-since 2018

Why personalisation is the key to successful digital fundraising

Personalisation is a powerful tool that has many applications for charities – big and small.

Feeling your heart strings pull before you donate is more than just sentimental. Donors want to feel that their donations are personally meaningful to them and have real impact. Personalisation in charity communications has been shown to have a huge effect on fundraising – 44% of donors told Accenture in 2017 that they would be willing to donate up to 10% more for a personalised experience. And that number increases to 62% for Millennials.

A great recent example was The British Heart Foundation, which recently experimented with innovative ideas in outreach with help of video campaign expert EchoMany to produce a personalised campaign video for fundraisers on JustGiving.

The campaign, based around the London to Brighton bike ride, used information from fundraisers’ JustGiving public profile data, dynamically embedding information such as photos and target donations, into the videos so that each one was unique to the fundraiser. This personal touch resulted in a 14% increase in donations.

At the time of the release, Athar Abidi, social media manager at the BHF said: “It’s increasingly important for us to engage in dialogue with our fundraisers. As part of our strategy to drive fundraising, we want to be innovative and use new methods that help our fundraisers encourage more donations as well as thanking them for their incredible support and efforts. Following the success of the London to Brighton bike ride campaign and our previous campaigns with EchoMany we are looking at how else we can use personalised video to support our campaigns.”

Personalised video is a fantastic tool. But for small charities, there are more cost-effective ways to reach out and tell a personalised story. One of the most cost-effective ways of maximising a limited budget is using Instagram.

Woodgreen animal charity made the most of its followers’ content by asking for their own stories of pet adoption, and including them in a personalised Instagram story with their pet’s name.

Data is power

Charities shouldn’t underestimate the power of knowing their audiences. Earlier this year, Charity Digital News and Lightful, a non-profit social media consultancy, joined forces in a webinar on how to make the most out of personalisation. The webinar advocated doing homework on charitable audiences – demographics, most frequently used social media channels, likes, dislikes, age, etc. Using available data on audiences to build a persona can help create a special connection with audiences and ensure you’re only feeding them the content that is most relevant to them.

Pulling all the information gathered from charity websites, social media profiles and demographics help charities build a ‘marketing persona’. The marketing persona can be used in fundraising efforts to appeal to donors. Personas can also be refined over time to target specific donor categories. Strategically, having marketing personas for your potential donors and supporters can make it easier for charities to gauge how donors will react to certain marketing campaigns and feed the right campaign to the right person at the right time.

Taking time to map the possible journey a donor takes to donate or engage ensures that charity fundraising reach is targeted, and thinking like the customer or donor empowers fundraising managers to make improvements. In general, Think Consulting Services recommends mapping the customer experience for three main benefits: thinking big picture, helping to think like the customer and prioritising improvements.

A great example is Shelter, and how they segmented their audience for a richer understanding of how to take each of their supporters on a personal journey.

As Ryan Burdock, Team Leader, Fundraising at Prospectus explains:

“Today’s audience expect a personalised, easy and seamless experience, no matter what device or channel they are using… good digital fundraisers need to have an understanding of user experience and digital journey planning principles.”

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