Altus Dynamics Blog

The key to improving your donations – truly understanding your donors

Posted by Chris Carre on Jun 19, 2015 12:30:00 PM

People love to feel important. No matter who they are and what they do, all people want to feel that their needs and preferences are being heard and acknowledged. By fully understanding and considering this fact, your organization will be able to create more meaningful relationships with your donors, which in turn will lead to increased donations.

We all know that the world is changing very quickly. The combination of the rapidly increasing population and the even faster growth of technology means that there is a large pool of complex individuals who are potential donors to your organization, and these potential donors can be contacted in a multitude of ways. A blog post listed on the Huffington Post, entitled “5 Ways Technology Can Help Your Nonprofit Do More Good”, dives into how non-profits can use knowledge and data to get to most out of their donation efforts. After reading this post, we decided to break down the three most important aspects of communication that non-profits need to consider in order to maximize their donations.

In order to take advantage of these opportunities, it is imperative that an organization contacts these people in the right way, with the right medium, and at the right time. But if your organization has hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of potential donors, the question becomes: how can you pay this much close attention to that many people?

The answer is simple: data management. This is a very simple concept that can provide numerous benefits to non-profit organizations if used and managed correctly.

We’ll use some examples to go into detail about how to use data to engage with your current and potential donors. For these scenarios, let’s take a look into the donation lives of a family of three. This family has a 48-year-old dad who works full-time, a 46-year-old mom who works part-time from home, and a 20-year-old son who is a full-time university student.Happy-Family_-_300X210

Right Way

In our scenario family, the parents traditionally donate between $50 and $70 to your organization every month, however their son has never donated to your organization. If you were to request a donation from your entire list that was too high or too low for any members of this family, you would be missing out on potential donation opportunities. So what is the right amount to ask of your entire contact list? The answer is that there is no right amount, since no number is going to be appropriate for all of your contacts. The best way to capture as many donations as possible is to collect and analyze previous donation information from your client list using a donor engagement system, and ask for donations that are in line with how they have behaved in the past. This will make your constituents feel that you understand their preferences and capabilities and are only asking of them what they are willing to give.

Right Medium

Our scenario mom frequently uses social media on her desktop computer, the dad uses his tablet to check emails in between meetings, and the son frequently uses social media apps on his mobile phone. An email sent to your contact list would only capture our scenario dad, but a social media blast would miss the dad entirely. So how can you ensure that virtually everyone on your contact list receives the intended message? Once again, the answer is to track your contacts’ preferences using a donor engagement system. You will be able to collect data about your constituents’ device and media preferences, allowing you to send emails to your email-using constituents, social media blasts to your social media-using constituents, and so on and so forth. This ensures that everyone receives the message on a platform that works best for them.Assets_3

Right Time

The right frequency of communications being sent to your constituents can be a difficult thing to determine for many organizations. You want to hit the right balance between communicating with them enough that you are always present in their minds and not sending so many communications that they become annoyed and unsubscribe. Using a donor engagement system to manage all of your constituent data can help you to understand just how often you should be contacting those in your contact list. Our scenario parents prefer to donate monthly, while their son is not a current donor. Sending out monthly communications to all of your contacts would be an appropriate amount for the parents of our scenario family but not enough for the son, since he needs to be consistently engaged to start him on the donation path.


By considering these three concepts while collecting and analyzing data about your constituents, you will be able to better tailor your communications to your various audiences. Using tailored communications shows your donors and potential donors that you care about their preferences, which will make them more likely to want to donate to your organization.donor_engage_quick_create_june_2015

To learn more about how a donor engagement solution can benefit your organization, watch our webcast about Donor Engage inside of a Dynamics CRM solution. Or check out our guide on how to better use data to increase donations.


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This Post Was Written By Chris Carre
Chris Carre is our in house Dynamics CRM Specialist, who is Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization & Configuration certified as well as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Applications certified. He’s been with Sparkrock now for over 2 years, and just recently won our company's Integrity Award.
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