DonorVoice Point of View Document - Do You Really Know Your Constituents?


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A short narrative on how the non profit sector needs to create a new set of best practices, borrowing from the commercial sector where appropriate, to better measure and manage the constituent relationship.

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DonorVoice Point of View Document - Do You Really Know Your Constituents?

  1. 1. Do You Really Know Your Constituents?In the commercial world the most successful businesses are obsessed with understanding customer needs,motivations and preferences. They align their brand and products to the customer segments they can mostprofitably service. As a result, they can rattle off answers to key questions like these; • Why do customers like my product? • What is it about my brand that motivates customers to keep buying from me? • Are customers really committed to my products/services or are they making decisions based on something else? • Which of my customers are most likely to continue buying and which ones are at risk of defection?How many nonprofits can answer these same questions about their donors or other constituents? Why bother you ask?Living In The PastFor years nonprofit marketers and fundraisers have relied almost exclusively on transactions to determineloyalty, audience segmentation, marketing messages, etc. Constituent insights are inferred, sporadic andrarely connected to planning and execution.This set of so-called “best” practices occurs against the backdrop of everyone acknowledging the significantissues with acquisition; namely costs going up, yields going down and retention; namely not enough of it.In short, the increasingly expensive, newly-acquired donor has little motivation to stay and yet the financialargument for holding on to donors is well known. It can cost up to 10 times as much to bring in a new donor askeep an existing one, and it takes, on average, 18 months for a new donor to cover the cost of acquisition.Said another way, unless you have a specific plan to keep a newly acquired donor on the file for at least twoyears then your organization, its mission and programs would be better served by not even bothering to seeka donor’s initial contribution.The old set of best practices must be replaced with the new to have any hope of cracking the retention code.The sector is well served by looking to the commercial world where that new set of best practices is alreadybeing written.
  2. 2. The Commitment ConnectionThe path to improvement includes, among other things, measuring and managing donor attitudes with thesame bottom line focus used to measure and manage donors’ transactional behavior.Simply put, impacting attitudes is the key to retention because attitudes dictate behavior AND attitudes arewhat an organization directly controls and impacts with its communication, marketing, fundraising andservice level actions.Little known to most practitioners it is the measurable Commitment level of donors –not the appealsschedule, or copy or state of the economy--that dictates or triggers donor behaviors. That’s whyCommitment, not transactional history, is the most important leading indicator or predictor of futurebehavior.The advantages of measuring and steering Commitment don’t stop there. It is the measure of Commitmentthat also separates your donors into addressable stewardship segments as a way to better allocate marketingspend and increase the efficiency of moving donors to the top of the pyramid in ways not possible withconventional RFM or constituent type classifications.Best of all, Commitment is directly influenced by actions the organization takes. By identifying specific actionsthat improve—or erode—Commitment an organization, through its communications, donor services andbranding can steer a clear –and measurable – course toward higher commitment and higher donor value.DonorVoice provides the tools, guidance and insight necessary to start measuring and managing DonorCommitment in order to increase the key attitudes and behaviors driving the bottom line. We have proventhat every donor stewarded from Low Commitment to High Commitment results in an average increase of131% in giving.Even better news—posting dramatic improvement in net income DOES NOT require new investments inyour marketing and fundraising budgets. What it does require is a new, constituent-centric framework withretention as the key goal.The DonorVoice ApproachImportantly, our approach recognizes that measuring Commitment and deriving critical, constituent levelinsights into how to improve the relationship is simply not enough. Dramatic and measurable retention andincome improvement require greater coordination across functional areas and some reallocation or focus ofexisting resources. In short, it requires doing business differently by managing your biggest financial asset, thedonors, for the long-term with specific financial projections and key performance metrics to evaluate andcalibrate along the way.
  3. 3. Through the DonorVoice Experience &Relationship Management Approach,nonprofits not only get access to themost important and proven indicator ofvalue - The Commitment Model - butalso a process explicitly designed to putthe insights into practice, the Experienceand Contact-Point Mapping Tool.Through these two steps, nonprofits cantake charge of and steer their futureincome and sustainability.• The DonorVoice Commitment Study to measure the levels of Commitment across key, constituent segments and identify the key experiences across your marketing, communications, fundraising and donor service areas that will positively impact Commitment (and by extension, those that do not).• Experience & Contact-Point Mapping to visually and dynamically capture the current experience provided to constituents by consolidating campaign calendars and contact-points in a planning tool built exclusively for this purpose. Further, the tool accommodates the flagging of those contact-points and experiences that increase Commitment and the pain points detracting from the relationship.
  4. 4. Through these two practical, measurable steps, nonprofits are in a perfect position to not just SEE whatexperiences are currently being served “when”, “how” and “why” but to implement changes across multipleprograms and channels to move from the “current” to “desired” experience guided by the lens ofCommitment and the specific experiences that matter to the constituent and the bottom-line.Call or email a DonorVoice Partner now to schedule a one-hour briefing and demo of the Commitment Modeland Experience and Touchpoint Mapping tool.Better retention through better constituent relationships is possible but only if there is a systematic andproven way to measure, manage and lead the change required to bring deliver it.DonorVoice can start helping you get there, today.Please contact any DonorVoice partner to schedule a briefing,Angie Moore, amoore@thedonorvoice.comKevin Schulman, kschulman@thedonorvoice.comJosh Whichard,