Rewriting the Rules of Donor Engagement


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Rewriting the Rules of Donor Engagement.
5 Ways Nonprofits Can
Leverage Social CRM to Drive Interaction & Relevance

Published in: Business, Technology
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Rewriting the Rules of Donor Engagement

  1. 1. RewritingtheRules ofDonorEngagemenT 5Ways Nonprofits Can Leverage Social CRM to Drive Interaction & Relevance
  2. 2. 2 Imagine a typical donor within your organization or association — let’s call him John Jones. Where is Mr. Jones spending time these days? Whether it is a workday or a weekend, on a desktop computer or a smartphone, at home or on the go, you’ll likely find him somewhere in the vast, frontier-like universe of social media. He may be commenting on a news story, watching a video, sharing a photo, posting a status update or participating in a host of other activities, but these days, according to Nielsen Research, social media accounts for at least a quarter of Mr. Jones’ time spent online or using a mobile device. With Facebook on track to hit 1 billion donors this summer, 100 million currently tweeting on Twitter, and LinkedIn connecting 150 million professionals, Mr. Jones’ social media activities should come as no surprise to association professionals. It’s clear that a strong majority of people of all ages and backgrounds now interact with their personal connections and professional network through a variety of web-based and mobile social networks, as well as blogs, gaming platforms and community forums. In addition, people can choose their interactions based on what is relevant to them — where they live, who they know, what their interests are and what their priorities are in the moment. So what does that mean for nonprofits and other donor-based organizations, which want to stay engaged on many levels with Mr. Jones — both in terms of interactions as well as relevance? Social media certainly provides powerful opportunities to send donor engagement soaring, thanks to the natural connections arising out of posting, sharing, linking and “liking.” But in order to best take advantage of these new ways to develop a two-way dialogue with your donors and boost their loyalty to the organization, you’ll need to develop a strong, clear strategy. That strategy needs to help you navigate this new social universe as well as integrate it into your current constituent relationship management efforts. That’s because the rules guiding the “relationship” part of CRM, or constituent relationship management, have fundamentally changed — for good. And donors such as Mr. Jones are the ones writing the new rules of this ever-evolving game.
  3. 3. 3 Nonprofits are changing — thanks, most of all, to the changing attitudes, needs and desires of its donors. Today’s active donor wants to engage with their organization on their own terms, based on their needs at the moment, as opposed to the passive participants of the past, who simply opened their mailboxs or email inboxes to receive the latest message. The rise of social media has put donors in the driver’s seat when it comes to engagement — they can speak up when they want, share thoughts with others, or opt-out of any connection. Traditional “push” and “pull” marketing and communications tactics are no longer enough to connect with donors. Simply measuring and analyzing donor engagement through their transactions will mean you miss many valuable opportunities to gauge connections, encourage participation and build long-term, two-way relationships. Instead, if you want more from your donors, you must connect with them where they are and how they want — in a personalized, relevant way. Furthermore, donors also want to be able to interact with others who have similar interests within the communities and organizations they participate in. They assume you will be aware of the conversations happening about your organization in the social sphere and that you will respond promptly to what is being said — again, in a personalized, relevant way. Sounds like a whole lot of effort, right? However, if you invest the time, energy and expense to develop authentic, real-time interaction and engagement with donors through social media, you will get a significant return. First of all, your donors will be more likely to engage in various ways that count — including renewing donorships, attending events, spreading the word about important issues and contributing to your group’s overall mission. In addition, you’ll have the chance to build the kind of long-term loyalty that leads to organizational growth and boosts bottom-line results when it comes to education, networking, fundraising and the exclusive donorship community value that all nonprofits strive for. That can make your efforts a worthwhile win-win. Developing Authentic Engagement
  4. 4. 4 All of the above leads to what has become an inarguable fact: Getting on the social media bandwagon is no longer a “maybe-we-should” option for nonprofits and other donor-based organizations. Instead, it is a “must- do.” Simply put, those that don’t will be left behind by the progressive ones working to meet their donors’ current wants and needs. However, taking advantage of the potential of this new, “social” donor isn’t just about slapping a page up on Facebook or Twitter or posting daily on LinkedIn or Pinterest. Over the past few years, nonprofits and organizations have experimented in different social media environments, but now, it’s clear that social media tools need to be used more thoughtfully and strategically, through the gathering, measurement and analysis of social data, in order to provide a clear donor view that is useful and actionable. That has led to the rise of “Social” CRM. In the same way that traditional CRM has been used to manage an organization’s interactions and relevant relationships with donors through data gathering and analysis, campaign automation and customer service support, a comprehensive Social CRM strategy is essential in order to integrate and evaluate social data (ranging from social media profile information and logging social inquiry responses to keyword tracking and social conversation monitoring). It offers valuable feedback that can help inform future decisions about brand-building, recruitment and marketing messaging. By using the right tools and tactics, combined with an organization-wide, donor-centric philosophy, an organization can use Social CRM to provide a clear understanding of what donors need, which in turn can inform decisions that drive long-term loyalty and increased engagement. The Rise Of Social CRM Getting on the social media bandwagon is no longer a “maybe-we-should” option for nonprofits and other donor-based organizations. Instead, it is a “must-do.”
  5. 5. 5 Social CRM is already becoming an essential piece in the entire constituent relationship management puzzle: MarketingSherpa, a research firm and online resource, reports that integrating social data into CRM systems is an emerging practice that is becoming instrumental to companies and organizations of all sizes and across industries. According to analyst firm Gartner, the worldwide social customer relationship management (CRM) market is forecast to reach over $1 billion in revenue by the end of 2012, up from approximately $625 million in 2010. But Social CRM is not just about technology. At its heart, it is a philosophy that is, in turn, supported by the right technology tools and tactics. According to William Band, an analyst at Forrester Research who writes regularly about these topics, the most important issue facing today’s companies and organizations is “determining whom you’re trying to reach, what you’re trying to accomplish, and how you plan to change your relationships with your customers.” The good news is, donor-based nonprofits already have real relationships with their constituents and any social efforts to increase interaction and relevance are really just an extension of that core mission. Social CRM takes a broad, holistic view of the donor-organization relationship and is designed to encourage a collaborative conversation that is mutually beneficial and evolves over time. The more you can learn about your donors and how they want to be communicated with through the many layers of social data, the more you can anticipate their needs and work to meet them. This can drive donor engagement through social platforms, providing additional social data, fostering more data analysis, and on and on through a layered, evolving, long-term relationship. An Era Of Collaborative Conversation Social CRM takes a broad, holistic view of the donor-organization relationship and is designed to encourage a collaborative conversation that is mutually beneficial and evolves over time.
  6. 6. 6 So how can your organization leverage Social CRM toward increasing donor engagement? These are five ways to turn your current constituent relationship management efforts into social success: 1. Manage the donor lifecycle. Traditionally, the typical donor lifecycle was linear and predictable. Let’s go back to the imaginary donor John Jones: In the standard model, Mr. Jones would be recruited into the organization and efforts would be made to retain his donorship, market to him and interact with him regularly. The success of that effort would be based on and measured through transactions: Have we asked for a contribution to an annual fund drive? Has he registered for the autumn auction or the holiday party? From a traditional constituent relationship management standpoint, as long as you supported, managed and fostered that transactional-based lifecycle, you enjoyed donorship success. Today, however, the donor lifecycle is no longer linear or predictable — it is messy, multi-pronged and may seem difficult to measure. Mr. Jones may not respond to emails, but is connected to your Facebook Fan page. How do you distinguish that kind of communication? He has spoken up on Twitter, shared photos of your last event on Flickr and he is “friends” with other donors, but how will you know that if you only measure donor engagement by his traditional transactions? Also, how can you make sure your interactions with Mr. Jones are relevant based on his interests and where he spends his time? You may recognize social media as a way to increase relevance, but without the right social data you can’t take advantage of the opportunity. Through gathering and analyzing social data and layering it onto traditional data streams, organizations now have the chance to engage with donors on their terms in an ongoing, meaningful, relevant way. Problems that might have gone unnoticed through traditional channels can now be highlighted and dealt with immediately through social media — and analyzed for future reference and action. None of this would be possible if you weren’t willing to meet your donors where they are in the social space, and use the social data to build a meaningful dialogue throughout the donor’s evolving lifecycle. 2. Increase participation via a
  7. 7. 7 dedicated community. Donor-based organizations are unique in that there is a strong common bond that ties the donorship together — a thread that tends to bind participants together closer than, say, fans of big brands such as The GAP or Trader Joe’s. How can you harness that powerful connection between donors, as well as between those donors and the organization? A private, dedicated online community offers a singular opportunity to increase participation in ways an outside network cannot. You control the look and feel, the messaging and the access. You can observe, analyze and sometimes steer the conversation to resolve issues. You can add value in terms of what is relevant to your donors instead of letting outside social networks control the conversation, the commerce and the data. For donors, a private, “gated” community offers them the opportunity to participate in a smaller, password-protected environment, while you can improve their donor experience by easily being responsive and transparent. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming prospect to build a dedicated community from the ground up. The right technology tools can help you easily set up and maintain a private space that drives social data right to a single dashboard. Nonprofits are facing a relevance crisis. Including yours. Do something about it. DonorFuse™ , an online community and professional networking solution, unlocks your network’s true potential and is your organization’s own social networking website where you control the look, messaging, community and group access based on donor data stored in your database. Engagement: Give your donors a way to engage with each other and the association from anywhere 24/7. It’s YOUR Community: Not Facebook or LinkedIn. You get the benefit of being the community owner, including the rights to potential advertising dollars. Internal vs. External: The social web can be a risky place. With a DonorFuse community, you remove some of the risk. Give yourself a home field advantage. You set the agenda. You control the topics. Relevance: Your donors zero-in on what’s most important to them and follow those topics. Individualized: Your donors configure their own personalized community dashboard and email alerts. On-demand Knowledge: Your organization’s answer to Google, Twitter and LinkedIn. Official association content and donor-generated content exist side- by-side, giving donors 24/7 access to organization vetted information and peer- to-peer knowledge. And it’s all easily findable with site-wide search. Collaboration: Give committees, task forces, special interest groups and communities of practice their own online group collaboration spaces to organize their work, develop documents, organize events, share resources, take polls and hold discussions.
  8. 8. 8 3. Provide new networking models. A dedicated, donor-only community can be considered a significant benefit by a donor — a value-added experience all its own. Here, the relationship is not just between you and your donors, but between the donors themselves; creating not just a dialogue between the constituents and the organization, but a layered, multi-directional communication where you interact with your donors, they interact with you, and they interact with each other. And in all those directions, the communications become personalized and relevant to your donor’s specific needs and wants. Thanks to new social tools, this is a new model of networking that highlights your donors and the relationships between them as your most valuable asset. You don’t need to give that value away to an outsider — instead, you can offer a safe space for your donors to connect and collaborate by sharing documents, discussing opinions, and networking. At the same time, the social community becomes integrated with the organization’s CRM database, allowing the opportunity for ongoing analysis, measurement and reporting — which helps you stay relevant to donors, offer targeted and pertinent information, and anticipate their future needs. The social community becomes integrated with the organization’s CRM database, allowing the opportunity for ongoing analysis, measurement and reporting.
  9. 9. 9 4. Monitor the conversations taking place on social channels. Haven’t you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during an important conversation? Well, more and more of your donors’ interactions are taking place on social media platforms. Don’t let them happen without you — because today’s donors are savvy and they want you to be aware of what is going on. Serving your constituents is central to your future. By monitoring social comments and interactions, you can be more personalized in your response, and your donors will be better served over the long haul. Whether those social conversations happen peer-to-peer or donor- to-organization doesn’t really matter — you still need to know about them in order to respond in the most relevant way. Just think about folks who post complaints on Twitter or Facebook: They may not go straight to the company to complain. Instead, they might sound off to their friends and connections. You want to be aware of that peer- to-peer communication, so you can respond promptly and efficiently. The same is true if they do reach out to your organization through social media outlets; you want to be there to meet their needs and then keep track of and analyze those interactions going forward. Capture compelling data with one dynamic tool. The Avectra Social Console, a Social Media Management System (SMMS), combines tools for listening, engaging, publishing and scheduling with powerful analytics in one robust tool. Using a SMMS that integrates with your CRM unlocks a powerful new level of understanding about the preferences, attitudes and engagement of your donors, prospects and other stakeholders. Benefits include: • Track down lapsed donors who have moved on to a new address but failed to notify your organization. • Discover prospective donors, donors, advertisers, sponsors, authors and speakers. • Monitor your annual convention’s social media buzz, allowing you to make adjustments on the fly if necessary. • Attach social content to donor records and discover which stakeholders are advocates or detractors. • Create your own scoring system, enabling you to determine who are the most influential in your organization’s social media environment. • Record social media interactions between donors and staff like you would record a customer service call, • Decide how to engage with a new and growing LinkedIn group that is critical of your organization.
  10. 10. 10 5. Automate & measure donor engagement. The sheer amount of social data, as well as the vast amount of social sources, can seem overwhelming when it comes to measurement and analysis. But what if you could consolidate all of that donor information into one single dashboard, and produce a single score based on qualitative and quantitative analysis, which is easily visible and simple to decipher? What if resulting responses and campaigns could be automated and triggered to handle various donor questions, problems or communications? Your staff executives and board of directors will likely sit back in their chairs with wide smiles — happy with the increased focus on the bottom line, boosted efficiency and cost- savings, and freed-up resources for other projects. That is the power behind today’s Social CRM technology — the ability to consolidate and measure social data, combine it with traditional CRM data, and turn it into personalized, relevant information that can be measured and shared easily and quickly with the organization and with donors, both to use now and for future decision-making purposes. Avectra’s proprietary A-Score™ measures the engagement level of individuals and organizations on an ongoing basis, providing qualitative insight for calculating and measuring the health of your constituents, your services and your overall business. By distilling the ever-increasing amounts of data available about your donors into the A-Score, It is the ultimate tool to enhance, optimize and automate new and existing programs and services to encourage engagement and fuel the success of your organization. “Imagine the ability to determine if and how donor engagement correlates with the success of your organization and the individual success of your donors? The A-Score confirms that nonprofits help donors succeed and that their programs are working — just the validation nonprofits are seeking with their donors and to fuel future organization growth. That is the power of A-Score.” —Patrick Dorsey, Avectra, Vice President of marketing
  11. 11. 11 Conclusion There’s no doubt that the world of social media can be overwhelming, with new sites popping up all the time and confusing tools requiring time and effort to decipher. It can be scary to make decisions surrounding unproven platforms when it feels like you’re just figuring out last month’s big trend. Still, you have to start somewhere, and you can start slow, with trusted tools and tactics that move you in the right direction. With the right Social CRM strategies, you can accomplish some very concrete objectives to meet your goals of increasing donor engagement: You can recognize and reward donors who influence others in the social sphere, for example. You can reach out to donors at-risk of leaving the organization. You can recruit potential donors by building budding relationships in social spaces. You can be aware of trends and topics donors are currently discussing. And, you can better target and automate marketing messages that reach the right donors at the right times. Social CRM is not just about content, it’s about developing conversations that grow and evolve and transform into long-term relationships. Then, it’s about using feedback from social data to make decisions about how to improve donor service. It’s a layered and ultimately circular effort that is based on a simple, straightforward philosophy. Certainly, nonprofits have had to evolve as their donors have changed and the overall universe of engagement has changed thanks to social media. But the basic foundation and principles of what you want to accomplish remains the same: You want to improve and increase donor engagement. You want to build and boost long-term loyalty. While you need to tread carefully when it comes to new social trails, you want to take your organization toward a successful, growth-oriented future. Social CRM can help you stay true to your organization’s values and overall mission, while still moving with the times, without fear, into the new and exciting social frontier. Mr. Jones, and your other active donors, will thank you with trust, communication, long-term loyalty and ongoing engagement. But the basic foundation and principles of what you want to accomplish remains the same: You want to improve and increase donor engagement. You want to build and boost long-term loyalty.
  12. 12. 12 Follow Patrick on Twitter @PatrickFDorsey For almost 20 years, Avectra has translated the business needs of nonprofits, not-for-profits and donor-based organizations into market-leading software and award-winning services. We automate your business, so you can focus on serving your donors. And with Avectra Social CRM and an array of social business solutions, our mission is simple: Enable organizations to engage both internal and external audiences in more sophisticated, relevant and transparent relationships to promote advocacy, community and action while driving business value. Headquarters 7901 Jones Branch Drive Suite 500 McLean, VA 22102 Phone (703) 506-7000 Fax (703) 506-7001 Patrick Dorsey is Avectra’s vice-president of Marketing and is responsible for the company’s worldwide marketing, including demand generation, product marketing and corporate communications. Asked to describe his role in 140 characters, he replied: Build great products, relentlessly focus on customer success & create an army of Avectra evangelists. Unapologetically Purple. Patrick has published articles with Marketing Profs, Destination CRM, Direct Marketing News and numerous association- and nonprofit-industry publications. A member of the American Society of Association Executives, he writes and speaks about constituent relationship management (CRM) , donorship and the role of data management, analytics and social technology in the nonprofit community and society.