HAPPY NEW YEAR, READERS!
I am back to the grind after a lovely Christmas with family and friends, and a lot of much-needed rest. I took a break from Twitter, email, and this blog, and it felt fantastic! I hope you took some time to yourself, too.
All that rest meant I went back to the office yesterday feeling rejuvenated. I was ready to go! And do you know what the first thing I did was?
Mapped out a 2017 donor journey for one of the organizations I work with.
You’ve heard me say this before: all too often, the needs of our organizations – administrative, financial, bureaucratic, etc. – trump the needs of our donors. Our boss thinks something is important so we spend a lot of time on it, and our donors come second. We have a revenue goal, and we’re so desperate to reach it (maybe our job depends on it), that we treat donors like philanthropic robots and throw ask after ask at them without any thought of how it might feel, or how it fits into their donor journey.
It happens. We all do it. We have real pressures and budgets and deadlines – and bosses – and the donor falls down the list of priorities.
Donor journey mapping can help us get a handle on it.
And remember – don’t plan your donor journey at the start of your fiscal year. Start it at January 1st. (If that’s the start of your fiscal year, you’re a lucky duck!)
January is the start of a new year for everybody, so it’s also the start of a new – or continued – donor journey.
So with all this in mind, yesterday morning I sat down with a big sheet of 11 x 17 paper and wrote 20+ segments down the left side of the page – current mid-level donors, lapsing mid-level donors, mid-level prospects, online only donors, monthly donors, 3+ year consecutive donors, current donors, lapsed donors, inactive donors… and so on and so forth.
Then I wrote the months of the year across the top.
Then I thought of each group and what made sense for them throughout the calendar year – for example, most current mid-level donors would’ve given in December, so maybe more of them should get stewardship in January vs. a renewal ask.
3+ year consecutive donors are really loyal, so even though they’re usually treated the same way other current donors are, I’d like to test a monthly conversion ask in early Fall.
It’d be great to convert online only donors to give through the mail, but not in the year-end time period when there’s a flurry of online activity; I’ll exclude them from the year-end mailing we do in December.
And on and on I go.
It’s an awesome exercise that puts donors first, and ensures their needs – and the best fundraising strategies – are set up and ready to go before they can be trumped by something else.
Try it! Especially when your energy is fresh, and your donors are feeling the same way.
Good luck, and Happy New Year!
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for ten years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.