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Raise More Money, More Efficiently, and Create Meaningful Donor Relationships

Just this week, Merkle released its annual thought leadership publication examining trends and considerations for marketers. The 2017 Marketing Imperatives: The Activation of People-Based Marketing, focuses on the different components that enable an enhanced customer experience: defining an organization-wide customer strategy, how to make both advertising and experiences more relevant and impactful, and exploring how to strengthen customer relationships over time.  

While we use the words “customer” and “consumer” throughout the Imperatives, they are every bit as applicable to the nonprofit world as they are to the commercial world. Nonprofits are competing with Apple and Netflix for attention and dollars from the same consumers.

You don’t need me to tell you that the nonprofit industry is faced with a dauntingly complex marketing landscape. But in that complexity, lies the opportunity to attract more and higher value donors at an individual level, to personalize their experiences, and cultivate deeper relationships than ever before. In the 2017 Marketing Imperatives, we explain how today’s marketing executives can approach this landscape to achieve success. From a nonprofit perspective, this year’s imperatives are as follows:                                   

1. Make your advertising more addressable:

From our Nonprofit Digital Benchmark Report issued earlier this year, we know that the average large nonprofit dedicates more than 15 percent of its total media budget to digital advertising, a number that is sure to rise as your donors continue the shift to digital. And with that increase in budget, you can target much more effectively – the publisher and media industries have modernized to allow targeting to known individuals with ID-based advertising programs (think Facebook Custom Audiences, but across the web). This eliminates waste and improves efficiency. What does this mean for nonprofits? You can now target active or lapsed donors in your file, or target individuals with a high propensity to convert based on a behavioral or motivational data, with relevant advertising that encourages donations. 

2. Make your experiences more personal:

Looking at the broader set of interactions that your audience has with your organization, you know that prospective donors no longer follow a relatively linear conversion funnel. The modern donor’s ability to choose the time, place, and means of engagement is forcing nonprofits to shift from a static campaign strategy to an always-on, dynamic conversation. This means that you must create a personalized experience that meets your donor’s expectations and differentiates their experience.

Companies like Adobe, Oracle, and Salesforce have developed powerful tools that allow real-time, sophisticated decisions to be made that enhance your donors’ digital experience and drive your organization’s objectives. For example, you can customize Adobe Marketing Cloud platforms to serve up a version of your homepage that is optimized to drive donations to people who have begun filling out a donation form yet didn’t convert, while simultaneously serving up a version that promotes your upcoming walk event for those who have participated in prior years, with each instance providing personalized messaging acknowledging their past activities. In short, you can become more like Amazon.

3. Manage your customer relationships over time:

CRM strategy is nothing new in the nonprofit world. We know that the right combination of audience, offer, timing, and media mix can increase gift frequency, average gift, and donor retention rates. But we also know that organizational silos exist, and that different departments are hitting the same people with uncoordinated messaging and asks, which lead to an incoherent experience and erode your valuable donor relationships. How do you combine program efforts to design an optimal, data-driven, and coordinated donor journey that satisfies your donor, event, and advocacy goals? And just as importantly, how does a nonprofit organize itself, with appropriate executive sponsorship and delivery team support, to effectively collaborate to bring about this change? These are difficult and necessary shifts to make, you can find our full thoughts in the Imperatives.

We’re excited about the opportunity for nonprofits to use these strategies to raise more money, more efficiently, and create more meaningful constituent relationships, as you accomplish world-changing missions. It won’t be easy, but then it wouldn’t be any fun, would it?

Download the 2017 Marketing Imperatives today to get the full scoop, and contact us to talk about people-based marketing.