Creating an amazing donor experience NOW – how it will impact recovery and beyond!

The COVID-19 pandemic is being felt by every single person in the world and is radically impacting consumer behaviour. At the same time, this shared experience is increasing understanding and empathy.  It’s fueling charitable giving in multiple ways as people are feeling and demonstrating renewed focus on altruism and giving locally. And not just with COVID-19 front line charities; every organization giving their supporters an amazing experience, and taking them on a journey, is seeing increased support.

That’s the short-term impact, but as we move forward, we’ll both consciously and subconsciously make purchasing and donating decisions based on the experiences we are having with brands during this pandemic.

In this week’s webinar, we tackled the essential topic of donor experience and how we can fuel connection with our donors.  We started with the fact that customer experience now accounts for 50% of all purchasing decisions – and for charities, that means that donor experience is going to matter more than ever.

The wonderful Richard Turner, a member of the Supporter Experience Project in the UK and a special guest on the webinar this week, shared with us that providing people a chance to give is a key action to helping them deal with the pandemic – a way of “doing” when it feels like there’s so little we can do.  And whether you are on the front lines or not, delivering content of value and relevance to your supporters is vital to creating connections. And it’s that connection that will allow you to move into recovery and even growth.

In other words, it’s a two-way street and how your donors experience you now, and what you do to express your mission and values through this life altering situation, will dictate your ability to retain and grow your donor base.

The good news is there are amazing examples of organizations truly stepping up for donors and delivering amazing content, stories and value along the way right now. In essence, they are earning the right to ask again, and treating their donors with the same care and concern as they do for the people they serve.

So how do you do it? How do you deliver an amazing donor experience right now?

  • Be authentic
  • Be human
  • Bring your organization’s personality to the experience – say something different than everyone else, and make sure it’s true to you
  • Show donors that you trust them and need them, and be open about what you’re doing right now – and why
  • Encourage non-financial engagement opportunities
  • Elevate your Donor Care team – call every new donor that comes in, or every active donor on the database (maybe you have an Events team with the capacity to help?)
  • Increase collaboration with your marketing/communications colleagues and help them tell stories
  • Mystery shop – walk a mile in your donors’ shoes (as our own Rachel Hunnybun says, make a donation to your own organization and see how it feels)
  • Be open to pivoting strategy where needed

It’s more than just “keep fundraising” (which is important and something that our research and results are telling us to do) but it’s a big opportunity to make a significant change in our approach and donor journeys.  Ensuring digital marketing delivers a best in class experience, that stewardship and “wow” moments are fully embedded in the journey, and that we are offering donors inspiring and clear messages are all areas where we are seeing charities rise above the rest.

What you do now for donors, how you treat them and engage them, how you stay relevant and ask them to give is what is going to drive your outcomes – now and in the future.

Richard Turner said it best: “People can feel the energy coming from your organization so make it positive and make it real.”

We agree; people are paying attention — so let’s make sure we are getting it right.