Robin L. Cabral, MA, CFRE, MFIA will take you through a multichannel approach to donor communications through using lead magnets and customer sales maps to acquire new donors, align digital strategies to form a cohesive donor journey, and build meaningful donor relationships through timely touchpoints.

Full Transcript:

Steven: Go. All right, Robin, I got 4:00 eastern. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started?

Robin: Let’s go.

Steven: All right, cool. Well, good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “How to Acquire New Donors and Create an Engaging Donor Journey in 2020.” It’s 2020. We’re recording late June, 2020. I hope you’re all doing okay. Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy. And it’s so nice to see you all here. Thanks for being here. I’m Steven. I’m over here at Bloomerang. And I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always.

And just a couple of housekeeping items before we get going here. Just want to let you all know that we are recording this presentation. We’ll send out the recording and the slides later on today. So don’t worry if you have to leave early, if you get interrupted, if you miss something. Don’t worry, we’ll get all that good stuff in your hands later today.

But most importantly, I know a lot of you already have but please feel free to use that chat box. Send us questions, send us comments, introduce yourself. We’re going to try save time at the end for Q&A. So don’t be shy. We’d love to hear from you. There’s a chat box and a Q&A box. I’ll keep an eye on both of those things. I’ll also keep an eye on the Twitter feed, if you want to send us a Tweet. But either way, we’d love to hear from you. So don’t be shy.

If this is your first Bloomerang webinar, just want to offer you a special welcome, tell you what Bloomerang is if you’ve been wondering just for context. We do these webinars all the time. We do them a couple times a week nowadays. But what we’re most known for is our software. We’re a donor database provider. So if you’re interested in that or just curious about us, check out our website. You can watch tons of videos, you can talk to us. It’s pretty easy to find us. But that’s just for context, in case you’re wondering what the heck Bloomerang was.

Don’t check us out now because we got a real friend of the program joining us from beautiful, this is not a joke, Australia by way of my hometown, New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Robin, how’s it going? You doing okay? What time is it there? What day is it there?

Robin: I have no idea.

Steven: I don’t know.

Robin: What is it? 6:00 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Steven: 6:00 a.m. on Thursday

Robin: It is a Thursday.

Steven: Wow. And it’s 4:00 p.m. Wednesday for me, which I never quite understood how that worked. But wow, this is a treat. In case you folks listening haven’t discovered that Robin, very graciously fit this into her busy schedule. She’s over there for work. She splits her time. And it’s really awesome to have you, Robin. Thank you. Thank you for doing this. I know you’ve been up early talking to clients. You’re talking to clients after this. Squeezing this in. So I’m just so thankful. You’re one of my favorites.

Robin: Aww, shucks.

Steven: Yeah, you’ve done webinars for us. We’ve collaborated on cool things and you’re all in for a treat. Robin’s awesome. She speaks all the time. She writes all the time. She does lots of great coaching. She’s been doing this for many, many years. You’re going to want to connect with her afterwards for sure. But she’s got some cool stuff. I learned earlier that Australia is kind of a hotbed for digital fundraising. So she’s been able to glean some of those insights and want to share them with you. So, Robin, I’m going to make you the host. I hope it works. Here we go. Change host. And I’ll let you pull up your slides . . .

Robin: Yep, I’m good to go. Yeah.

Steven: Cool.

Robin: All right. Can you see the slides?

Steven: Not yet. I still only see your smiling face there.

Robin: Oh, wait a minute. Oh, boy. What am I doing wrong . . . ?

Steven: Might have to hit the share button.

Robin: I share my screen.

Steven: Yeah.

Robin: Gosh, here we go.

Steven: There it goes.

Robin: All right. Oh, my goodness. All right. So we’re ready to roll, Steven.

Steven: All right. The floor is yours, my friend.

Robin: Hey, let’s take it away. All right, welcome everyone to “How to Acquire New Donors and Create an Engaging Donor Journey in 2020.” And as Steven was saying, this is direct from Australia. And I mean the learnings. I’ve been learning a lot since I’ve been here, and I’m going to share everything I have learned with you today. But as Steven mentioned, I am the owner of a small consulting firm, Development Consulting Solutions in the northeast United States. And I mainly do coaching these days of executive directors and fundraisers, both strategic as well as career advancement coaching.

You know what a CFRA is, you know what an MA is, but you probably don’t know what an MFIA is, right? And you’re wondering how do I get one of those? That is because you will have to be a member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia.

So here’s what we’re going to be looking at today. We’re going to be taking a look at what is a multichannel approach to donor communications? And as I was mentioning to Steven, I’m going to bring in some for-profit techniques, right? You’re probably like, “No, sales and fundraising don’t go together,” but I’m going to show you how to use lead magnets and customer sales maps. You know, for those of you that have been in sales, you recognize these terms “to acquire new donors,” and guess what? Very cost effectively and efficiently. And how do you create . . . ? How do you align these strategies to create or what they call here in Australia is a donor journey? And I’m going to talk more about that. But as part of the donor journey, you will find that we build meaningful relationships through timely touch points, and then we’ll talk about how do we actually track and measure those?

And I believe I’ve provided Steven with some resources and/or I can send those out to you after the webinar. So what is a multichannel approach? I have a lot of information and I’m going to go through it rather briskly. So save all of your questions and comments until the end, but what is a multichannel approach? So it is an integrated approach that targets multiple streams, both offline and online, both direct and indirect channel.

Sometimes we forget that multichannel is more than just digital. It’s also things like face-to-face fundraising, for those of you in the UK. And I saw someone here that actually was from Scotland, so face-to-face fundraising is like street fundraising, those kinds of things. Direct mail is part of a multichannel approach, as we call it here in Australia, EDM, electronic direct mail. Pretty fancy, huh? Social media, targeted ads, if you’re doing Google Grants, if you have one of those. Your website is part of your multichannel approach. Even things like peer-to-peer fundraising, corporate partnerships, traditional marketing.

Here in Australia, they still use, get this, radio and TV ads. They actually do plan giving adds, believe it or not for the Salvation Army and they take out ads on . . . Actually internet now if I’m watching YouTube and I see those ads come across, it’s probably UNICEF or the Salvation Army. Text messaging, SMS, right? Electronic direct mail again. And video messages, that has become really huge, use of use a lot of video messaging in my work these days. And then multimedia MMS, multimedia messaging services. Who knew there was so many forms of text messaging these days?

So why a multichannel approach? Because today consumers, we’re in control, right? We choose which channels. We no longer have three TV channels, and that’s it for our information anymore. We have a plethora of channels that are available and we get to choose which ones we’re using, whether it’s mail, email, whatever. If it’s online, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, whatever it is, WhatsApp.

So advances in technology equals, you know, information that is available instantly on multiple devices, right? Like, it’s coming at us from all kinds of angles. And prospective donors can really quickly seek out the causes that align with their passion and their values. We know that people are going to your website first before they actually come to you.

So what are some other benefits of a multichannel approach? Well, there are numerous benefits for a diversified marketing approach. What we have found is that multichannel communications can significantly move the dial in donor revenue. I was asked this by a coaching client last week, what percentages significantly they were? And I’m going to show you in a second.

And certainly a multichannel approach opens you up to, remember the days when all we had was direct mail. Now we have Facebook fundraising. Now we have Instagram ads. Now we have electronic direct mails. Now we have advertising that we now . . . Remember the days when advertising used to cost so much, not anymore, improves and develops deeper relationships with existing new donors and that’s with existing and new donors. And we’re going to be talking about how do we attract new donors today?

And certainly, you need to be more collaborative. Much of what I do in terms of digital lead acquisition and digital marketing these days, when I’m coaching clients, often has to interface with the marketing department and/or the marketing team.

So look at this, right, a multichannel approach. Look at this stat from NextAfter. Look at this offline only, the average gift was like 159 benchmark revenue per donor by cohort. Then when you add it in, right, email increased to offline and email 301, and then online only, it dropped down on 148. And then look at this totally multichannel. Look how far up that went. It’s like the COVID numbers that are happening today. Right?

How about retention? Right? If you use a multichannel donor approach, what we find is retention . . . Hopefully, retention rates are better than this. But offline only, we know it’s in the 40 somewhat percent. Offline with valid email, it jumps up to almost 60%, online only drops down to 36%. And then multichannel, look at retention with that, 67% retention. So who is not in for a very multichannel approach? Right? I am.

And so I’m going to talk to you now about, number one, what is the donor journey? And then how do we actually acquire new donors through using for-profit kinds of sale techniques? So how many of you have actually heard of something called a donor journey? I don’t know if we call that a donor journey in the United States. But in other countries like here in Australia, we call . . . Carrie is raising her hand. Cool. Cool. Let’s see some others if you’ve heard of donor journey. Cool. Cool. Oh, wow, you’re, like, waving on my screen. Stop, stop, stop. That is so awesome. I just wish she could see that. I’m like, “I can’t see my screen anymore. They’re lighting it up.” Oh, my gosh.

So a donor journey is basically what, right? It’s a unique fundraising experience tailored to each donor. So what we know is or what we’re learning is that donor relationships matter much more than a single transaction. We’re not about transactions, we’re about transformation. And a journey implies just that, that you’re telling a story, right? Like, you’re taking a donor on a journey. And it starts from that initial contact, you know, until you ask them, right? It builds up to the ask. And it has positive consistent encounters, wow moments.

But you know what, right? Like, this is no more than what you would do offline with a major donor. Do I hear amen? Right? So a donor journey is basically that is a multichannel approach to something that you would do through a cultivation process with your major donors. Bingo. Right? So I actually just wrote a blog post this week that talks about how we can do qualification through digital strategies. You can take your offline relationship techniques and move them online for not just your major donors, but for every single donor category.

So here as an example, I stole this from the web of a great donor journey. And what we recommend is that you sit down and you actually create . . . I think I’m moving ahead in my slides in my brain. You actually create a donor journey map that looks something like this. I’m not a great drawer, so I had to copy and paste from the web. However, I recommend that and I’m going to talk about, number one, recognizing that not all donors are alike. We know that. Everyone is an individual. And I’m going to show you how we can qualify donors through lead acquisition magnets that can demonstrate the different identities of your particular donors as they come into your donor journey stream.

So we know that. We need to treat them accordingly. Right? Like, we need to figure out what motivates them, what are they interested in? And build a journey around that particular interest. So we need to understand things about their charitable behavior, like how often do they donate? How much do they donate? When are they most likely to donate? And then come up with what I would call is an ideal donor persona.

Now I do this all the time with my own clients. Like I have a client persona, what does he or she look like? And the reason that I do this is, number one, you’re going to need this when we talk about lead magnets and advertising because you definitely want to going to create advertising that is targeted to your donor personas or look alike audiences, right, when you do Facebook advertising.

So you’re going to create a donor journey map. Yeah, I want you to go through and, like, sketch this out from the initial moment that someone comes in contact with you. Oh, Jeff just joined us. I mentioned you Jeff, earlier in the webinar, and you are here. So I just saw that come in. So we’re going to map out each step, step by step of the donor journey. So you’re going to make, like, little stick figures, donors walking, you know, whatever. And you’re going to have all of your touchpoints.

And I’m going to talk about timely touchpoints later on in the webinar, what those should look like. But you’re going to map out every single one. And you may have multiple donor journeys. Like, let’s take the incidence of cat and dog donors, right? Like, if you have a cat lover, you can put them in a completely different donor journey for cat lovers versus dog lovers, right? So you’re going to map that out. And it’s going to be donor-driven, cat, dogs, you know, whatever it is that you can identify your donors around, but you’re not going to do a one size fits all approach to developing a donor journey stream. Right? So the focus should be on the donor experience instead of income. And you don’t want to focus on short-term. This is about long-term cultivation strategies.

So here’s what I love, love, love. And then this comes from . . . I’ll tell you this, in Australia, they are really, and Steven was saying, huge on digital marketing strategies. I hope there are no Australians on the webinar. They do not do major gift work as well as we do. Like, that does not happening. But digital marketing, yes. So I’m going to share with you concepts from them on how to acquire new donors and how they actually do this.

Now when you think to for-profit techniques, and I will say most of the digital marketers here are not fundraisers. They come from the digital marketing sales background. So I like the fact that I’m taking their information and giving it to fundraisers so we can learn their tools and translate them into more transformational relationships.

So think about sales, right? When you think about ordinary sales, you have your funnel, right? I want to see you light up my dashboard again. That was pretty cool. How many of you have heard of the sales funnel? Right? Like, so you have people coming in . . . Oh, look at that, you’re doing it. Oh my gosh, that’s so . . . Not as many as last time now. That’s so awesome. So right?

So actually, you’re going to take . . . When you look at the sales funnel, it’s almost like our donor pyramid, right? Like, doink, right? Like, it’s almost like the donor pyramid. So there’s going to be a whole universe. HubSpot works that way. Of course, it does. Of course, it does. It’s sales. Right? It’s automation, right? Like, right, Lisa?

So there’s a whole universe of potential prospects out there and you have to attract their attention to drag them into your funnel and then bring them along the donor journey. You see how the donor journey now ties into the sales funnel? Bingo, right? And at some point, you make a sales or you make some kind of ask. So this sales funnel is widest at the top and it’s narrow at the bottom because we know at the top, we’re trying to bring awareness to what we’re doing or who we are. And by the time we get to the bottom, we brought them along on a donor journey stream, we’re asking. So we know we have our best prospects at the bottom.

So it really is this for-profit industry concept that I’m bringing to you. And I know, I know, Robin, fundraising isn’t for-profit. But there are some concepts that can work very well if you have an open mind. So every stage of the donor journey is aimed to push your prospect into the next phase down the funnel, right, to eventually where you get to that ask.

And those who are not a fit drop off. And I say to people, even on my own basic, my business sales funnel, I say, “If you unsubscribe, bless you. That’s great because you’re qualifying or disqualifying yourself from my services. It’s wonderful. You’re saying, “I’m not interested.” Same thing here. It’s qualification of donors, like we would do offline. Is this making sense? I don’t want to say light at my screen again, because I can’t see when you . . . Oh my gosh, there you go. Okay. Okay. Okay. Uncle.

All right. So here we go. Right? Here’s the sales funnel broken down. You have at the top, you have all those prospects out there. You’re just trying to get their attention, bring awareness to who you are. Then you’re going to bring them into your funnel and you’re going to put them into your donor journey or as they say in sales, your customer journey and you’re going to raise interest. Right? And then what do you do? You’re bring them to a decision, a sale or an ask. Get it? Right, like, get it? Christina here is saying, “We can’t hear you?” Can other people hear me? Are you hearing me? Can other people hear me?

Steven: Yeah, you’re okay, Robin. Okay. Good.

Robin: All right. They keep lighting up my screen. I think they’re liking that now. Oh my gosh, I can’t see. So what are the stages of a customer journey? The first one, as I showed you is awareness and discovery. So this is where you go, “Hey, donor, we’re over here. Like, do you want to give to us or you want to know more about us?” So this is where they enter into your funnel. And I’m going to talk about lead magnets and the importance of attracting people, but you’re going to use things like PDFs, right? You may have a petition, you may have a survey, something that a donor will opt in to gain confidence about your cause. And you drag them into your funnel. So, right, like, high level stuff, bulleted information, like Bloomerang giving away, right, the policy and procedures database manual thing that I created for you, right? Like, that is something that someone out there would go, “I want that. I want to learn more. Let me learn more.”

So there is a better chance of increasing a donor base, if donors know you, right? Like, if they are aware of you, right? So that first top of the funnel is to build awareness and to take people who are out there in the universe and turn them into prospects. Get it? Got it, right?

Then the next stage of that is what I call the donor journey stage. And that’s kind of really where people are learning more about you, kind of determining whether or not, “Is this a cause I’m actually interested in? Should I consider supporting them?” This is where they’re looking for more in-depth information. You know, things like success stories, testimonials, all that stuff. You know, this is where they are starting to get more emotional or personal about their decision-making because . . . So that’s why we have the donor journeys, right? So we’re providing them with these touchpoints based upon what we think they may want to know about us, right?

And so our information is to make that information readily available once they’ve come into, we’ll call it your donor funnel, right? So once they’ve come into your donor funnel, your donor journey is going to give them that information when they need it and want it, so that we then take prospects and, well, hopefully, make them into potential donors, right?

Then at the bottom end of the funnel, this is where we get to decisions. So you’re going to provide them with, right, like, an ask. You’re going to ask them. And so in sales, we will provide them with an offer. You’re going to do the same thing. So you’ve kind of cultivated them through the donor journey up until this point. And you’re going to make your button, your donate button visible. And, you know, you may send them an email, not may, you’re going to send them an ask email and make your donation ask very, very prominent, so that the outcome at the bottom of the funnel is, hopefully, an ask has been made, and they’ve answered positively. Right?

So how do we get them into your funnel? This is what I love. I’m so excited about this stuff. I just love, love, love it. So using lead acquisitions, lead conversions. How many of you, and you can type into the chat box, use some kind of lead on your website pop-up, what have you, to get those out there? I mean, not just your newsletter signup. We know that those are not converting any longer, to any great extent.

How many of you are using some kind of lead magnet, a survey, a petition, let’s see, a PDF download, something? I don’t see many hands. Nope. Okay. Oh wait a minute. Okay, I see you lighting me up. Okay. So all right, not as many though, just like half a screen. Okay, so this is important stuff because this is how you get them into your funnel. I said to someone the other day coaching them, like, “Yeah, like, newsletter signups, that’s not going to do it,” right? Like, you see the sales.

How many of us have signed up for something, even on this website, on, you know, whatever, L.L.Bean’s website? You’ve downloaded the free top 10 tips to whatever, greening up your kitchen or making Swiss hamburgers, Swiss cheese hamburgers, whatever it is. How many of us have signed up for that? Right? Same concept.

So a lead magnet is something of value that someone will find enough of to give you . . . They’ll find value in it to exchange an email. So you’re basically saying, “Give us your email. Here’s some great content that I think you may like and enjoy. So someone here is saying what do you see as nonprofits using as lead magnets? What I like to see is surveys, and I’m writing a blog on this for those of you who can go to my website, not right now, later. Later this week, you will actually see my blog or sign up for my newsletter. You will actually see a post on using donor surveys to do qualification. And in the survey, you can ask qualifying questions, like what’s motivating you to give? Are you interested in cats, dogs? And that way you can take that information and then put them into the right donor journey stream.

The other thing that I see used a lot here in Australia is petitions. So will you sign this petition against legislation or against violence against women or against more funding appropriation, whatever it might be? But you’re starting to qualify people and get them involved. I also see things like guides, handouts, right? I see things like . . . I took one . . . The Royal Flying Doctor Service here in Australia with snake bites. So I was like, “Oh, I’ll take a survey on snake bites.” Right? So I did. It was a quiz. It was a quiz on do I know, like, this kind of snake or that kind of snake? What to do if I get bit.

And then what happened is after I took the quiz, they said, “Would you . . . ?” Further qualification. Hint, hint, hint, “Would you like this free download on snake bites?” And I was like, “Yeah, of course I would. I don’t want to get bit by a snake and I want to know what to do if it happens because snakes here are huge. They’ll eat me for lunch, right?”

So that’s actually double qualification. Quizzes, courses, I actually have one on my website. And you can take am example, I have a course on leveraging your brand as a fundraiser. You can do all of that. So I hope that helps that person. I hope that person who was asking about that, what do you see.

But it’s something that you can make available for digital download. And it has to be of value. I’m not talking something of fluff. It has to be something that impresses and wows, and gives the potential donors something that they . . . prospect that they may be interested in. Right?

So what are the benefits of them? Well, it’s a defense against donor attrition. It’s part of a healthy donor retention initiative. And for me in this particular webinar, it’s low cost donor acquisition. What is the cost of doing this? Right? Like, the cost of doing this is designing something in-house a PDF, and you can, you know, repurpose content that you already have, you know, getting maybe Survey Monkey or some kind of survey tool, maybe putting a popup on your website and letting it roll. And then on the backend, having some kind of donor engagement stream, drip emails, emails scheduled to go out on a targeted time, every system can do that. Right?

So this is really a low cost donor acquisition day. Gone are the days that we have to pay, like, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to rent lists. Do mailings to do donor acquisition, amen. Amen. Do I hear an amen? Right? Like, right? So this is an effective means of doing all of that. Right? So that’s an important piece of it.

So what is a touchpoint? So now you’ve got your digital lead magnet that you’re using, right? You’ve got your PDF, your quiz. I was talking to someone today, not someone today, a couple of weeks ago and she went through this very similar webinar, and she emailed me immediately to do a coaching session, said, “Can I talk to you?” And she was a park in New York City. And she said she was starting to do some of this. I have . . . If you don’t think you have to be a big boy to do this, big fundraising shop, no, I have small clients.

One of my clients, the Friends of the Blue Hills is doing digital lead acquisition, small all-volunteer organization. Okay? She said to me, they were Park in New York City, and I turned to her and I said, “Do you know how many Google hits you’re getting on your website per month?” How many of you know that? Like, how many of you actively look and say, “This week we had X amount of unique new visitors to our website, and we converted X amount of those into signing up?” How many of those?

She said to me, “We have about 500 unique visitors visiting our website per week.” And I went, “What? Five hundred? Do you realize it’s like 2,000 people a month that are coming into . . . like potential prospects that you are not capturing?” How many of you are now going, like, “Bingo, right?” Like, oh my goodness, like, 2000 people a month? And how many of them are you actually converting into potential prospects and putting into your donor funnel? Oh my goodness.

Now you see the magic behind having some kind of lead. Your newsletter signup is boring. Not going to do it. You need some kind of lead generation or lead magnet in order to do that. Okay? Does that help? Is that story illustrative? Like, how many of you know your Google Analytics and now you’re like, probably going to be, like, “Oh my God, we’re going to find out what they are. Do we have 2,000 people? And, like, we converted one person to sign up for our newsletter mailing list this month?” Not good, right? Like, not good. People are visiting your website. You’re not having to go on to the universe to attract them. You just need to get their email address and exchange something of value in order to pull them into your funnel.

Now, once we’ve got them into this donor journey funnel, I’m calling it, we need to touchpoints. So what is a touchpoint? Any marketing point of contact or interaction between the nonprofit and donor. Things like, you know, social media, blog content, email marketing, right? This is part of that donor mapping, that donor journey mapping. You have to go, “Okay, when do we send an email here? Okay, we’ll send them another email.” And here in Australia, they still pick up the telephone. So we’ll make a phone call.

We may do something on Facebook retargeted, you can do retargeting on Facebook, to these particular . . . You can upload your list of names. Yes, yes, yes, you can do all of this. Upload your list of names and retarget advertising or content for them. You need to incorporate kind of multiple and timely touchpoints to build that journey, right? So a donor journey should include scheduled touchpoints that make the most sense for that particular donor or groups of donors, cat donors, dog donors, whatever.

Keep it simple, develop that map. Don’t get caught up in overthinking and start with some kind of overall plan. But what you want to do is you want to capture each of those interactions that you’re having throughout the funnel. Why? Because you need to analyze each point of interaction with the donor and how they responded to you.

Now I’m going to talk about the importance of the halo effect. Yes, I mean, halo, like as in what angels wear, right? So what is a halo effect? Number one, we call it a halo effect because it can make multiple touchpoints using a multichannel approach can leave a very positive perception of an organization, person or product that can influence their opinion. So having more multiple channel or multichannel or multiple touches, they have a more positive . . . Is that more . . . ? No, a positive impression of your organization. Right?

So building the halo effect is important. And because what we know, we remember those stats that I showed you on donor retention earlier, from next after, that definitely, content coming in multiple ways just increases the response rate, right? Like. we know someone may get a direct mail appeal and then see you on Facebook and go, “Oh, yes, I’ve got to fill that out.” Right?

So we know that the right content delivered in the right way at the right way, this sounds like fundraising, the right way at the right time to the right person will eventually have an effect and if it’s done in multiple different formats and multiple different ways, that just boosts that, right?

So how can we leverage this? Be active, stay connected, develop your donor journey plan, you know, have that steady campaign with, you know, really strong email subject lines and brand messaging. So we know that this donor journey, this multichannel donor journey, make sure it’s multichannel then all the channels that I showed you earlier can boost the halo effect and deepen their relationship with your supporters.

Now, measurement, this means nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing if we do not do analysis, right? So we all know that what gets measured improves. And, of course, we always seem to have to justify our budget, don’t we? Right? Like, amen, right? Like, we always seem to have to do that. But what we know is that this will justify if we can show an ROI, the multichannel marketing and donor journey approach and donor journey acquisition, we can justify our spend rate.

So what I would recommend is that you set goals for your campaigns, your lead acquisition campaigns. You know, we’re going to convert X amount of, you know, unique website visitors per month, here’s how we’re going to do it. We’re going to run Facebook ads. Those Facebook ads are going to have a return of. This is, you know, what the content is going to look like, all of that, right? So you want to set goals for each part of your campaign. And that’s the other thing that I don’t want to not mention to you is about Facebook advertising as well, but I’ll talk about that.

So success, definitely provides testimonials to reinvest for more success. So if you are being able to say, “We were able to acquire . . . You know, a donor acquisition rate went up by 20% by using digital lead marketing techniques in the month of May,” then that’s just going to prove beneficial to reinvesting in that as a strategy, right?

So what we do know is that there is growing evidence that a positive donor journey will result in loyalty, retention, and generosity, resulting in more net income. And so the question is, how do you develop measures in order to analyze that multichannel approach?

Now, I’m going to share with you some tools on how to do that. There are definite tools out there, of course, donor metrics, but automated analytical tools that exist out, you know, in the world out there. Surveys, we’ll do that as well.

Now, when we talk about metrics, there are certain key metrics that I look at to determine the health of a development program. For me, those metrics basically are acquisition, retention. Why is that? Because we have a retention problem. We’re losing about now . . . Now we don’t retain what is it? Almost 48% are non-retained donors, right? And then we’re losing about 10% to 15% of our donor base naturally by dying and attrition moving, and no forwarding address, and all of that. So if you are not retaining your donors and you’re not bringing new donors on, guess what? Your development program is in decline.

And what we saw recently with the FEP, Fundraising Effectiveness Project numbers is that actually, I don’t know if it was donor retention or donor acquisition, but one of those numbers for the first quarter was down tremendously. And Steven can probably talk more about that because I know he’s involved with that project at the end of the webinar.

So this is important. Those are two very key metrics. I also look at upgrades, downgrades, are we moving people up the giving pyramid or not? And also the number of gifts. How are we doing with donor loyalty and the number of gifts that a person is giving.

So you need to be able to track donor activity throughout the funnel and throughout the donor journey. And I believe that this is a good investment of your organization’s time and effort. And by tracking this data, you will build a good view of who your donors are, how they interact with you, and what some of their behaviors may be. But you need a baseline, right? Like I say, you need a baseline from which to move forward, and then analyze, and then come up with some lessons learned to mapping out future paths and refining them, right?

So determine what your baseline or your metrics are, right? Like, how many Google hits? How much conversions are we having? What’s our donor retention rate? What’s our donor acquisition rate, right? And then set goals for each of them and measure against those. And what you want to do is constant analysis. And I don’t mean like every year. I mean, like, every month. Where are we at with our goal towards donor acquisition? Where are we at towards conversions of donors who are coming to our website? And certainly there are industry standards out there and be comparing yourself against what those are.

But I say you cannot compare yourself completely against industry standards because not every organization, you know, has the same kind of cause or your unique solution to the cause. And so by developing a baseline, you’re coming up with your own blood pressure rating from which to do analysis on moving forward. So you’re trying to drive your needle move forward, not anyone else’s, really.

So here’s some key metrics, again, growth in revenues, important to keep your eye on that bottom line, especially we have two new metrics that just came out, Giving USA and the Fundraising Effectiveness Project. Are you looking at those, right, and measuring yourself against them? I see some more hands. All right, keep the hands coming. I love them. I love them. So you should keep pace with what you’re seeing in those reports.

Another key metric, which we’re looking at today is donor attrition because as I said, donor bases are naturally attritioning somewhere in the range of 10% to 15% per year. Oh, I skipped ahead on myself. My brain does that with these slides. I have so much information up there, I just want to get it all out.

So the number of donors upgrading. To me, that’s neglected. I don’t think we do enough of moving donors up the giving pyramid but I think we definitely need to use that as a metric. And, of course, looking at downgrades, conversely. And then the number of donors retained. We know that we have an issue with donor retention, especially low compared with our for-profit companies. We would not go to Starbucks . . . Starbucks would not have a customer retention rate of 48%. They would be, like, not selling any more lattes anymore. They’d be closing up.

So the number of annual gifts per donor is another key metric. And you should actually be looking at getting that number up there because to me that demonstrates loyalty. And so all of these together show that you have a healthy and growing development program. So that’s critically important.

Now, when we get to the topic at hand, those are the big metrics, right? But what I recommend to you is when we’re looking at lead acquisition, putting someone into a donor journey, and then finally making an ask, sounds like qualification, cultivation, and solicitation, right, like bingo, right, like, just digitally. And using some offline approaches. We want to set targets for those. So you want to look at your Google Analytics, pull them out, get an understanding of your baseline. How many conversions are you making? And then say, “Okay, how do we measure them?”

And when I said monthly, I say, even here in Australia, which is where I’m getting these learnings from, they actually will do Facebook advertising. And they will spend, there are some organizations spend rates on advertising are in the thousands, not like $1,000, like $20,000, $30,000, $50,000 worth per campaign. But each campaign, they’re bringing in 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 new donors. They are looking at the backend of their Facebook ads each and every single day at the performance of every single ad. Some of them may be running ads. They may be running 20 different Facebook ads, each geared towards a different audience or towards the same audience with different content, different graphics, and they’re doing a ton of testing.

What they will find is they’ll go into the back of it, look at the analytics and say, “Ad A is not performing as well as ad B. Let’s shift more of the money from ad A to ad B.” And they’ll almost like playing the Facebook ads stock market every day. They’re like, “Okay, we’re day traders here. Let’s go in, analyze our metrics, move money around to what’s working, de-invest in what’s not working.” And they are acquiring donors tremendously. So does that help? That’s like, wow, right? That’s like, “Holy moly. I’m not doing that. I do it now from my business, but I didn’t do it before.”

So looking at Google Analytics, right, are you doing that? How many of you are looking at that, like, on a weekly basis and going, “Where are we at? Where are donors coming from?” You get all of the demographic information. It is like a gold mine. You see when they’re interacting with you, you see what contact they’re interacting with. So you could say, “They’re really interacting with this blog post. Let’s promote that or let’s do something with that, or let’s put a popup or a lead magnet there. Because we know that’s where we’re getting that much traffic,”

For a small one-person shop, how much of this is realistic? I run a one-person business and I do all of this and see clients. It’s realistic. So Google Analytics, track donors across social media and your website. There are things called pixel tracking, right? How many of you are using pixels? This is where you go and visit Nike, and now all of a sudden . . . Look at you, you started to light up my screen. All of a sudden, you see Nike ads all over the place, right? That’s because you’re using pixels. So look at things and you can use can look at Google Analytics and follow those pixels along, right?

So how long have they stayed, traffic source, browsers, you can get all of this and I love looking at it. How many of you love looking at your Google Analytics and going, “Wow, you know, 30% of us used a mobile phone to come to our website. What does that say? We’d better make sure that our content, our website is very mobile friendly.” You can get all these analytics.

Automated dashboards. Mostly folks are using Excel to track their benchmarks and those kinds of things, doing, you know, complex pivot tables to look at ROI and those things as well. And, of course, your email application, track stats. So as you put people in a donor journey, and you’ve got different emails that are being sent out to them, look and say . . . I mean, with my client, the Friends of the Blue Hills, and someone said, “Well, how can I do this if I’m a one-person shop?” She’s a one-person shop and the rest are all volunteer, but it’s so important because she’s bringing in 28, 30 new members a month. Okay, her membership program is growing to that extent and she’s investing maybe $500 worth of Facebook advertising minimally. Okay?

So you want to look at things like, you know, heat maps and those kinds of things, right? That’s more complex. But your email system, that’s where I was going with this. I recommended to her, as she was putting people in her donor journey, track each email and find out are people unsubscribing? Are they continuing along? Are they opening, clicking, not?

What needs to happen to each of those emails in your sequence, so that you can increase the open rate and/or the click rate and decrease the unsubscribe rate? So you want to be analyzing all of that data as you go along. And, of course, you get all of that data right now. And even the most basic of your CRM systems, you know when someone’s opened up your email, you know how many people clicked on a link, analyze that. When you create your donor journey after you’ve done your lead magnet stuff, and they’re in your funnel, analyze your emails, analyze your Facebook.

How many of you look at your Facebook insights on a regular basis and start to see data from it? Let me see you light up my screen if you do that, right? And I say this is not like a look at this, like, every quarter. This is like look at this kind of weekly take a glance. I look at it nightly, to see what’s happening, what’s trending within my own business because it’s that important to build a donor base.

And of course, this is a continuous learning feedback loop. So adjust strategy as a as we go along, and then of course, do things like website optimization. Again, as I said to you, if you’re finding most people are using mobile phones, you better be sure your website is highly mobile friendly.

Looking at blogs and articles, we found an interesting article that Judy was . . . She says, “There are people who are coming to this one article about bees,” you know, for the Friends of Blue Hills, like, “why is that? And what should we do with that content? Right? Can we make it into a lead magnet that people would then want to download?” Right?

So be looking at and analyzing through your Google Analytics, all of these things and ask yourself questions, like, “How many people are visiting our Donate button and clicking on it? Like, why is that if we move the position around on the webpage, would that change?” You know, so looking at all of those variables, test, test, test, test, test, we don’t do enough testing. And that’s what they do really well here within our programs.

And then, of course, we talked about the ad optimization, having different variations, driving imagery, stories, content, both of those things. Do you do just organic Facebook? What does that look like? You can find that on your insights as well as paid ads. And video is becoming really large on Facebook ads.

Landing pages. Do you have a standalone landing page created for your lead magnet? What happens when the donor lands on that? How many conversions do you have? You can create something very simple in lead pages, and just put it up on your website.

And certainly, like everything in fundraising, it should have a very specific clear call-to-action and, of course, your website page and all of that. But one thing I want to say, search engine optimization, how many of you are actually doing search engine optimization? You should be doing that for your LinkedIn profile of you’re looking for a job but that’s another story. So how many of you are actually, you know, doing SEO making sure that your content has the keywords that you want to be known for? If not, that’s not as . . . I mean, I’m saving this for last, but certainly make sure that’s part of it as well, to make sure that you’re found.

I want to end here and take some questions. We have about 10 minutes left. Here’s kind of the things that we looked at. I went too fast on that one. So we looked at, what is a multichannel approach and how do you begin to develop one? We looked at using digital lead acquisition to capture people’s attention, put them into your customer journey, as we would call it our donor journey. We talked about some timely touchpoints, and how we should craft them, and map them out. And then how do we analyze them to adjust strategy as we go along to make sure that people stay within our donor journey stream, just like offline donor relationship management, isn’t it?

Like, how many of you now see that relation, that connection there? Just light up my screen if you do, like, right? Like, it’s like, wow, that’s an epiphany. Like, we would adjust our strategy if we were meeting with a donor. And Mr. Smith said, “You know what? I’m really interested in this aspect of what you’d go.” You go, “Oh, okay, so next time I visit Mr. Smith, I’m going to make sure that I provide content related to that particular program that he’s interested in.”

Does this all make sense? Has this been helpful? I just want to share one thing about Facebook advertising and lead generation, donor lead acquisition. People will say to me, “Do I have to do Facebook advertising?” And for, like, the woman that I was speaking to in New York City, and we looked at her Google Analytics, and she had 500 unique visitors to her website on a weekly basis, I said, “You know what? You don’t need to do Facebook advertising right now. You’ve got enough traffic that you are not capturing and converting. Start there, right before you even move ahead. So you don’t even have to invest in . . . ”

I bet many of you don’t have to invest in Facebook advertising at all. You can create a lead magnet and just move from your website, unique visitors from there and start the conversion process. And I bet you, you will start to see that conversion.

The piece of it just like as we remember with direct mail acquisition is that direct mail acquisition, if you just do one mail out to a cold list, maybe with a premium, you will get donors or prospective givers who give to you. But if you don’t have that welcome series to follow the acquisition piece, you’re going to lose them and so kind of thinking about how to engage new donors digitally once we do have them and that could be the content of a completely other webinar. Once you have them, once they’ve gotten your magnet, you’ve gone through the funnel, you made the ask, it doesn’t end there. How do you create another donor journey for them in regards to actually moving them through that stream?

So, Steven, I will stop there and see what see what we have here.

Steven: Wow, that was a lot of stuff. Thanks, Robin. That was really cool.

Robin: Right. Yeah, yeah.

Steven: Man, that was chock full of stuff. I can’t believe you’ve crammed it into an hour.

Robin: Yeah.

Steven: I really like what you said about unsubscribes. I feel like people get bent out of shape when someone unsubscribes. It’s like, “No, it’s just the list getting better.” Right?

Robin: Yeah, that’s just for me qualification. Right? And Gifford here is saying, you know, it needs much more how to and certainly we could do a webinar on how to, but that would be, like, either half a day or a full day on how to actually go through each of these strategies, and how to do that, and set them up and to do . . . This is really a taste of the fact that you can be doing digital lead acquisition and how to begin doing that. So yeah, it’s interesting. But yeah . . .

Steven: We’ve been seeing people chat in all the different things they could put is as a lead capture, you know, a little downloadable or things like that. But Robin, a lot of people have asked, you know, what can a one-person shop do? It seems like our community is a lot of small nonprofits. What can that that one-person shop do, maybe first? What do you think is most important for them . . . ?

Robin: Yeah, I think repurposing content that you already have, for instance, as I was mentioning, that I’m going to use the Friends of the Blue Hill, you know, obviously, they were noticing on their Google Analytics that this one article was the most visited article and so maybe they could create some content or repurpose that content, and use that as a PDF download that someone could use. You can simply create a landing page that people can go to, with lead pages very easily,, and create a landing page that people can go to get that content or add a popup to.

So, you know, is it realistic? And I think I said this during my presentation, you know, I would not have a business right now . . . I’m acquiring about three to 400 new business prospects per month using digital lead acquisition, and not doing it by myself with very, very limited experience in doing digital marketing. So I definitely think it’s doable. Again, it’s finding the time, right, within our small shops and making it a priority. Far too often, we have not made acquisition a priority because we’ve been focused a lot on retention, but it’s just finding the time to do this.

Steven: Yeah, it’s a cultural thing. I hear you totally.

Robin: Yes, yes, yes.

Steven: You know, we’re recording this in June of 2020, a unique time to say the least. You know, if you had given this presentation maybe same time a year ago when we’re not dealing with, you know, the virus, and I think, you know, the social justice and racial justice things are happening here stateside, also, are there any different considerations you think folks should take right now in light of kind of the atmosphere that we find ourselves in versus maybe a more, you know, normal time if that’s a good word for it.

Robin: Yeah, I will tell you that people have never been on digital more so than at any point in time than during the lockdown and during the coronavirus. So, if you haven’t been on digital, then you have been certainly missing the boat on moving towards more digital strategies. And I definitely think that this is going to be something of the wave of the future. Now I’ve seen campaigns here where they’ve had digital ad spends here in Australia, maybe of $20,000 and the group’s gone on to raise $100,000 and brought in 3,000 new donors from that. So, yeah. So it’s very impressive the results. If you look overseas and have a more global perspective, which being on Australia has provided, there are tremendous things happening with digital forms of communication that have not been as widely adapted, as I would say in the United States.

Steve: Yeah, it’s always interesting to hear perspectives from other countries. You know, in Europe it seems like face to face and telephone fundraising is big, and that’s not big here at all. And then hearing what you said about major gifts and not being as big in Australia is just . . . I knew it’s going to be fun to hear your perspective because I don’t know that a lot of our audience is exposed to the Australian situation. So it’s been kind of cool to hear all this.

Indeed, it’s already 5:00 pm. So, Robin, I’ll give you the last word. Where can folks learn more about you, get more information for you? You got lots of kind of recording about [inaudible 00:58:06].

Robin: Yeah. I do have a lot of webinars. And why don’t I just do this? I mean wouldn’t this be easy enough, right, like, if I was smart enough to come to my contact screen.

Steven: It’s a little early.

Robin: Right? There we go. Oh shoot I did it wrong. Oh, darn.

Steven: I saw it for a second there. There you go. Yeah.

Robin: Like, what a [dummy 00:58:32] consultant? Right here is all my contact information if anyone wants to get into contact with me. So yeah, absolutely.

Steven: Yeah, definitely reach out. She’s obviously a wealth of information. Robin, you need a cup of coffee, and some fish and chips. I know. You know, so we won’t keep you. But thank you, thank you for doing this. If folks didn’t catch it in the beginning, 5:00 a.m. . .

Robin: You’re welcome.

Steven: . . . Thursday morning, her time. So thank you so much. It was awesome to hear your voice again.

Robin: You’re welcome, Steven. It’s so good to see you again. And thank you, everyone. Awesome. Awesome.

Steven: Yeah. And thanks to all of you for hanging out. I know it’s end of the day here at East Coast and a busy time we got. Maybe your fiscal year is wrapping up next week. So it was nice to see a full room. We will get you the recording, the slides, all the goodies. And we got an awesome webinar on Friday. Two days from now we got, Kristal M. Johnson, another friend of the program. We’re going to talk about virtual fundraising. So it’s a nice dovetail from this one. Friday afternoon, also free. Kristal’s awesome. Just visit our webinar page. You’ll see the link there. Hopefully, we’ll see you again. But if not, have a good rest of your Wednesday. Stay safe. Stay healthy out there. And we’ll talk to you again soon. Bye now.

Robin: Awesome. Thank you, Steven. Bye.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.