How tech can help you build better supporter relationships

ipad-tablet-technology-touchA guest blog by Robin Fisk.

Getting routine supporter communication techniques right can provide a better experience for your supporter, help you to measure your communications investment and help your organisation raise more money to make a greater impact.

Yet according to a recent study nonprofit organisations largely ignore their donor communication preferences. This is a vital lesson for charities as, according to the study, this disconnection results in lost donations.

There are several tactics that successful companies use to provide excellent customer experience that charities can use to improve supporter communication (and hopefully) experience.

For example, you may already pre-schedule your social media posts, but are you doing the same with emails?

Email marketing automation lets you trigger emails to supporters at key times and points when they’re interacting with your website, products or services, as opposed to emailing them at random times with potentially irrelevant content.

In practice, this means that after someone has made a donation on your website, they automatically receive a thank-you email or an email with relevant information based on their donation. If you get this right, the email will help to make your supporter feel valued and they tell other people. Given that people trust recommendations over advertising this is marketing gold.

Econsultancy writes about keeping up a good customer journey in a multi-channel world, emphasising how – armed with accurate, real-time information about how customers interact with them across their various channels – brands can target digital marketing campaigns and allocate budget more effectively.

IBM has a ‘360 Supporter View’, and they collect data about their customers in real-time to craft ‘exceptional experiences’. This is achieved by giving their customer-facing professionals – the ones who deal directly with customers in the call center, in person, or through social media, email or chat – important information. This approach makes it much easier for them to engage, develop trusted relationships, solve problems and eventually sell the right products.

Another example is Amazon, who has a ‘culture of metrics’ that encourages their team to push data-driven changes to their customer service journey on a regular basis. Perhaps this explains how ‘supporters who bought X…, also bought Y’ has become synonymous with Amazon.

If your analytics suggest that one group of supporters have a regular behaviour pattern, look at ways to connect these supporters with more personalised data along their supporter journey. You can then use this data to predict what someone wants in advance by monitoring behaviour over time.

Brian Manusama, a research director at Gartner, explained to Computer Weekly that organisations that use data for customer service will increase customer satisfaction by providing personalised supporter services:

“Through analysis, organisations can get a better understanding of the service issues customers are experiencing, and take action to avoid problems and resolve issues before customers are reaching out to customer service.”

Charity CRM provider Donorfy has written about creating a ‘donor journey’ to improve charity fundraising, mapping ‘supporter journey’ to increasing both brand loyalty and sales.

It is worth taking the time to understand where you can borrow ideas from other organisations and map out your supporter journey. Supporter experience matters and good use of technology can help you to improve it.

Robin Fisk is founder of Donorfy, which was recently voted #1 charity CRM and fundraising software in the UK.

A version of this blog was first published at 

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