READ TIME: 3 minutes

Personalization, For the Win

It’s Friday night, and it’s time to unwind! Pour a glass, kick off your Keds, and sit back to listen to your Spotify Discover Weekly playlist. Make a night of it by ordering in some Pad Thai, and watch that documentary your coworker keeps recommending on Netflix. Your Netflix homepage will look entirely different from your neighbor’s, as Netflix uses an algorithm to recommend titles based on your viewing history and titles you’ve rated, much like Spotify. This makes the customer experience entirely your own, tailored to your preferences. These personalization practices have granted companies like Spotify, Netflix and Amazon devoted customers, and there’s a lot to be learned from these major e-retailers. Incorporating personalization into your nonprofit communications strategy is a surefire way to connect with your supporters. According to this Infosys study, 86% of consumers make a purchase based on personalized marketing. Instead of products, sell your story through relevancy and leverage tactics that enable you to craft a unique message to key supporters.    

Personalize with Supporters in Mind

Your first step to personalizing content should be segmenting your supporters. Spending the extra time to speak directly to your monthly donors vs. major donors will result in increased engagement and likely revenue. Determine which supporters may prefer to be contacted by text, compared to those who may prefer email. While you want to speak to all of your supporters, there is never a “one-size-fits-all” message so invest the time to create relevant messages on their preferred platform, at their preferred time. Begin your segmentation process by defining your donor personas. Donor personas are fictitious representations of your donors based on demographics and behavior. For example, volunteers and fundraisers are two very different types of supporters that should be addressed accordingly. Haven’t defined your personas yet? Start here.  

Examples from the Field

In addition to using personalization in their content strategy, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital went one step further to launch Together – an online support community for families battling childhood cancer. Each user experience is unique, tracked with analytics to deliver relevant information based on their specific needs: just diagnosed, during treatment, and life after cancer. The result: a support system backed by research to help families struggling to come to terms with a new reality.  

Incorporating Personalization into Campaigns

Once you’ve taken the time to outline your donor personas, develop personalized messaging (better yet, test your assumptions with each persona). Fifty-one percent of digital marketers swear that personalization is their number one priority, and the ROI doesn’t lie. Let’s walk through what segmented messaging can actually look like for your nonprofit. For this exercise, we’ll be focusing on an end-of-year giving campaign utilizing text messaging. Take these examples and make them your own!   Segment 1 – Monthly Donors “Hey <Name of Supporter>! My name is <Your Name> and I’m volunteering with <Organization> today to connect with valued supporters like you. As temperatures drop, we’re aiming to raise $XX by the end of 2019 so we’re able to rescue abandoned animals at a moment’s notice. Can we count on you to upgrade your monthly gift by $X? <link to donate>” Go one step further and tailor your text message based on giving level. If a monthly donor gives $15/month, asking them to upgrade to $50/month might be too drastic of a change. Include what an increased gift will look like in terms of impact, for example $30/month feeds 15 rescued animals. Segment 2 – Major Donors “Hey <Name of Supporter>! My name is <Your Name> and I’m volunteering with <Organization> today to connect with valued supporters like you. Thanks to your generosity, we have been able to rescue XX whales in your name. As we near the end of the year, we’re aiming to raise $XX so we can reach our goal of protecting XX endangered whale pods. We hope we can count on your continued support. <link to donate>”   Segment 3 – Lapsed Donors  “Hey <Name of Supporter>! My name is <Your Name> and I’m volunteering with <Organization> to help support the eradication of hunger. Thanks to your gift of $XX in <Year>, we were able to feed X families in need. We’re aiming to raise $XX by the end of 2019 to reach our goal of feeding XX hungry mouths around the world. Can we count you in? <link to donate>”   These text messages are just one example of what segmented and personalized communication can look like, woven into campaign strategy. Take these examples and make them work for your nonprofit.  

Learn to personalize messaging as you build or reboot your monthly giving program with CauseMic Academy