If you had a choice, would you walk a mile uphill in snow in uncomfortable shoes? Of course not.
Then why are you asking that of your supporters?
When you see increasing donor attrition rates or decreasing event participants, try walking in their shoes. You might realize the journey is a little slicker than you thought.
hjc has worked with dozens of nonprofits to ‘stand in the shoes’ of their constituents, a process known as Constituent Experience (CX) journey mapping. It highlights the ‘moments that matter’ in the journey and fixes ‘broken moments.’ The result is relevant innovations and improvements that include people-focused and technology-focused solutions.
When Knowledge Network looked at their website from a supporter experience perspective, instead of a user experience perspective, they increased fundraising, built bridges between internal teams, and brought consistency to marketing messages.
Peace Arch Hospital Foundation was losing more donors than it was gaining. When they put themselves in their donors’ shoes, they realized their online transaction system was frustrating prospective patients and patient family donors – and donations were being lost because of it. With the implementation of new fundraising and email software, they improved the experience of grateful giving online resulting in a lower donor attrition rate.
Walk in Your Constituent’s Shoes
A constituent journey map is a colorful, physical visual representation of every experience your constituents have with you. It helps to tell the story of their experience with your brand for any kind of interaction – from first donation, to an upgrade to a larger gift, to a conversion from activist to supporter, etc.
CX mapping provides the opportunity to visually illustrate the organization’s internal processes, technology, people, and things that interact with a constituent’s needs and perceptions. It’s the perfect middle ground between data, empiricism, emotion and storytelling – a perfect fact and fiction that needs to be combined.
- First Step: Do your research
Dig into your fundraising database and look for patterns that dictate mapping. For example, a fall in renewal rates or average gift size. Apply analytics to all your channels and uncover problems to be mapped.
- Second step: Create personas to map
Let data and your intuition create empirically-driven fictionalized representations of key constituent groups that need an improved constituent journey.
- Third Step: Facilitate an in-person or virtual mapping session
Use a structured step-by-step mapping outline to guide your cross functional teams. Bring them together online or offline to problem solve and improve constituent journeys.
- Fourth Step: Create an action plan that’s simple to use
Organize the take-aways in an easy to understand plan. Create a hierarchy of journey improvements that move from quick wins to long-term innovations and improvements.
Break Down Silos
In a survey of 58 nonprofit organizations, we found that more than 60% have never used CX journey mapping. Perhaps most intriguing is that for those who’ve done journey mapping, they have NOT taken this kind of design thinking and connected it to their marketing and fundraising platforms.
One of the greatest benefits of journey mapping, beyond a greater understanding of supporters, is that it brings teams together and helps to break-down silos. Bringing together board members, stakeholders, operations staff, doctors, etc., to work as a cross-functional team, in one room, gives teams a rare opportunity to collectively brainstorm in an inclusive way. It has helped organizations to realize the mixed messages and extra steps they are requiring of supporters.
As you adopt new technology, it is important to break down silos between your staff and create a constituent-centered culture, as explained by the Blackbaud Institute in The Connected Office: Your Guide to Creating a Cohesive Constituent Experience. The Connected Office is how Blackbaud describes the innovative technologies and strategies that improve internal communication to better fundraising organizations. When everyone is connected, you can make data-driven decisions and enhance the overall performance of your organization.