Enhance Donor Engagement With Personalized Marketing: 3 Tips

Nonprofit audiences prefer personalized marketing that helps them feel connected to your mission. Improve your donor engagement with these marketing strategies.

From promotional emails to social media ads, your nonprofit’s supporters are used to seeing marketing messages targeted at a broad audience. Engaging in this type of outreach can be valuable in making your nonprofit’s name known. However, once you make that initial contact, you have the opportunity to nurture and strengthen long-term connections with supporters who are genuinely interested in your cause through personalized marketing efforts. 

Personalized marketing takes each donor’s specific relationship with your nonprofit into account, ensuring each message you send engages supporters and reaffirms the impact they’re having on your cause. Here are three steps you can follow to market to each donor on a personal level.  

Download: Donor Cultivation & Stewardship Plan Template

1. Create Donor Profiles

Nonprofits can manage their relationships with each donor by creating donor profiles in their CRM. Every time a donor engages with your nonprofit, you can record the interaction and any notable information that was gleaned from it. 

For example, on a donation form, you might make it optional for supporters to share their employment information and discover several donors work for one of your corporate partners. This information could then be leveraged when communicating with these donors to promote a matching gift program you have with that employer or encourage them to join an employee volunteer day. 

Record information that is relevant to your nonprofit’s mission and engagement goals. A few common types of data nonprofits track in their donor profiles include:

  • Demographic information: Basic information about your supporters, such as their age range and location, can help you identify your different audiences. As you continue your engagement, create opportunities to gather other relevant data, such as their communication preferences, how they discovered your organization, and their giving preferences. 
  • Engagement history: Take note of what type of content your supporters engage with. If a donor has attended several of your most recent events, you might send them an email that thanks them for their participation and highlights an upcoming event. By contrast, for a supporter who occasionally volunteers, you might instead share a list of convenient volunteer opportunities. 

  • Giving potential: Major donors usually start their engagement with a nonprofit as moderate donors. Use prospect research tools to identify supporters with the capacity to become a major donor and an affinity for your organization. Maintaining this information in a donor profile can be essential for your major gift officers to manage long-term relationships with major giving candidates.

Most nonprofit CRMs offer donor profile features. However, they differ in their customizability, scalability, and comprehensiveness. Popular CRM providers like Salesforce NPSP and Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge NXT provide some out-of-the-box tools for constructing donor profiles but also offer nonprofits the option to fine-tune their donor databases with add-ons and customization. You might choose to limit your customization to create a few custom tags for your donor profiles or go as far as working with a consultant to build out the features you need.

Once donor profiles are populated within your CRM, you can also use tools like Instil to gain a mobile-friendly view of your donor information, equipped with automated task management and donor portfolio management tools to enable targeted major gifts outreach

2. Segment Your Supporters 

Use the information you collect about your donors to identify characteristics that they share with one another. Divide them into groups based on these characteristics to more closely align the marketing content they receive from your nonprofit with their interests. This process is known as segmentation, and it is essential for crafting personalized messages at scale. 

Segmentation improves donor retention by ensuring your nonprofit continually sends supporters content that is relevant to them over boilerplate messages intended for a broad audience. For example, when promoting your planned giving program, you would segment your supporters by age to share the program with your older audience and avoid alienating new, younger donors. 

How you segment your donors depends on your marketing objectives. However, there are a few common groups nonprofits segment their donors into, such as:

  • New donors: First-time donors are still learning about your nonprofit and may need additional encouragement to become long-term supporters. Consider creating an email cadence that introduces them to your cause and demonstrates the impact of donations. 
  • Recurring donors: Moderate recurring donors are already familiar with your nonprofit and have demonstrated a commitment to furthering your cause. Messages to these donors should focus on retention and maintaining engagement. For instance, you might share updates on long-term initiatives they have given to over the years or highlight new ways to get involved outside of donating.

  • Volunteers: Volunteers can become a nonprofit’s most dedicated donors with the right outreach strategy. For these supporters, your outreach should still focus on volunteer opportunities, as that is what they have shown interest in. However, you can move them towards becoming donors by strategically sending fundraising-oriented emails. You might promote upcoming summer volunteer opportunities for your fundraisers and send a follow-up message asking supporters to consider giving this summer. 

Use segmentation to create message templates for each group. Then, use the personal information collected in your donor profiles to populate specific areas of your messages and make them unique to each supporter. For example, you might provide an update on an initiative and customize each message by referencing if a supporter has donated yet and, if they have, how much they’ve given. 

3. Take An Omnichannel Approach

Most nonprofit marketing professionals are familiar with the term “multi-channel marketing,” which refers to using multiple communication channels to spread their message. Multi-channel marketing is useful for attracting new donors as it creates multiple touchpoints across different platforms, increasing the chances that a potential supporter who uses one or several of those platforms will act on a call-to-action and donate. 

Omnichannel marketing considers all of the platforms your nonprofit uses to keep in touch with donors and where in the donor journey each supporter is. Rather than spreading the same message across multiple platforms, omnichannel marketing personalizes the experience for supporters by having each message build on the one that came before it. 

For example, a new supporter might first engage with your nonprofit when they join an employee volunteer program at their workplace. After this in-person interaction, you might send an email thanking them for their participation and sharing more information about your cause and how their help furthered your mission. 

Then, you would follow this email with a mailed letter promoting a fundraising event dedicated to funding the initiative they helped as a volunteer. After the event, you would email them a thank-you letter for their attendance and have a member of your team give them a brief phone call to thank them for their support and ask for a donation. 

This approach creates a cohesive donor journey where supporters feel like every action they take is meaningful. To get started with omnichannel marketing, consider your digital marketing strategy and how you record online interactions with supporters. Track this data to determine the primary channels your supporters use to engage with your nonprofit and where each supporter currently is in their donor journey. 

Nonprofit supporters want to engage with organizations that reach out to them as individuals. Build relationships with your donors by sending them content that aligns with their interests, recognizes their personal contributions, and encourages them to take the next step on their donor journey. 

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