Every year, organizations must adapt to changes in the philanthropic world and modernize their practices to achieve their fundraising goals. In this sense, wouldn't it be ideal to be able to design personalized communications to its audiences and create a path that would guide those audiences to become donors? Thanks to lead generation and lead nurturing, this is possible!
Reaching your donation goals through leads
"What is a lead?"
A lead is a term that refers to a contact with whom your organization will interact to convert him or her into a donor. On a larger scale, the leads collected form a large audience with which your organization can interact. A communication gold mine!
From this data, you can segment your contacts (based on their use of communication channels, their goals and challenges), classify them according to their chance of converting and, above all, personalize your communications based on these criteria. Moreover, lead generation is a more cost-effective strategy than traditional marketing, as you will avoid spending time and money on those who have no interest in your organization or philanthropy in general.
Sounds too good to be true? This article will help you understand the world of leads: from lead generation to lead nurturing!
Lead generation: a source of opportunities
Leads do not magically appear in your database. To generate leads, your organization must first stand out from its competition. Each year, the number of charities and fundraising campaigns continues to grow, offering a greater choice of social causes and/or organizations to support.
The challenge for each organization always starts with visibility. The use of social networks allows you to be seen at low cost, but the simple attention of a visitor will not be enough to make him give you his contact information. You must be regarded as an organization worthy of his donation. How do you do this?
We can't repeat it enough, storytelling is your greatest ally in producing engaging and quality content. For example, illustrate a concrete problem where the visitor will be the solution: " Even today, more than 2 billion people don’t have access to a source of drinking water. Thanks to your donations, Organization X will be able to provide access to drinking water in more than 5 villages in region Y".
Next, direct the visitor to your web platform to further engage him with a call-to-action: "Visit our website to learn more about the impact of your donation”.
The exchange of value
To convert an individual into a lead, you need to offer an exchange where they will get value from it. If he has visited your website to learn more about access to clean water, suggest signing up for a newsletter or a downloadable report on the impact of past donations to your cause. If he feels that your information content is relevant enough, he will provide you with his information.
Congratulations! You finally have a lead. Now, what do you need to do to turn him into a donor?
Lead nurturing: maturing hesitant leads into donors
Not all leads are at the same stage in the decision-making process. Nurturing is the process of maturing a prospect to conversion and loyalty to your organization. Here are the phases a lead will go through before becoming a donor.
At this stage, a prospect is not yet aware of the magnitude of the need for your social cause. He or she probably has too vague a vision of your mission and does not realize the suffering directly experienced on the ground. It's time for you to help your potential donor understand why it's important for them to make a donation and why, without it, the problem remains. Thus, you have your goal. Now it' s important to communicate it gently, to stay true to your communication focus and not fall into cliché. At the end of this phase, your contact will realize the existence of the problem they wish to solve through their contribution.
This phase is well named. Your potential donor has clearly identified the problem you want to address and feels mobilized by your cause. Now, they are considering the various foundations/organizations that can address this problem. Here, the goal is to introduce your foundation, your values and your roots in all transparency. In this regard, it will be relevant to demonstrate that yes, many foundations address this cause, but that you have a distinctive approach. Far from the idea of being better than another organization, expose a field application and a purpose to which donors can identify.
For example, everyone knows that there are several foundations that provide food to needy children in Quebec. Some foundations offer school breakfasts, while others offer weekly food donations to families. Both approaches are good, but as a donor, I may identify more with one than the other. In summary, you need to demonstrate that while your cause is served by many organizations, yours has its own approach that is worth supporting.
At this stage, a lead is aware of the problem and recognizes your organization among the solutions. To gain credibility, you will need to repeat your presences by providing more and more information that justifies the choice of your organization. Maintaining a relationship through social media or emailing is essential to stay in your prospects' minds. We will see the notions of re-engagement and repetition later.
Now that the lead has the necessary information and you have gained credibility in their eyes, it’s time to redirect them towards a donation campaign. According to the lead's persona, propose a customized campaign that will meet the criteria you have established. The personalization principle will be essential at this stage.
The personalization principle
You may have heard the expression, « if you talk to everyone, you talk to no one ». The same goes for interactions with your potential donors. In order to properly target your leads and have a better web visitor/donor conversion rate, create personas that will represent the typical supporters of your organization. Beyond general characteristics like age, gender or occupation, focus on the following:
The goals: What is the #1 aspect that mobilizes them towards your cause? Do they want to make a monthly or one-time donation, an "In Memoriam" or even an anonymous donation? Do they want to participate in a fundraising activity and engage their peers, or simply make an annual donation before the tax deadline?
The challenges: What are the blockers that might prevent them from making a donation? For example, how can they be sure of the transactional security, or the real impact of a donation? Do they have the patience to fill out a form or would they prefer a quick payment method like ApplePay to have their information automatically filled out?
The channels used: Where to reach them? On which platforms should you position your donation appeals? You'll definitely use an emailing strategy, but still. Will you engage them through Facebook, Instagram, or other social platforms?
The choice of channels used often depends on the generation to which your typical donor belongs. For example, millennials use digital social media more frequently and are less responsive to email than Gen Xers or baby boomers.
Want to learn more about millennial donors?
These characteristics will allow you to create customized campaigns to maximize the conversion rate of visitors into donors. However, the more specific a campaign is, the fewer potential donors it will reach. What can be done to remedy this situation?
Diversify your campaigns: there is no such thing as one size fits all
Gone are the days when a foundation/organization would only run one major campaign! To take advantage of your entire database, it's important to create multiple campaigns that will reach your different types of donors.
We mentioned above about using the right channel for the right type of potential donor. Now, what's the point of having a very personalized communication channel to finally redirect all your visitors to the same fundraising campaign? It wouldn't really make sense, would it? In fact, it's very important to think about what will engage your core audiences the most when planning your next fundraising activities. Here are some creative examples to increase your chances of conversion:
A peer-to-peer campaign linked to a challenge, like Movember or the Ice Bucket Challenge to rally millennials from social platforms.
An annual campaign aimed at supporters with a higher average donation, offering the distribution of donations (depending on the projects underway in your organization).
An online store to meet certain material needs of consumers who would like to support your organization and your cause.
So, we see several fundraising scenarios that appeal to different types of donors. In comparison, imagine presenting the annual campaign suggesting a high average donation to millennials or the Ice Bucket Challenge to a 65–75-year-old community. Offering the right fundraising campaign to the right type of donor is crucial to growing your donation dollars.
Re-engagement: wake up your dormant donors
As mentioned above, a prospect may not make an immediate decision to donate. Don't give up on your efforts, re-engage them! The principle of re-engagement is to interact with a prospect several times to get them to act.
You may have shopped online and added a product to your cart without ever completing your purchase and then received an email reminding you to complete the transaction. This is a perfect example of re-engagement.
The repetition principle
Lead nurturing sometimes requires interacting several times with the same lead to convert him or her. The principle of repetition is based on maintaining delicate communication between the organization and the prospect, without ever exasperating the latter. This is a difficult exercise, but repetition has several advantages:
It promotes the memorization of your brand or organization: a strong and renowned identity greatly helps conversion into donations, when the time comes.
It gives credibility: humans tend to perceive a brand or organization more favorably when they are exposed to it several times
It addresses everyday distractions: often a simple distraction can divert a potential donor from making a donation. Repetition will address the different timings in your interactions with your potential donor.
In general, re-engagement is about making good on your previous efforts and ensuring that as few donors as possible fall through the cracks. In other words, you want to maximize your return on investment. By the way, did you know that you are eligible for financial assistance for your various fundraising activities?
Google Ad Grants: paid help
Have you ever done a search on Google and noticed the ads at the top of the page? This type of advertising is called search engine marketing (SEM). Many brands pay to be displayed on your queries. Google Ad Grants is a financial aid program for NPOs that can provide up to 10,000 USD per month in advertising credits. With this support, you can advertise for free and be displayed at the top of the page, or just below the paid ads.
To qualify for the program, your NPO must be registered in its country, have a secure website, and meet Google's terms of service. Using SEM with Ad Grants is ideal for fully deploying the diversity of campaigns we talked about above and, having an increased presence when your audiences are looking for answers (the purpose of a search engine, right).
Gathering contact information is essential for philanthropic organizations to generate the maximum number of donors and thus contribute to the success of their social mission. To do this, create engaging content and offer it as a valuable exchange for their information. To gain credibility, demonstrate how you are different and use repetition to your advantage. To maximize your chances of conversion, address each typical donor with the right fundraising activity. Finally, make sure you take advantage of the help that is available to you. Your social mission is important, use all the tools at your disposal to succeed!
Need a helping hand to build your next fundraising campaigns? Our team is an expert in both strategy and tools to deploy your fundraising.
Contact us for a free exploratory meeting today and take your organization to new heights.