Acquiring supporters is becoming harder and more expensive with less channels available to use. Not only is it expensive, but it’s a vicious cycle – acquiring donors only to lose 70 percent to 80 percent of them in a year.
There has been such an emphasis on looking at new ways to recruit donors, charities have forgotten how to retain them. Supporters expect, and now demand, a good supporter experience. Supporter experience needs to be rooted in what your data is telling you and how your supporters are responding.
We’re no longer dealing with supporters who ‘just want to do their bit’. There has been a lot of mistrust in charities over the years, and with the new types of donors being recruited, come new expectations.
Who are these new donors?
Well, it surprised us – but in just 5 years’ time in 2022, Millennials will be turning 40. That’s right, Millennials. Millennials aren’t twenty-year olds.
Millennials are the largest segment of supporters who demand an experience that understands them as customers. They have grown up with the emergence of computers and new technology that they’ve been able to adapt to it.
They have expectations of their experiences being enhanced. They’re constantly adapting to changes in Facebook, how smartphones operate and different apps. So why isn’t technology and digital supporting all the other processes in their life?
Millennials like to do things for themselves – they are self-reliant, empowered through social media and not afraid to ask too many questions. It’s an audience who turn to Twitter to complain about parcels not being delivered, curating holidays through the likes of Airbnb, and getting from A to B at a tap of an app.
They want a quality experience – they don’t have to know the brand well, but they will look at every aspect of the service and expect a good experience. If they are satisfied, they’ll come back for more. And if they really like you, they’ll share their experience on their social channels.
So why when I give to charity, do I not feel valued?
Why can’t this charity get things right and understand my behaviours, when Amazon knows exactly what I’ve been shopping for?
It is essential for donors to feel good as a result of giving – this is the most powerful incentive charities can give their supporters, making them want to give again. If they don’t feel valued, and if they don’t they’ll go elsewhere.
Feeling valued isn’t just an email here and there to say thanks. It’s understanding your supporter behaviour, and personalising and tailoring their journey to what behaviours they’re showing.
A recent report by Campaign Monitor highlights the importance of personalisation in email, stating that it’s one of the top reasons consumers will open brand emails. 62% of people cited personalisation in a subject line enough of an incentive to open.
The report also found that 58% of millennials ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’ donated to a charity based on an email they’d received, compared to just 18% of people aged 55 and over.
Source: Campaign Monitor
Supporter experience goes beyond personalisation
Charities need to know their audience in order to run successful campaigns. The opportunity to segment and personalise campaigns to drive engagement and future success is at our finger tips. And if you want to engage your new donors, millennials will expect personalisation to happen at scale.
What does this mean for charities?
Personalisation is just one expectation that Millennials have. They want to see charities being responsive to change – adapting to new technology, allowing conversations to be more fluid on different channels. They want to donate in a way that suits them – if you don’t offer it, they won’t donate.
Understanding supporter behaviour is key to defining who your audience is. Start tracking behaviours and recording this in your CRM to create segments of audience with similar traits. Look at new acquisition tools such as micro influencers. Is your supporter care handling your social media responses, no? They probably should be. Do you have data analysts making sense of the different behavioural data to inform your marketing strategy?
Charities need to start catching up with brands and retailers and recognise that Millennials aren’t the same as their current ageing supporters. Just as charities have had to adapt from Dorothy donor, to Baby Boomer – each generation has different traits and expectations.
Millennial Mike is the next generation of donor. Start adapting now.