The Importance of Donor Lifecycle Management for Non Profits in ANZ

Donor lifecycle management (DLM) or customer lifecycle management as it's more generically called, should be a core process for non-profit organisations in ANZ . It aims to link each stage of the donor journey, from initial awareness to advocacy, and to build strong, long-lasting relationships with supporters.

DLM helps to ensure that every touchpoint with a supporter is meaningful and impactful. By carefully managing each stage of the journey, non-profits can create personalised experiences for their supporters, which builds a sense of trust and loyalty. This, in turn, leads to increased donations and advocacy, as supporters are more likely to engage with an organisation that they trust.

Equally it helps ensure the time and money spent by the non-profit is directed and effective.

How do I start? By documenting your DLM. It makes it easier to identify areas where the organisation can make improvements. By tracking supporter behaviour and engagement at each stage of the journey, non-profits can identify areas where they may be losing supporters or where their messaging may not be resonating. This can help them to make necessary adjustments to their content and marketing strategy.

The result?

Effective DLMs can create a vibrant community of advocates who can help to spread your message and raise awareness about the cause with the associated increase in donations, volunteerism, and support you might expect.

Here is a short overview of each of the six stages of a DLM, the touch points you might have with donors and then how to use automation to do much of the heavy lifting:

Stage 1: Awareness:

In this stage, a potential donor discovers the non-profit through social media, word of mouth, or other marketing channels. The non-profit will want to make a good first impression to capture the donor's attention and interest.

Touchpoints: Social media posts and ads, website landing pages, events, and referrals.

How to use marketing automation: Target potential customers with personalised messages that highlight your mission and values. For example, a non-profit that supports mental health awareness can use social media ads to target donors who have expressed interest in the topic. The ad can direct users to a landing page on the non-profit's website that provides more information about their mission and the impact they are making. The landing page can also encourage users to sign up for the non-profit's email newsletter to stay informed and engaged.

Stage 2: Interest

In this stage, the donor shows interest in the non-profit's mission and values. You need to provide informative and engaging content that builds the donor's understanding of your work.

Touchpoints: Email newsletters, website blog posts, social media engagement, and fundraising campaigns.

How to use marketing automation:  Deliver targeted messages to segmented lists based on their interests and engagement level. The non-profit can also use social media to engage with users by sharing relevant articles and responding to comments and messages.

Stage 3: Consideration

In this stage, the donor actively considers supporting the non-profit through donations, volunteering, or spreading the word. The non-profit needs to provide clear and concise information about the impact of their work and how the donor can get involved.

Touchpoints: Donation landing pages, volunteer opportunities pages, impact reports, and success stories.

How to use marketing automation: Configured to deliver personalised messages that highlight the impact of their work and the benefits of supporting their cause. Building a set of nurture emails, each building on the former, can help tell a compelling story, increasing donor conversion rates.

Stage 4: Action

In this stage, the donor takes action and supports the non-profit through donations, volunteering, or advocacy. The non-profit needs to provide a seamless and positive experience for the donor to encourage them to continue their support.

Touchpoints in this stage include donation confirmation pages, volunteer onboarding, social media shoutouts, and advocacy campaigns.

How to use marketing automation:  Set up your automation to deliver personalised messages that thank the customer for their support, highlight the impact of their donation and encourage them to stay engaged. If there is an onboarding process involved, setting up automation to send approved documentation and links to training can save a great deal of time, improve quality and ensure no one is forgotten along the way without consuming hours of your organisation's time.

Stage 5: Loyalty

In this stage, the customer becomes a loyal supporter of the non-profit and continues to advocate and donate. The non-profit needs to maintain ongoing communication and engagement to build a strong relationship with the donor.

Touchpoints in this stage include personalised thank-you emails, exclusive events, impact reports, and ongoing communication. How to use marketing automation:  The organisation's focus should be  on delivering targeted messages that continue to build a sense of community and loyalty.

For example, personalised thank-you emails that provide ongoing updates about the impact of the customer's donation. The non-profit might offer exclusive events for loyal supporters. Equally, If you run annual fund raising events, build an automated "reverse nurture campaign" that sends a series of communications to donors, as you build towards your event. 

Stage 6: Advocacy

The final stage of the donor's journey is advocacy. At this stage, the donor has become a loyal supporter of the non-profit and is actively promoting its mission and values to others. Advocacy is an essential stage for non-profits as it helps to build brand awareness, attract new supporters, and increase donations.

Touchpoints: Social media sharing, word-of-mouth recommendations, community events, and referral programs are all effective methods of advocacy. Non-profits can also create opportunities and content for their advocates to share their experiences and stories, which can be powerful tools for attracting new supporters.

Use of marketing automation: 

Segmentation and personalisation of communications at the advocacy phase become very important. The more personalised you can make your communications the greater loyalty and advocacy one might expect from loyal donors.

Use of technology to support the donor lifecycle for non profits:

Technology can be a powerful tool for supporting a DLM. Here is a summary of the top tools to consider:

  • Segmentation and Personalisation: Marketing automation can help non-profits segment their audience based on their interests and behaviours, and create personalised messaging that speaks directly to each segment's needs and preferences. 

  • Nurturing Campaigns: Marketing automation can help non-profits create targeted, automated campaigns that guide supporters through the donation and advocacy process.These campaigns can be triggered based on specific actions or behaviours, such as opening an email or visiting a particular page on the non-profit's website.

  • Data Collection and Analysis: Marketing automation can help non-profits track and analyse supporter behaviour and engagement, such as which pages they visit, which emails they open, and which actions they take. This data can be used to refine messaging and campaigns, as well as identify opportunities to further engage supporters.

  • Multi-channel Engagement: Marketing automation can help non-profits reach supporters across multiple channels, such as email, social media, and SMS. This can help ensure that supporters receive messages in the channels they prefer, increasing the chances of engagement and advocacy.

  • Automated Follow-up: Marketing automation can help non-profits automate follow-up actions, such as sending a thank-you email after a supporter takes an advocacy action or providing updates on the progress of a campaign. This can help build trust and loyalty with supporters, and encourage them to stay engaged with the non-profit's advocacy efforts.

Interested in chatting about how marketing automation can support you across the donor lifecycle? We'd love to talk to you too. Book a time to do that here.

If you are interested in setting up the automation technology to enable effective donor lifecycle management you might be interested in this guide.


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Marketing Automation for non profits: A guide


Topics: marketing automation Non profit organisations