Four simple ways you can get to know your supporters better

Friday, January 26, 2018

Four simple ways you can get to know your supporters better

Civil society has passed through some choppy waters recently and uncertainty is a persistent feature of the times. But as Jonathan Bunce writes there are tested digital approaches which charities can take to develop support.

With negative press headlines, individual giving becoming much more promiscuous and charities worried about losing between one-third to one-half of their database after GDPR is introduced, it’s beginning to feel like the perfect storm is approaching for NFPs.

So how can you weather the storm?

  • Find and nurture supporters, financial or not, who care about what you are doing.
  • Discover what they want to hear and experience from your organisation and deliver that accordingly.

Here are The Access Group’s four tops tips for getting to know your supporters better

Build up a profile

A modern CRM database allows you to track and record any information your supporters are happy to share with you – from their biographical information, hobbies and interests to their event attendance and giving history. The more they trust you, the more they’ll share, so knowing as much as you can about an individual helps you focus your communications on what they really care about and offer appropriate ways for them to get involved. Not only will you know your supporters better, you’ll also know what motivates them to support you. Bear in mind that what you record, while helping you to profile people, is subject to GDPR and Data Protection laws. The better you can handle personal preferences of the individual, the better your communications can be.

Personalise your message

Once you have built up profiles of your supporters, make sure you personalise your message to them. A personalised mailing will always get a better response than a mass mailing or generic appeal, and will help keep them interested in your cause.

Embrace social data

Social media is a great, free source of information but it can be very time consuming trying to distinguish what is meaningful to your organisation. However, the ability to personalise messages is extensive if you integrate the use of social data with your CRM system. Having this extra layer of detail will help you plan, produce and schedule highly targeted online campaigns, as well as provide timely, knowledgeable and meaningful interactions with donors or supporters. Your 360° view of a supporter should include how much time they have given and how engaged they are. Think beyond simply financial value. Do you know your ambassadors - those promoting you on social media?

Record all interactions

Keeping a record of all communications and interactions with your donors and supporters helps you to understand what they respond to (and what they don’t), which messages resonate with them and what motivates them to donate, volunteer or attend an event. All of these things can easily be tracked and recorded in a modern CRM as it works to integrate valuable information about your supporters across all data sources.

The most effective promotions are often well-told stories. But you need to find the right audience so that you can communicate how your organisation is helping people. Stories will ensure that people care about what you are doing, keeping them engaged and motivated and giving them the ability to define how they want to support you.

None of this is radical, and the good news is that the tools available to manage these relationships at scale are getting better all the time – but the consequences of getting it wrong are getting much more significant.

Jonathan Bunce is the head of marketing for The Access Group, the UK’s largest supplier of software to the Non-Profit sector.