As the cost of doing business is increasing and the biggest donors (baby boomers) now need to watch their pennies a little more closely and the next generation of donors are more skeptical and demanding – organisations are forced to innovate and change or suffer a slow and undignified – well, you get the picture.
Acquiring new supporters
Many organisations are focusing on growth and acquisition now that the worst of the GFC has passed and consumer confidence and spending seems to be on the increase. But acquiring new donors is expensive and time consuming and quite frankly the good ones, who will stick with you, are hard to find. There is a huge amount of drop off rate and churn in any acquisition campaign and I love that the term used for this is “jeopardy”, it’s very fitting. But fundraisers don’t seem to pay it enough mind, perhaps because they’re looking at a 18-36 month profitability cycle?
We know that a new prospect, supporter or donor is most engaged at the point of participation. To convert a prospect or supporter into a donor, we must capitalise on this “period of inspiration” and continue to engage, inspire and activate these people. This is where the on boarding or conversion strategy needs to come into play and it frustrates me that too many organisations are satisfied waiting weeks before their second supporter touchpoint. The moment of inspiration has definitely passed and as for building empathy, trust or any kind of relationship, they’ve just made it much harder for themselves.
Onboarding new supporters is like dating
Imagine having a great first date and then getting no text, no email, no twitter message and no call for 3 weeks? That would push almost any sane person well past the “she’s playing it cool” stage and into the “they’re not interested in me” mindset. That’s how your donors feel and all it achieves is a drawn out, longer nurture and conversion process, when you could have received additional gifts by now.
Organisations can use digital channels to “on-board” new supporters and convert them into donors, faster and with better results than you’re currently getting.
Converting supporters into donors
These new supporters may be prospects that fit your ideal donors demographic profile, they may support similar causes, they may be volunteers, activists or attend events. Often in the online space, they’re supporters (or subscribers) then campaigners and activists and we want to take them on a journey towards financial support.
A thoughtful on boarding strategy will also migrate a cash donor into a regular giver. On boarding is not exclusively to people new to an organisation, it’s people new to a way of contributing and they need to be valued at every level of support, not just for regular giving.
An on boarding strategy, which is essentially a series of communications at the beginning of their new phase of support, will be beneficial for existing cash donors who have just made the decision to commit to regular monthly giving. The on boarding process will help them understand why their contribution is so valuable and why it is this segment of people who are so important to non-profits and their survival.
Please use the comments below to tell us if your organisation has an on-boarding process in place for their new donors? And how long it spans before the supporter is rolled into general communications.