Do You Have the Data to Map a Successful Donor Journey? | npENGAGE

Do You Have the Data to Map a Successful Donor Journey?

By on Apr 25, 2014


By Danielle Johnson Vermenton: Fundraising geek. Mom. Interactive Consultant. Speaker. All around bad ass! I love working with organizations that are changing the world. Find Danielle On Twitter


In order to successfully boost donor acquisition online, you need to hook new supporters from day 1 and learn as much as you can about them to personalize the experience moving forward.

Like getting the second date, it takes planning and attention to keep them interested.

You must create a donor journey with the right communication.

To do this, you’ll need data.

Growing a donor relationship is about knowing the person – their interests, preferences and history with you. Run an annual profiling campaign and use surveys to collect donor feedback.

Ask questions

  • How did they get involved with your organization?
  • What time of year they prefer to give?
  • Have they ever volunteered or attended an event?
  • What’s their Birthday?

Pull email reports

See what articles are being clicked on, what emails are being forwarded, and what subject lines resonate. Hold a small donor focus group and ask them to provide feedback on current communications – do they follow the organization on social media, do they visit your website for updates, do they want more information or less from the organization?

What Next?

With this data you can build donor profiles and target communications based on real information.

Instead of sending out an eNewsletter that includes stories “that appeal to everyone” (do they really?), create communications with bite sized stories that are targeted based on interests and preferences. This strategy shows donors you’re paying attention to the information they’ve shared.

Think beyond the eNewsletter!

  • Make your mission come alive through videos, testimonials, blogs, and moving images.
  • Send a postcard style email that links to a thank you video.
  • Ask someone that has benefitted from your services to blog about their story.
  • Hold a tweet chat with donors and your CEO.
  • Create a personal journey through a multichannel approach.

Can you target communications even if you don’t know their preferences?Of course!

Donors are made up of different segments: women and men, event attendees, major donors, volunteers, program alumni, boomers, first time donors and so on. You can use what you already know to create personas that will enable you to target eCommunications, campaigns and social media efforts.

Wait, what’s a persona?

Personas are fictional characters that you create to represent groups within your constituent base. In this case we are talking about donors. Donor communications should not be one size fits all. By creating 3 or 4 donor personas you can shape content so it is engaging and appealing to the most common groups within your donor base.

Lasting change doesn’t happen overnight.

Reshaping donor communications is a long term investment. Take a couple of months to gather information about your donors. At the same time, review your current communications. Then, meet with the team to discuss the results and develop a plan for a new donor journey.

Do yourself a favor and start small.

You’re already managing multiple projects, events and initiatives; pick one or two things you can change now and slowly add in other changes. Realistically give yourself 6 months to a year to implement the whole plan. A slow and steady pace will help keep you and the team on track.

And there’s more…

Make sure to download our latest installment of npEXPERTS – “Cupids Arrow: Targeted Strategies to Acquire Supporters”.

It’s 36-pages of thoughtful advice on donor acquisition strategies, written collaboratively by a cross-section of nonprofit fundraising experts. Check it out and let us know what you think!


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