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Customer Experience

Make more impact with your charity: turn potential donators into ambassadors

It’s an exciting time to be part of the charity industry. Sure, there are challenges, but there are also huge opportunities for innovation. For example, while the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected some people’s capacity to support worthwhile causes, it has also provided the drive needed to push charities toward finding new and effective ways of reaching potential donators and turning them into ambassadors.

For example, the total amount of charitable giving in the UK increased across 2020 from £10.6 billion to £11.3 billion. However, this was due to an increase in the average size of the donation. The number of donators declined. Moreover, the most recent data from last year suggests this trend is intensifying. 

Nevertheless, the charity industry remains a huge market. In the US, the non-profit industry boasts the third-largest workforce in the country, with US charities receiving a total of $471.44 billion in 2020.  

If the industry remains healthy, sourcing donators is set to become more complex - especially on a subscription basis. In an increasingly competitive market, charities have to work harder to reach a shrinking pool of donators. To remain relevant, charities must adopt a modern donating journey - ensuring they develop flexible, convenient, and tech-savvy ways to donate. 

A New Hybrid World  

Given that charities now need to source new donators much more often, it’s essential to adapt to shifting trends among potential supporters. Today, many younger generations prefer to donate flexibly. They no longer want to be tied to subscriptions and monthly donations. They want to donate at their convenience and to charities of their choice. 

In March 2020, just 13% of donators used an app or website, but this figure had jumped to 24% by the following month. It’s important to note that even before the pandemic, the emergence of this trend was visible - particularly among younger age groups. For example, mobile donations have been rising for several years - doubling since 2015. Although more than 40% of people give online, this figure increases to 62% for Gen-Z donators and 64% for millennials. 

We now inhabit a hybrid world where digital and physical environments intersect across all parts of daily life. Make sure your donation process embodies this by offering donators flexibility - in terms of when they donate, how often, via multiple channels, and through the payment method of their choice.  

Below, we’ve covered the four main steps to creating the perfect donating journey. Offer the ultimate experience to turn potential donators into long-term ambassadors.

1. Start the Donator Journey with Data 

When sourcing potential donators for your charity and transforming occasional donators into an ongoing relationship, it is critical to undertake thorough research. Data analysis can help you determine your charity’s ultimate donators. Use data to personalise the messages you send to supporters. Use metrics to define the donating journey and find individuals that suit your charity’s goals, and ask yourself some important questions: 

  • What are the characteristics of the ultimate donator? 

  • Where can you reach them? 

  • What is their preferred contact channel? 

  • What messages can you share with them? 

However, using data effectively presents another challenge for charities: finding enough qualified personnel who can conduct the necessary data analysis. In a single year, the data science talent shortage could be as high as 250,000. Given data’s support in identifying donators and quantifying impact, charities must navigate this talent shortfall. A Customer Data Platform (CDP) can aggregate data from a vast variety of sources to give you personalised insight into who your customers are and, most importantly, what they want from you. A CDP can help you create the sort of personalised, targeted marketing campaigns that drive real results.

2. Finding the Right Channel 

Once a charity has identified its potential target donator, its next task is making sure it reaches them through their preferred channels with an appropriate (personalised) message. According to survey results, 44% of donators state they would be willing to donate up to 10% more for a personalised experience, increasing to 62% for millennials.  

Getting the first donation in is important to turn the potential donator into an occasional donator. When this donator’s first donation and data are in, you can start building an ongoing relationship by adequately communicating the how, what, and why underpinning each donation. Transparency is essential even at this stage. When the first donation takes place, it is an excellent time to ask for more data from the donator, which should then be stored to enable better and more personalised communication in the future. 

3. Making a Donation 

Ensure that payment can occur without hurdles. Support your donators’ favourite payment methods, so you don’t miss out on valuable impulse conversion. Making the donations process as seamless as possible will maximise the ROI of your charity’s marketing efforts. 

4. Stay in Touch 

Since transparency is a vital topic for donators - especially younger generations - a donation provides the perfect opportunity for requesting more data. For example, ask your donator follow-up questions:

  • Do you want to be kept informed on your donation’s impact?

  • Via which channel would you prefer to receive this communication? 

Be up-front about all your communications. Don’t bombard your donator with unnecessary messaging, but share evidence-based examples of the impact they are having. Take donator privacy seriously and never share contact details without consent. But don’t be satisfied with a one-off or occasional donation; turn your donators into members and ambassadors. Create a dialogue - not just a one-way distribution of marketing materials. Developing a long-term relationship means making sure you can get in touch with your donators, and they can get in touch with you. 


Gaining a Competitive Edge 

There are many different charities, all competing for the same donators and money. You can stand out in this congested industry by managing the donating journey through data. has the data analytics, communications, marketing, and payments solutions charities need to ensure they can save on transaction costs and manage the donating journey more effectively through automated and personalised engagement.   

Contact us today to find out how can help boost your donator retention rate and take your fundraising to the next level
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