Why donor engagement matters

Last time, we talked about donor engagement as the new acquisition. By focusing energy and resources on delivering meaningful experience, you can retain donors at a higher rate, thus reducing the need to stay on the acquisition and attrition hamster wheel. There will be a few themes that you will see through the series of engagement opportunities you have at your disposal. One of the key ingredients is that you must KYC: Know Your Customers. Donors, employees, clients, volunteers – all different types of customers. We have all been guilty from time to time of taking a shortcut and sending out a campaign where the salutation is generic, instead of being specific and personalized. Perhaps it came down to time, or data quality, or a technology issue. But are we really inspired when we get a “Dear supporter” or “Dear friend” via mail or email? Surely not.

In a world where we are targeted at seemingly the genetic level with content, ads, groups, posts, and opinions, we can’t get away with this anymore.  Out battle for mindshare with all these companies who have more resources at their disposal is not a fair fight. So, we need to take every effort we can to deliver one to many experiences that look and feel personalized. Enter personalized video content.  The good news it that the technology has gotten better, and the cost has dropped dramatically over the past several years. This is now an accessible opportunity for us all to leverage. Consider this test.

A Canadian non-profit ran this email test but held back a control panel to see the medium-term effect on overall giving.  The email content was driven by an internationally recognized day in the calendar. In the generic video group, donors received an email with a video thanking them for their support. In the personalized video test segment, the donor’s first name appeared on the screen and the video started with a verbalization of their first name as well. The open rates for the email were roughly the same (this wasn’t a test component). However, the click-through rate on the personalized video was 83% higher in English and 57% higher in French. Perhaps even more encouraging was that the completion rate of the video was 70%.

 The effect was not only at that point of engagement. The giving levels of all three groups was evaluated over the next several months and demonstrated an encouraging find. The group who received the personalized video had given 9% more than the control panel and 7.4% over the generic video in the high value segment. In the loyal segment, personalized video donors gave 11% more than the control and 7.6% than the generic video treatment.

Donor engagement can’t be separate from fundraising. It needs to be infused. You will be asked to quantify the impact. This is how you can do it. Treating donors better means more money for your mission.