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The Importance Of Donor Experience & How To Improve It

Author: Adie M.

When it comes to retaining donors, the donor experience is something every NPO should take very seriously. After all, it can mean the difference between a once-off donation and lifelong support. 

Think about it this way: a donation, at its core, is a transaction, just like any other. As such, you should be thinking about your donors like any other business would think about their consumers. This includes the experience they have with your organization at every touchpoint along their ‘customer’ journey. 

7 Ways To Improve Your NPO’s Donor Experience

Here are a few ways in which you can address the donor experience from the moment a potential benefactor hears about your nonprofit until the day they are convinced to become lifelong donors: 

Understand & Segment Your Audience(s)  

When calling for donations or creating awareness about your cause, it can be tempting to create marketing material that 'speaks to everyone'. 

After all, anyone can donate to your cause, so shouldn't your target demo be 'everyone'? Well, not if you want your campaigns to be successful. 

See, people donate for vastly different reasons. And you need to know what those reasons are so you can leverage them. 

A good place to start is to segment your existing donors according to data points like age, gender, and income bracket. This type of data will tell you what type of person is most likely to donate to your cause. 

This is very valuable information that can give you some pointers on where to find more of the same type of donor. 

For instance, you may find that women between 35 and 60 tend to give liberally to your cause. This data point alone can help you to tailor paid social media ads that target their profiles in particular. Or, you might create an online auction with bidding items that speak to this demographic. E.g. spa days, sessions with a fashion stylist, specialist car detailing, etc. 

The point is that the better you know your audience(s), the more you can tailor your marketing material and strategy to speak to the right type of prospective donor in a way that appeals to them in particular. 

Put the Fun Back Into Fundraising 

There are certain tried-and-tested fundraising ideas that always work. However, those same ideas have been around the block so many times that prospective donors get just as bored with it as your fundraising team is likely to be. This is why it’s a great idea to keep things as fresh (and fun!) as possible. 

Be sure to find some cool, interesting fundraising ideas that your NPO might try this year, and don’t be afraid to try something new. 

TOP TIP: Shoot for fundraisers that will allow your donors to engage with their community in an uplifting,  yet meaningful way. 

Happy man celebrating

Upgrade Your Digital Donation Tools

Donors like things to be simple, hassle-free, and even fun (if you can swing it). Never in the history of commerce has any individual hoped for a long complicated sign-up or transacting experience. 

This is just human nature. We tend to take the route of least resistance. This is because our brains are hardwired to seek out simple solutions

As such, it’s highly recommended that every NPO should upgrade their online donation tools as often as possible. The goal should be to make it as simple as humanly possible to give to your cause. 

Remember, every time a prospective donor hits a snag or friction point along their online donation journey, you stand a chance of losing them. So make sure that your payment gateways are A-grade, secure, and simple to use. 

Incentivize Your Donors

When we give to a charitable cause, we know that we should not expect a pat on the back. However, offering incentives will always be a good way to secure new donors and inspire repeat donations. 

Find interesting ways to incentivize new and existing donors to become involved with your cause. There are a great many ways to do so. 

For instance, you could start a ‘donor of the week’ (or month) showcase on your organization’s social media platforms or your website. This way, you can shine the spotlight on some of your regular donors - with their permission, of course!  

Get Regular Feedback

The best way to understand which parts of your promotional and actual donation process work and which don't, is to ask your donors. 

Ideally, you need to build a network of highly engaged, ongoing benefactors that you can ask for advice and poll on a regular basis. When your cause is close to someone's heart, they will go the extra mile to help your NPO survive and thrive. 

As such, take the time to leverage review surveys that will give you first-hand feedback on your current approach. Pulse surveys (5 - 10 questions) tend to work quite well. Bonus points if you put it in multiple-choice format and allow your donor pool to share their input via mobile.  

Create A Fresh Look & Feel

Even though your organization is not for profit, you are still running a business and you still have competitors in the field. This means that you have to set yourself apart - just like any other company. 

As such, it helps to update the look and feel of your brand and marketing from time to time. It’s important that your organization has an appealing look and style so that donors will easily recognize it and enjoy interacting with you across platforms. 

Show Authentic Appreciation 

Never underestimate the value of a sincere thank you. Even when someone donates to your cause without any need to be recognized in public, a heartfelt email or printed card that thanks them personally can make all the difference in improving the donor experience! 

Two women sitting and laughing

Start Improving Donor Experience Today

The importance of the donor experience cannot be overstated. Improving it will always stand your organization in good stead. 

Start by understanding and segmenting your audience(s). Put the fun back into fundraising and upgrade your digital donation tools. Incentivize donors, know what you need and how to communicate it, and create a fresh look and feel. Most importantly, show authentic appreciation so that your donors know you truly value and appreciate them!