Recently at the All Districts CASE Conference, several leaders from the University of Washington’s Advancement Team, gave a presentation on how to build a digital gift officer program. At UW, their digital program is geared towards mid-level fundraising.
No matter which segment of your donor pool you are tailoring your strategy for, one thing remains the overarching goal: one-to-one engagement at scale. One size fits all communication has lost its purpose. Donors crave a more personalized experience with the organizations they support, and development shops that are able to provide that for donors are seeing the financial benefits.
Sure, sending blanket messages regarding class notes, upcoming events and such is common practice. However, the most impactful communications are in a personalized manner.
So, how do you know whether you are doing a good job of this or not? Look at your donor retention numbers. What do those look like? For instance, UW had an average retention of 70 percent within this mid-level group, which means that 30 percent of these donors were churning.
Further, this meant over 8-million dollars in lost fundraising revenue and over 4,000 donors feeling disengaged or unimportant. This means that UW missed out on retaining over 4,000 donors, some of whom might have had the capacity to give more and perhaps give at the major-donor level.
So, instead of reviewing these statistics and feeling satisfied that they still met their goals, the UW team decided to act. As a result, UW now has a model digital engagement team and strategy so that no donors go unnoticed.
Donors crave a more personalized experience with the organizations they support, and development shops that are able to provide that for donors are seeing the financial benefits.
It can be easy to look at those numbers and raise a couple of objections. Not every school or nonprofit has 4,000 mid-level donors that are not receiving a personalized experience. But think about it in terms of percentages - by retaining more of your mid-level donors year over year even by 10 percent, you are unlocking millions of dollars in added revenue in addition to reinforcing your commitment to these donors. That increases the likelihood they will return as donors again, bolstering your major giving pipeline and reoccurring giving revenue.
And even further than that, retaining 10 percent more donors each year for 3 years has a compounding effect. By utilizing a personalized digital strategy, not only will your donors feel a stronger connection to your mission, but you will have more donors that feel similarly. The financial benefits of having more donors that are highly engaged is something no organization can refute.
The trick, of course, is delivering this personalized experience. Fundraisers at San Diego State University are leveraging a digital strategy to target any donor segment with highly personal, 1-to-1 communications, normally reserved for only the top donors. They're using this strategy specifically for LYBUNTS and SYBUNTS to transform a Day of Giving into highly personalized communication with lapsed donors.
Join Gravyty and SDSU on Monday, March 15 at 3 pm ET // 12 pm PT for a free webinar as we look at how they used a digital strategy to transform what is possible in fundraising.