I had the privilege of hearing from Rosie Siemer and Dana Hines on Membership & Engagement: The Power of Data at bbcon 2016. I loved this session; not only am I an undisputed data nerd, but also I love finding new ways to engage and communicate better. When it’s targeted specifically towards our arts and cultural clients? Even better.
Dana and Rosie could not be more qualified to lead this session. Both are founders and CEOs of consulting agencies that focus on how nonprofits can more effectively communicate with supporters to grow their members and donors. Their strategies ranged from things a beginner could start with today to much more sophisticated concepts that may require new technology.
Whether you’ve mastered target tags or are new to the power of data, there’s something for everyone in their insights.
Strategies for the Beginner
If you’re just opening your eyes to the power of data when engaging with supporters, there are a few places that you can dip your toes in:
- List Building – To capitalize on the power of data, first you need to start collecting supporter data. Rosie and Dana suggest capitalizing on touch points to get contact information for potential supporters in your CRM. So, ask for email addresses when people are onsite, and ask your social media followers for their email address. Be prepared to give to get. It doesn’t have to be your first born child – give them a cookie! People love cookies. Or offer your social media followers a promo code for their email address.
- Record Appends – Everyone has incomplete records in their CRM. Perhaps you have their name, but not their phone number, mailing address or email address. Or perhaps you had this information at one point, but the contact information you have is now out of date. There are data enrichment services that can screen your database for a reasonable fee and add this information back in – well worth it to ensure your communications are making it to your supporters.
- Facebook – Facebook is by far the easiest and most intuitive place to start digital marketing. Facebook combines critical mass (everyone is on Facebook) with data. When marketing with Facebook, start by targeting potential supporters that look like your current supporters. Facebook has enough information on their members to help you be extremely targeted and test until you find the right demographic profile.
Strategies for Those Who’ve Hit Their Stride
Now that you have a database full of information on potential donors and you’re exploring digital marketing with Facebook, it’s time to take data to the next level.
- Prospect Research – With a database full of clean contact information, should you ask them all for a major gift? Of course not. To identify a major giving prospect, you need to understand who has both the propensity to give and the passion in your mission. That’s where prospect research comes into play. While you could look up your supporters one by one to understand their wealth, including assets owned and other organizations they donate to, you could also use a prospect research solution to screen your database and deliver back wealth information into your CRM.
Strategies for the Seasoned Data Expert
- Marketing Automation – If you haven’t tried out marketing automation, now is the time to explore. Marketing automation is broadly used in the corporate sector and allows organizations to sell like Amazon – that is to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that converts prospects into delighted donors. Essentially, it allows you to craft the series or journey you want a prospect to take and set up triggers to automate that experience. For example, your email content will vary for supporters based if they opened, clicked through, or actually transacted with the last appeal you sent them, as well as target and personalize content based on which types of exhibits they most recently attend. Marketing automation to increase engagement generally requires marketing technology designed for this that syncs with your CRM.
- Matchback Attribution – One of the biggest frustrations as a marketing, membership or fundraising professional is not being able to measure your return on investment correctly due to transactions with no source code or primary attribution. Matchback attribution is the process of matching back transaction with no source to the appeal the donor was most recently sent, allowing you to roll up a more accurate ROI to measure the success of your efforts.
- Target Tags – With target tags, you identify specific attributes that would make someone a best prospect for a donation, based on both the attributes of your current donors and attributes of donors to similar organizations (this second piece requires working with a technology vendor that has access to cooperative data warehouses that can mine this info for you). You can then tag groups of supporters based on these attributes, track responses and optimize future segmentation.
Hopefully you found something that you can jump into right away, and something you can aspire to use in the future. Happy data-mining!