5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Donor Engagement Platform
Your ability to reach supporters, communicate vital information, and spur action is critical for the success of your mission. These days, you can mobilize your supporters and drive action in a multitude of ways.
That’s why it’s imperative that your donor engagement platform connects every aspect of your digital and real world presence in one place. And while the first thing to look for in a donor engagement platform is its ability to seamlessly connect all your digital assets, that’s just the beginning.
Here are the other top five features your nonprofit will need to make the most of your platform for your organization.
- Communication and outreach. Connection with your supporters is vital, and you need to be able to reach those who care about your cause in targeted ways. Take stock of the current channels you use to connect with your supporters. Your donor management software might offer its own e-mail builder, SMS text platform, or social media analytics manager. If you’re an advocacy organization, it may even offer tools that empower your supporters to e-mail their elected officials, phone their representatives, or sign petitions. You should aim to centralize as much outbound communication as you can in your system. Get the most out of the data you’re collecting and make this tool a true one-stop-shop for you and your team.
- Robust analytics. You don’t know how well your organization is reaching supporters (and therefore spurring action) unless you have the analytics to tell you. At a minimum, you need your system to be able to: - Build custom reports, Monitor trends around giving- Track time spent volunteering - See your audience and email list growth - Follow the size (and acquisition and retention) of your membership - And finally, track your revenueAnalytics tied to your campaigns can tell you what worked with your supporters, what didn’t, and who was engaged or not engaged. You can see who the most active people are in your community – those at the top of the engagement pyramid – and learn from their journey with you, replicating it for others.If you don’t consider yourself a data nerd, don’t worry. Think about what an ideal experience might look like from one of your supporters – perhaps beginning with a follow on social media and ending with them donating, signing up for an action, or becoming a volunteer. Start there. Then, explore what metrics might be tied to each of these actions, and how your system can report on who is doing what. Make sure your system can report on every action your organization cares about when you assess your impact. Otherwise, the insights you gather won’t enable your organization to reach its full potential.
- Streamlined forms. In order to collect donations, membership payments, and supporter information, you need clean, streamlined forms. Many forms come standard with certain platforms, but you should be able to style them to fit your brand. Salesforce and EveryAction offer an implementation consultant to help with project management and customization (like brand styling). But beware: These customizations don’t come cheap. Ideally, your platform has flexible and user-friendly forms.If your forms aren’t easy for supporters to fill out, they are much less likely to convert. If the forms you’re asking supporters to fill out aren’t intuitive, they will get frustrated by the friction and be more apt to leave your site altogether.Clean, organized forms not only make it easier for your supporters to engage with your organization, but they also make things easier on your team to keep information digitized instead of slogging through data entry from paper forms.
- Powerful donation processing. Your fundraising portfolio is critical to your organization’s ability to drive change. The platform your nonprofit uses must be able to fully reflect your organization’s fundraising portfolio all in one place — and be the source of truth.Most platforms have the ability to alert you to funding opportunities with specific tools that give you insight into your major donors’ actions (such as clicking on a campaign email). Add-on tools like Wealth Engine show you invaluable personal data about the giving history and demographic information so you better target your asks to potential large-dollar donors. Finally, if you can track grant applications and opportunities for fundraising through your donor engagement platform, all the better.
- List segmentation and management. The pressure is on for your nonprofit to reach the right audience. Your most effective message is the targeted one. Therefore, list segmentation and management are key to getting the most out of your communications. The good news is that nearly every donor management system allows for custom profile fields for you to track everything from giving history to tracking more personal details, like the issues they care about or their kids’ names. Being able to track your supporters’ details fosters ongoing relationships, which in turn fosters a deeper commitment to your cause. You can use this detailed data to target your email lists, real world asks, and deliver powerful insights through reporting.
It’s Always a Good Time to Get a Donor Engagement Platform
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to go all in on a new donor engagement platform (or update your existing one) think about this: If you won the lottery tomorrow, left your job, and went backpacking on the Pacific Crest Trail, would your organization lose critical relationship information, donor history, or process knowledge? If so, it’s time to start your research.
Implementing a robust, intuitive donor engagement platform for your organization can be a complete game changer when it comes to efficiency, streamlined information, strategic insights, and so much more. But most importantly, a powerful donor engagement platform gives your organization the valuable insights it needs to maximize impact — and put you that much closer to realizing your nonprofit’s vision.