register for and/or share your campaigns and events worldwide? Take inventory of the skills and tools that will be needed in 2014 and beyond, and develop strategies to find and implement them.
Nonprofits who want to continue to successfully acquire new donors, retain the most loyal donors and grow the files of the most valuable, and most elusive of all, omni channel and sustaining donors, should look to retail trends and successes. In retail the “me-commerce” revolution shows no signs of slowing down.