Tips from Strategic Consulting

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Tips from Strategic Consulting for Maximizing Your Donor Experience

Tackle one strategy at a time

There are likely many opportunities to adjust your website and communication efforts. However, trying to do fifteen things at once is probably a little daunting. Instead, pick one area on which to focus each quarter of the year. Set realistic goals for your area of focus and plan to measure results.

Foster Engagement

Take a step back and look at your giving process from the perspective of a donor. Is it easy to reach the giving form from your alumni website, your giving pages, and your institutional homepage? Is there a clear call-to-action on your giving pages? That’s just the beginning of making the donor experience easy and intuitive. Additional food for thought:

  1. Increase stewardship messaging
    Once an individual makes a gift to your institution, it should be the beginning of a different relationship as they are now a donor. Follow-up with communications that share how dollars raised are being used.
  2. Be inclusive
    As you’re posting content on your site, think about your constituents and ensure that the site reflects the range of constituencies that you are trying to engage. If graduates do not feel that they are represented on the homepage, they may get the impression that your office does not serve them.
  3. Customize confirmation emails
    Every communication alumni receive from you is an extension of your brand. Confirmation emails after registering for an event or making a gift should include the same look and feel like other emails from your institution, or should reflect the look and feel of the specific event. By incorporating this into every communication, it ensures consistency and recognition by constituents.

Change it Up!

  1. Thank online donors online
    If someone makes a gift to your institution online, look at options for continuing your communication about their gift with them online. They have expressed a preference for giving online, so their expectation is that further communication (i.e. receipts, follow-up communication, etc.) also takes place online.
  2. Add additional segmentations
    The more personalized the messaging, the more likely you’ll get a response. Segmenting communications helps to increase open rates and, perhaps more importantly, click through rates by providing your constituents with more relevant content. Think about adding new segments to your communications, perhaps based on giving history, year of graduation, residency, or the level of engagement. If you’re new to segmentation, then identify one or two groups for whom you feel varying your message might make a difference (such as young alumni, graduates from a specific school or college, non-members vs. members, etc.)
  3. Look at existing segmentation
    If you’re already segmenting quite a bit, it’s equally important to see if your segments are effective. Take time to evaluate existing segments. With segments that you have in place, are you seeing higher open and/or click-to-open rates for segmented communications versus general communications? If not, perhaps that segment is not needed and you can use that time to work with different segments of your constituency.
    (Need help with segmentation? Engagement scoring by iModules can help identify segments based on the current level of engagement of your constituents.*)
  4. Reward behavior
    Consider ways to increase engagement of your most loyal constituents and reward them for being active. Use a promotion code on reunion registration for graduates who attended last year, for those who attended another event, or for individuals who participate in other programs (mentoring, career program, etc.). Another way to recognize these individuals is to open registration first for them or give them a sneak peek.

Make It Easy

  1. Review forms
    Put yourself in the shoes of your constituents. You may know why you have various fields on your update contact information form, but consider the constituent experience. Think about reducing the fields and pre-populating information to make it easy for constituents to complete the form. If the form looks long, they are less likely to complete it.
    • The same goes for your giving form – if the fields aren’t absolutely necessary, then consider removing them from the form and making the donation form easier to use! Make sure your giving form is easy to navigate, with clear breadcrumbs to help the donor understand the flow of the form. Western Kentucky University uses shaded breadcrumbs to outline the user flow of its giving form.
    • Display several donation amount options on your giving website, and then automatically populate the giving form with the amount a donor chooses. University of Wyoming does a nice job with this
    • Make sure Designation options are easy to understand and even easier for the donor to select. Montana State University Alumni Foundation’s giving form outlines everything related to Designations on the first step of the giving form
    • Include an ask amount in your e-solicitations and then auto-populate that ask amount on the giving form for the donor. (Through the Encompass system, you can even segment the ask amount per email recipient!)
    • Activate the “pre-population” feature for the Encompass giving form. This way, when an email recipient clicks to give from your e-solicitation, the giving form is automatically populated with the email recipient’s biographical information.
  2. Include clear calls to action in communications
    Looking at Google Analytics, peaks in website traffic are generally linked to email messages being sent. This makes email the primary driver of activity, so it’s important to use emails to encourage the action that you want your constituents to take.
    • We all skim emails to see what the action is. By including clear call to action buttons and call-out text, you make it easy for constituents to take the next step.
    • When creating emails, be sure that the call-to-action stands out and is easily accessible on any device.
    • In e-newsletters, limit the amount of text; focus on short copy teasers or images to get constituents to click through to your site to read more or find out the full details.
  3. Take a critical look at your homepage
    Your homepage is probably the page that gets the highest traffic across your website. Make sure that the page reflects the goals of your division. It’s also important that your images and stories pertain to a variety of constituents so visitors to your website feel that your office represents them. Additionally, create a schedule for changing images and content on your homepage; images and content should be rotated regularly – our recommendation is that you change the primary story and image on your homepage at least once a month. This way, if you’re sending a monthly e-newsletter that drives traffic to your website, your constituents will be greeted with fresh content. And finally, you must make your content available (and user friendly) from any device. If your site doesn’t adapt to all screen sizes, 2017 should be the year you make it happen.
    (Need help with your website? Our Design Services team can assist you.*)

This list can give you a starting point – you don’t have to do all of these at once, but pick some key ones to focus on.

Working on your Day of Giving? Watch the 10 Tips for the Best Giving Day Ever webinar to hear ten tips for running a record-breaking Day of Giving campaign!