In the current COVID landscape, charities are facing unprecedented challenges in fundraising, logistical issues and discovering new ways to engage with their donors whilst working from home. The Institute of Fundraising’s Supporter Experience Conference was an insightful display into charity success stories, and the ongoing challenges charities are still facing. These are the key points we feel every charity should take from The Supporter Experience Conference 2020.
Charities need to become more supporter centric.
Delivering a great donor experience comes in a variety of ways, but putting supporters at the heart of a charity should always be the priority. Primarily, charities have focused on the beneficiaries and sticking to processes that work for the organisation. But if charities take time to assess what their donors need; they may find gaps in their donor journey that affects retention rate of existing supporters.
Supporter centric is not just a process of putting the donor’s voice at the forefront; it's an organisational mindset that comes from the CEO trickling down to every team member. It’s about understanding the importance of engaging supporters, honouring their commitment and involving them in what your organisation is doing. Whether that is creating a welcome email process for a new donor, checking in on existing donors or ensuring a supporter's first interaction with your charity is memorable in person, via your website or mail.
Automating these processes can significantly improve the donor experience, as long as you follow the six pillars of customer experience excellence:
5. Time and effort
Research by Nunwood showed those who did incorporate these qualities achieved 7x revenue growth compared to those who didn’t.
Now is the time to test & trial.
Once the UK went into lockdown, and everyone had to start working from home, charities had the opportunity to do things differently with their donors. With many charities facing large logistical issues on mailing out; thank you notes to donors, the lack of technology in communicating with donors forced charities to become more technologically savvy. But it has also opened the net for other opportunities.
NFP’s have had to think differently to get projects or communications across the finish line. Maya Thomas from the Make-a-wish-UK talked about the fact the foundation had a period where they couldn't grant wishes. Overall, many charities had to rethink about who they are internally and externally, coming up with contingency plans when events got cancelled and keeping an ideas book to test them and see what works.
NFP's cannot ignore the importance of test, trial, and learn. A donor’s behaviour is continuously changing, and as a result, their journey should too.
Measuring supporter experience is vital.
Transitioning from an ‘I think’ to ‘I know’ is crucial to an NFP's success. Understanding your donors, how happy they are, and what they need to help can be the difference between a campaign sinking or swimming. Whether it’s tracking your donor journey and your communication with each individual supporter, sending out a survey or speaking to your donors one to one to gather feedback. Simple things that can cause a problematic donor journey will likely make a supporter opt-out of helping your organisation. Some want their communications in a specific way, which is why recording the contact you have with supporters is imperative to ensure an excellent donor journey.
Inspire loyalty in donors via creative communication.
During lockdown communicating with donors was challenging due to the change in the working environment, but the fact everyone was working from home also had a humanising effect. There was more time for focusing on supporters and speaking to them one-on-one. There was also a chance to be creative with communications, whether it was by telling emotional stories to let supporters know how their money will help, using case studies and content effectively and incorporating personalisation into communication to better engage supporters.
Mostly, NFP’s focus solely on the ask, but they must highlight the importance of follow-up communications to improve their retention rate. The thank you should be the fun part of the job, but it’s about being creative with it and reaffirming the relationships with donors through recognition.
Overall, charities need to shift the focus from ‘I think’ to ‘I know’ by using data and becoming more supporter-centric. They can do this by using surveys, automating their feedback from donors and incorporating trial test and learn, to create a stronger argument for investment. Investing in digital technology may seem like a cost implication at a time where charities are cutting costs. However, it's essential to recognise adopting technology and automation will gain sustainable success going forwards.
If you’d like to improve your donor journey and assess your historical fundraising performance. Book a fundraising fitness test today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org