As a nonprofit executive, we have focused on some traditional markets and strategies. Our mission has compelled us to think this way. Maybe we have benefited from direct mail, major donors and marketing funnels. Perhaps our growth over the last 10 years has been from event donors or major givers. That history and success had you focused on Baby Boomers or the generation before them known as the “Lucky Few” (or “Silent Generation”).
The new reality to deal with is that the connected donor is now (or soon will) become a dominant source of donors for you. Their focus is on the experience and how they feel about your products and services as seen through the “experience” lens. They also know that other connected donors depend on shared experiences to make decisions. If you are not designing the experience and path you want them to be on, you will not be able to influence in a positive way what they share about you.
This is all about alignment. As you look at your goals and strategie, a starting point is the experience you want connected donors to be passionate about. As an executive and leader, here are some ideas to focus on.
Test the “connected experience” connected donors are having. For example, make (or have someone else make) several transactions in different ways to your nonprofit. What is that experience like? Was the mobile experience easy to use?
Learn how your connected donors connect and communicate. Regularly try out (and actively use) social media. Only use your smartphone for a week. Quit using email and actively communicate on social media or by text messaging. This list is long but if you learn it you will “get” how other “connected’s” communicate.
Become a “discoverer”. Connected’s are always discovering new ways to connect. What are their preferences? What methods do they prefer? What do they value?
Think design. Have you designed the experience to be enjoyable, easy to use and to meet connected donor’s needs? Are you measuring that experience? Have you benchmarked with other nonprofits? Have you mapped out (designed) the journey you want them to go on?
Lead!!! Yes, you need to be a passionate advocate and in fact lead the charge. No one else can or will do it for you, no matter what your role is.
The reality is that you will not be able to reach donors by mail or phone as easily as in the past, unless you know them very well. They aren’t waiting by the mail box for your next direct mail mailer.
This isn’t as dire and ominous as it sounds. Opportunities are around every corner. Your new connected donor is waiting on you to connect in new ways. They want to be passionate about you mission. If you relentlessly pursue engaging with them on the channels they rely on, they will continue on the journey with you. Focus on creating stunning experiences for them. Test it yourself and assess, is that experience remarkable? You’ll know if they are sharing and “remarking” on the experience.
It is helpful to think, “Now is the time”. The landscape is shifting but it has not completely shifted yet. One way to look at the experience you have today is to create a document that has on the left side, todays experience and to put on the right side, the connected experience. Where are there gaps? What will it take to change it? What will it cost? Can we test the new experience and see what it does for us?
“Now is the time” to recognize donors have already changed.
“Now is the time” to design a different experiences.
“Now is the time” to make decisions based on intentionally designed donor experiences.