How to Supercharge Your Donor Development Efforts With Marketing Automation

This blog was published as a guest article for Nonprofit Pro, the go-to source for nonprofit management and strategy.

We are in the midst of a changing philanthropic landscape, characterized by advances in technology that have altered the way donors come in contact with your organization. Gone are the days when we could simply send out messages and expect a return. Today, prospective donors have instant access to information on multiple devices at a time and place of their choosing, and they’re expecting more meaningful connections with the organizations they decide to give to.

With this revolution in mind — and more than 1.5 million registered nonprofits and foundations in the U.S. seeking opportunities to connect with potential donors across various online platforms — how will you ensure your organization cuts through the noise?

Using marketing automation, businesses in the for-profit world have got it figured out…

Have you ever visited your favorite clothing retailer’s online shop just to receive a string of emails from the retailer with time-sensitive deals and other offers that prompt you to revisit its website? What about receiving ads on your social media pages for an airline you booked with just days prior? This hyper-personalized way of communicating is made possible through advances in technology, making it easier than ever before to meet individuals where they are, with messages that speak to their interests and content that drives them toward action.

This advanced way of communicating to create stronger connections with followers is attainable for nonprofits, too.

Taking advantage of new, easy-to-use technology, nonprofits now have an opportunity to refine their development strategies and create stronger connections with donors through personalized, targeted communications. Marketing automation platforms can revolutionize efforts by enacting a 24/7 donor development strategy that affords organizations the capacity — and opportunity — to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with donors by connecting with them on each stage of their digital journey.

Through our decade-long work with nonprofits, we’ve helped numerous organizations integrate marketing automation platforms into their marketing efforts and seen the benefits of driving deeper connections with donors firsthand.

Driving Donor Engagement for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy

At the height of the Global Refugee Crisis, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) emerged as an effective resource for donors looking to help the more than 65 million people fleeing conflict and peril. CDP wanted to expand donor engagement surrounding an ongoing crisis that often goes under-reported in the headlines. We worked with CDP to help the organization integrate marketing automation by refining its donor database, developing donor personas and relevant content pieces, and launching its first fully automated outreach campaign, taking their marketing and communication efforts to the next level.

Within two months of adopting this innovative approach, CDP started experiencing the benefits of marketing automation, expanding its donor database and deepening its engagement with its core audience.

In just six weeks, CDP was able to:

Increase Engagement Among Constituency

By implementing new tools and processes, CDP was able to deepen engagement with and increase the size of its core constituency by 22%, allowing new opportunities for expansion of future outreach opportunities and campaigns.

In addition to its automated email, database and social media features, most marketing automation platforms have tools that can help your organization develop compelling content pieces, landing pages and email templates. Leveraging these capabilities of marketing automation platforms, CDP was able to increase engagement among high-level contacts and entities.

Expand Future Outreach Opportunities and Campaigns

As a startup foundation, CDP needed to stand out in a field of more than 75,000 disaster relief organizations if it was going to garner enough funds to be sustainable. Through the process, CDP was moved toward an increasingly integrated and engaged donor network.

By adopting this strategy, CDP had an effective blueprint for future communication and development efforts, equipping the disaster-relief organization with the tools necessary to meet donors where they are with relevant information at any moment. This allowed CDP to reach more prospects and existing donors — helping the organization grow from a small organization to a leader in disaster recovery in the wake of disasters, like Hurricane Harvey.

With limited staff and an ongoing crunch on available funds, marketing automation tools and processes support communications and donor development efforts while allowing you to quickly and easily automate repetitive tasks, such as posting to various social media channels, sending strings of personalized emails to interested parties and gathering information. By adopting these platforms and integrating them into your overall outreach and development strategies, you can shift from simply communicating with your current and prospective donors to connecting and converting them into passionate supporters of your cause.


Photo Credit: Elio Santos via Unsplash 

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