In my line of work I spend most of my time thinking about the intersection of fundraising and technology. I’m constantly looking for new technologies capable of helping charities inspire generosity. And, in my opinion, Marketing Automation is the most powerful (and underutilized) new fundraising technology available on the market today.
Marketing automation is simply software that helps organizations more effectively market on multiple channels (mail, email, social media, etc.) by automating a series of tasks. In other words, it helps you automate and personalize communication for 10,000 donors in a way that used to be possible for only your top 100 donors. Recent research shows that over 70% of businesses use marketing automation to drive customer behavior, but this technology is often underutilized in the fundraising space. When it’s fully integrated into your donor management software, we believe that automation can be the key that unlocks generosity at your organizations – without dramatically increasing your costs.
Each marketing automation series kicks off automatically (without your intervention) based on specific donor behaviors, passions, giving capacities, location, etc.
We’ve included a few examples of our favorite marketing automation series below to provide clarity on how your organization can use automation to increase giving.
Creating a strong relationship with new donors is critical to building generosity over time. An important aspect to new donor engagement is the effectiveness of your “welcome series” in getting a second gift in the first 90 days after a donor comes on file. Studies show that only 23% of your new donors will go on to donate again – but once they give a second gift, there’s a 60% chance that they will give a third time. The key to getting a second gift is your ability to connect the passions and super powers of an individual donor to your mission; then you have a donor for life. They need to feel like they are a part of your cause.
A great way to create this connection is through a welcome series of communications that introduces a donor to your cause, as well as to stories about the impact of your work. Unfortunately, 70% of charities don’t send a welcome series to new donors, which often doesn’t lead to a second gift or foster a personal connection in the first 90 days. This lack of early connection is a generosity killer! We recommend a welcome series that touches the donor on multiple channels in order to dramatically increase the likelihood that they’ll stick around. Here’s an example of an automated series that we recommend to start immediately when a donor comes on file to maximize results:
Modern donors expect you to close the loop and let them know what their time and money are accomplishing in the world. Most nonprofits do a bad job of reporting impact back to their donors. As a result, donors feel like they are just transactions instead of feeling like collaborators in your cause. When a project completes, we recommend automating a series of communications to all donors who gave to that project. That series can look something like this:
It costs far more to acquire new donors than to keep the ones you already have. Communicating with lapsed donors to reinvigorate their passion is an important strategy for growing generosity. Your CRM should be able to detect lapsed and pre-lapsed donors so that you can automatically kick off a stream of communication to reactivate. One of our favorite workflows for this includes:
Most charities lack a proactive strategy for soliciting planned gifts (wills, etc.). These long term gifts can be crucial for the sustainability of your organization over the long haul. By mining donor data, you can identify planned giving candidates and proactively engage with them using nonprofit marketing automation. Here’s a marketing automation series that can be helpful in driving new planned givers:
IF a Donor is over 55 and IF they have a wealth score of over X, THEN:
Traditional fundraising strategies no longer work. This blueprint explains why today's donor expects more, and how nonprofits are shifting to responsive fundraising.