A Scientist in Your Communications Department
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A Scientist in Your Communications Department

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Presented at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington DC.

Presented at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington DC.

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  • How many of you shop using Amazon.com?Have any of you ever received an e-mail like this?This e-mail is an example of highly specific targeting. When I was logged into the site, I was searching for (xxx) and it took note of my activity on the site, what I put in my shopping cart, but maybe didn’t purchase, or what I spent time browsing and sent me this e-mail to follow up on my interests.
  • Another example of how people use your interests and what they know about you to target recommendations to what you might like, and therefore increase your interaction with their business.
  • You’re probably saying to yourself: “But, I’m not Amazon or Netflix. They have lots of money to do targeting like that. Isn’t that what big marketers do? I don’t have anything to sell these people, I’m asking them to donate to me. They aren’t giving me any information about who they are or what they’re interested in. They’re just writing me a check or making a donation online. How am I supposed to use these same tactics as those big marketers?”
  • So, that’s what we’re here today to discuss. How to segment your messages, customize your content – and most importantly, deliver event fundraising results.Using the science fair analogy to walk us through the process:First, we’ll discuss utilizing online communications to stimulate results in event fundraising. We’ll make the connection between new communications methods and traditional fundraising theory.Then, we’ll talk about what segmentation is – and why it will generate results.After we understand WHY segmentation, we’ll get into the nitty gritty and discuss how it works, how you can make it work for your organization and the different ways you can take it back to your organization now.Finally, we’ll talk about measuring the results. You want to make sure that the effort that you are putting in to analyzing your audience is actually generating your desired results.Along the way, I’ll be giving you some examples of how segmentation has worked for some of our most successful clients.
  • Main message for this section: Connect mass communications strategies to traditional fundraising techniques. Communicating with your event participants should utilize the same strategies that you use for smaller groups or individual major donors.
  • In order to better understand how to find a solution to the problem, let’s go back to the basics – in chemistry, you break it down to the basic elements, so let’s go back to some fundraising basics. I want you to look at your event participants as more than just event participants. They are valuable donors and fundraisers for your organization. Look at the lifetime amounts that some of your event participants have brought into your organization – they may have raised the same amount of money as a major donor, but you haven’t looked at them in that way because they are in your “event” bucket. This is why we’re going back to the fundraising basics – to remember that event participants are also fundraisers.Other fun fact: Au (Gold) is the most malleable and ductile of all metals; a single gram can be beaten into a sheet of 1 square meter, or an ounce into 300 square feet. Its uses vary from monetary exchange to jewelry to practical applications in electronics and industry. Like our communications plans, it can be shaped in whatever way we please and if we use it in the right way, it can return more value to us.
  • You won’t generate results unless you ask.You already know this – we’re going to apply some of the tools that you are already familiar with to your event communications strategies.The event has been created as a REASON to ask. Make sure that you are asking.You probably have a good group of supporters that you know will participate in your event. How are they going to know about your event unless you tell them about it and then ask them to be part of your event?Think about what you are saying in your e-mails? Are you giving people information? Are you asking them to do something? Ideally, you are offering both – information AND a call to action in your e-mails. Offering only one is not utilizing your communications methods to the full potential. You have to foster a give and take relationship with your donors and constituents. Give them a reason to give and offer them information and inspiration, so that when you ask, their answer is yes.
  • Animation comes out one-by-one. (one click, delay by 2 seconds)How do you get to the YES? Ask in a personal way.You would never approach a major donor with a form letter or a generic brochure, right? With the ability to personalize messages now, there is no reason that you should be sending generic communications to your constituent base via e-mail communications. While the audience is savvy enough to know that you aren’t sitting at your computer typing out an email in Outlook just to them, you should give them information that they care about and that is relevant to their reasons for supporting your organization in the first place.Understand why someone already supports your organization and speak to that.
  • Main message for this section: Sell the idea of segmentation.What is segmentation and WHY do we think it’s the right tool?Why segment with your eCommunications?
  • This is the strategy you use with your major donors. Look at your overall constituent base as all potential major donors and utilize your technology and your data to personalize your communications.
  • When you send the same messages to your entire constituent base, you run the risk of diluting your message – oversaturating people with information or asks from your organization that do not speak to their original reasons for supporting you. Your messages may resonate with some people very strongly, but may get lost with other people. If you overcommunicate with non-specific messaging, chances are you will get lost in the email clutter.
  • Refer back to the six rights. Catch people when they are in the right mindset. Talk to people about what they care about and tap into the reasons that they chose to support your organization in the first place.As you are able to segment people with more detail and into more specific groups – you will have more luck in generating real results.
  • Main message for this section: Getting into the nitty-gritty of how to segment.What information do you need to begin segmentation and how do you get it?The mechanics of descriptive analysisThe mechanics of predictive analysis
  • Need to start somewhere with segmentation. You have to see what you already know about your donors and constituents.Look at your registration or donation form. What information are you collecting?How can you use the information that you already have?Donor history, address information, gender, birthdate (age)To bring your data collection to the next level, use your event management tools to look at the following types of information:- How frequent is participation? (Once and done? Repeat participation?)How much are they collecting in donations?How many donors do they have?How soon do they make an ask after signing up?How far in advance of an event are people signing up?Are they recruiting other people to participate? What actions are those people taking?
  • We made sure everyone had to register online, including their connection to the cause.
  • “Take a microscope to your data – and this is where we use it and interpret”Now, you have your information - this is where we start to take action with it. You can use simple tools within your e-mail communication systems, or even a basic excel worksheet, to group your audience together based on various characteristics. Even if your organization only has basic information (address, gift history) – there is a lot that you can do to personalize your messages at this stage to generate initial responses.Give examples on how to use each type of data.Is your organization sponsoring events or projects in a specific geography? Use address information to communicate more directly. Acknowledge based on their specific gift history, not on your predefined levels. People love it when they feel like you know them personally and their specific gift is making an impact. By saying, your “$140 donation” versus seeing their name on a donor list of “gifts between $100 and $150 – you are developing a more personal connection with the specific action that person has taken.Talk about projects that they have donated to in order to keep them engaged. Ask their opinions about future projects – involve them in your community beyond just an ask for more money.If appropriate, use gender or birthdate information to talk to groups:Birthdate – time based communications, thank them for their support on their birthday with a personalized message from someone who has benefitted from your work. If your organization does work based on gender or age, tailor your project communications in that way.
  • Maybe add histogram.
  • Two ways of approaching predictive analysis:1 – sophisticated statistical analysis (via a tool such as SPSS)2 – can also do basic predictive analysis based on intuition, for example: “women survivors will react differently than men survivors.”Keep in mind, no predictive model will ever be completely accurate, but it will allow you to direct behavior more effectively.
  • An event case:Sets the tone and culture of the eventRecruits participantsCreates an easily repeatable fundraising ask for participants to makeSets a metric to report onPresents a purpose for growing over timeBe passionate.Be focused.
  • Thank you is key to relationship management. Validate their reasons for participating and/or giving:To feel good by doing something goodTo feel like they are part of a communityTo be acknowledged(Jimmy Fund bus example)
  • Segmentation e-mail example – past participant that hasn’t participated in a while.Acknowledge the way that they have participated in the past.Ask them to continue their involvement with your organization in a meaningful and realistic way for them.
  • Main message for this section: Analyzing resultsHow do you measure the results?Using case studies to demonstrate success.
  • When we were chatting the other day, you asked about the % of people who hit the 2008 suggested goal of $250. In 2008, 6.2% hit $250 or above. In 2009, 6.4% hit $250 or above.  In 2009, we shifted our suggested goal to $125. In 2008, 10% hit $125 or above.In 2009, 12% hit $125 or above.
  • How do you get to the YES? Ask in a personal way.You would never approach a major donor with a form letter or a generic brochure, right? With the ability to personalize messages now, there is no reason that you should be sending generic communications to your constituent base via e-mail communications. While the audience is savvy enough to know that you aren’t sitting at your computer typing out an email in Outlook just to them, you should give them information that they care about and that is relevant to their reasons for supporting your organization in the first place.Understand why someone already supports your organization and speak to that.
  • 1 billion people live on less than $1 dollar per day4 billion on between $365 and $1500 per yearAbout 1.5 billion between $1500 and $20,000And about 100 million on over $20,000
  • 1 billion people live on less than $1 dollar per day4 billion on between $365 and $1500 per yearAbout 1.5 billion between $1500 and $20,000And about 100 million on over $20,000