Personalization Is the Key to Nonprofit Fundraising Success

Now that we are in a new year, this is a great time to evaluate your Nonprofit fundraising strategy and determine what new methods or ideas you can put into place that will make 2014 an even better year than the one before.

Henry Ford famously said, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” Well, as we all know, things have come a very long way since then– just go into any Starbucks where they promote more than 87,000 different drink combinations you can order! The reason Starbucks is so successful is they realize everyone is unique. By consistently delivering a Caramel Macchiato, Venti, Skim, Extra Shot, Extra-Hot, Extra-Whip, Sugar-Free drink to a customer each and every time they order it, they have a customer for life.

So you’re probably asking yourself: how does all this apply to a nonprofit not selling cars or coffee? The answer is that whether it is a car, coffee, or a cause, you need to have a personalized appeal to your target audience to get them to act. If you’re able to deliver a personalized message that is of specific interest to each donor, just like the person who orders an esoteric coffee drink at Starbucks, you will be able to get that donor to repeatedly give to your cause on an ongoing basis.

At engajer, we look at message personalization throughout the engagement process with the prospective target audience – from initial contact, to message delivery, to effective follow-up.

The way our award winning fundraising and messaging platform works to help nonprofits increase fundraising results is as follow:

  1. Campaign Management: The first step in any outbound email fundraising campaign is to put together a targeted list of potential donors. This can include those who have given in the past, people who have expressed an interest in your cause but have not yet given, and those who fit the profile of the type of people who have given to similar causes and are likely interested in the mission of your organization. With engajer’s email campaign management system, you can upload a donor list from an existing excel CSV file, import contacts from LinkedIn, upload from CRM systems including Salesforce, SugarCRM, and ZOHO, or input contact names directly. What makes the engajer system unique, is that it also provides for the ability to add a profile photo and in the case of a corporation, a company logo. These can be obtained automatically from LinkedIn or accessed through various online social networks. When you send out a campaign email, it immediately makes a big impact on the recipient as their photo appears at the top left section in a HTML formatted email. Your virtual business card and photo also appear on the top right side – making this more like having a conversation compared to receiving a generic text based email. Based on this small personalization technique and other things engajer has done to optimize the appearance, the click-through rate to view your interactive video presentation from this email is over 25% compared with industry average email click-through of only 3.2%
  2. Interactive Video: Outside of sitting in front of a potential donor or talking with them on the phone, the best way to get your organization’s cause across to a widespread audience is through video. According to Comscore, there are over 82 million Americans who watch more than 1.2 billion online videos daily – and this number is constantly going up. However, the problem with the majority of online video is that it is a linear viewing experience or one directional in nature, in other words, you start watching at the beginning and have to watch the entire video in order to get the complete message. Why is this a problem? Well, because of the lack of personalization, you lose about 20% of your audience by the 30 second mark. By the 2 minute mark you have lost up to 50% of your audience. So how do you make your message relevant to the end viewer and more like having a two-way conversation with them? The answer is interactive video, which is similar to the concept of the “choose your own adventure books” that we had as children. The engajer platform makes it very easy for you to create your own interactive video and this process starts with the Build Your Own engajer tool. This online tool lets you create a tree-like structure so that at the end of every +- 30 second video segment, the viewer is given choices of where they want to go next. These choices can either be associated with existing video segments that you have on your computer, or you can literally use your computer webcam to record the segments dynamically. You are not making a Hollywood movie, the purpose of this video is to have a conversation with your potential donors that is directly relevant to them.
  3. engajer Player: Once you have put together your interactive video presentation, it is delivered through the engajer player. This player is different from a YouTube player for example in that it provides interactivity from within the content screen: the viewer gets to select their own customized path – based on topics of specific interest that are relevant to them. In addition to this, the advantage of the engajer player for a nonprofit organization is that it has an integrated “DONATE” button as part of the player so that at any time a viewer is compelled to donate, they can do so without having to leave the player environment. This player can easily be embedded into your existing website, your Facebook page, or can be delivered in a full screen conversational experience linked from the outbound email campaign mentioned above.
  4. Analytics & Personalized Follow-up: The key to fundraising success is to follow-up with those donor prospects at the time of peak interest in your cause. The way engajer helps you do this is by delivering real-time engagement data to your email inbox the moment a potential donor from your email campaign views your content. You know immediately what segments of your interactive video the viewer has seen and in what order – helping you to personalize and tailor your response by email or phone. engajer’s reporting system also creates an engagement ranking system which allows you to see the order of highest to lowest interest from your prospective donor base. By knowing this information, it will help save time by only focusing on following-up with those potential donors who have shown the most interest.

Of course, exceeding your fundraising goals means generating traffic to your website, blogging, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, events, etc. But in 2014, personalization through interactive video is the best way to turn customers—ahem, donors—into donors for life.

Laurence Nathanson
Director of Business Development, engajer