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The Secret to Donor-Centric Fundraising? Centralized Data.

Every customer is unique and needs to be treated as such. That's the concept behind customer-centric marketing, or in the case of nonprofits, donor-centric fundraising strategy. But all too often nonprofits get stuck with only a portion of the picture because they keep data/information about the same donor in different places. As a result, organizations roll out overly broad fundraising campaigns that fail to connect with much of the audience because they are not "listening" to what the donors are telling them about themselves and WHY they give. 

So how do you get the most from your outreach efforts and implement donor-centric messaging built around understanding the donor? By integrating data from every touch-point - registrations, donation pages, Facebook sites - into a single system that allows you to understand their connection to your mission.  

What are some of the tell-tale signs that you're not managing donor data efficiently?

  •  You can't create a report without merging spreadsheets manually
  • You can't tell whether an individual has donated to your organization in the past
  • You don't know what content a donor is interested in because you can't look up his or her click-thru history
  • You can't identify which marketing campaign originally motivated a contributor to give

Your email software might capture one facet of customer behavior - like who opens a particular email newsletter - but if that's not viewed in relation to the donor's other tendencies, it doesn't tell you their story.

In today's fundraising environment, you need a 360-degree view of each supporter - who they are, what they read and talk about, when they give - to get the most out of your fundraising efforts which can only happen when you have a single CRM that can act as a data aggregator and capture data about the individual at every opportunity.

The more you know about your donors, the easier it is to segment the audience - by interests, behaviors, demographics or some combination thereof - and provide targeted content. In a world where consumers are bombarded with appeals, from online video to direct mail, personalization is more important than ever. The messages people respond to are the ones that resonate with their own unique needs and values.

This is why Facebook, Google and Amazon are three of the biggest companies in the world. They leverage data to understand what people care about and make it easy to communicate based on what that data tells them. Home Depot knows whether I care about gardening or power tools and then markets to me based on which I'm more likely to act on. That is really relevant information about me! That's not A/B testing. That's me me-centric! Why guess what I might respond to when I am literally telling you what I care about?!!!!

Why are you testing button placement to see what I react to when I have literally told you 100 times by virtue of my clicks that I react to garden hoses and I don't react to chain saws?

Breaking through all the marketing "noise" is perhaps the biggest challenge for fundraisers today. The more donor-centric you can make your campaign, the more success you'll have doing just that. But if you aren't building a strategy around centralizing all of your donor data, how in the world can you create a fundraising strategy that's even remotely donor-centric?

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