A recent study by nonprofit software provider Abila revealed a number of interesting insights into donor behavior and loyalty (full report here). Specifically, it gives hard numbers supporting an idea you have likely suspected, and perhaps avoided, in recent years: Donors expect increasingly personalized content, delivered through an appropriate and accessible channel.
Abila’s survey found that 72% of respondents said content affects whether or not they donate, and identified four “danger zones” for content:
- Too vague
- Inconvenient format
- Dull and boring
- Irrelevant programs
All of these areas can be traced back to personalization. As for-profit companies raise the bar on personalized marketing techniques, nonprofits must adjust to the new expectations in the minds of donors. Albia’s study also found that 71% of donors feel more engaged with personalized appeals.
Simply using a donor’s name in the salutation is no longer enough. Donors expect content that matches their interest in your organization. Perhaps a donor who gives to a hospital is interested in pediatrics, but not orthopedics. Or, perhaps a donor supporting a human services organization is more interested in services for the disabled than youth and family services. The more you are able to customize the information you disseminate to individual donors, the more engaged they will be.
This information is useful in itself, but it’s also a good reminder that you need to know what your donors are interested in. And not just major gift donors, but all donors. Some of this may be gleaned from the specific organizational funds donors are directing their gifts to, but you might also consider a short survey that asks what donors are interested in and what form of communications they prefer. This creates a dialogue with donors, instead of simply talking at them.
All this customization might seem daunting, but some solace comes from Aliba’s finding that donors prefer shorter messages of a few paragraphs or a few minutes of video. The report also contains some interesting findings on how frequently different age groups prefer to be communicated with, and we encourage you to dig in further.
Shocking Statistic: 78% of Chief Marketing Officers see custom content as the future of marketing (Demand Metric).
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