The Seamless Donor Experience

Written by Megan Brown 

 Marketing Director | Fortify Foundation  

If you want to be successful in marketing, you must first grasp what I would consider the most foundational principle: relationships. Whether you are selling a product, offering a service, or in our case, fundraising, establishing and maintaining strong relationships with your audience is key to finding success. The more you are in front of your donors, the more they are going to give. We want to create content that moves away from being impersonal, urgent, and transactional, and instead focuses on being relational, important, and impactful. Your goal should be to create a seamless donor experience. Starting at their first interaction with you to the moment they make a donation and beyond. 

So how do you create this seamless donor experience? It is created through a marketing strategy that utilizes your website, print materials, email marketing, social media, events, and personal visits. The seamless donor experience starts with building awareness, followed by more intentional investments in getting to know your donors face to face. Bridging the gap between marketing and personal meetings involves engagement strategies that focus on capturing the eye of the donor. Be sure to utilize custom 

designs for any materials you create that include information on how you can give, what you can give, donor stories, and always include a “Call to Action” or CTA that explains how to contact you or leads your donors directly to an online giving portal. When setting up a personal meeting, remember that this is your time to cultivate the relationship.

Don’t just talk, but ask questions, learn what your donor is passionate about, what stage they are at in life and how this might affect their giving. A fundraiser’s best skill is matching their donor’s needs with the best giving options for them. Take into consideration who your audience is. Are they loyal donors who have already given to your school in the past? Are they faculty/staff, alumni, family members, or impacted community? What age range do they fall into? If they are in their early 40s, they are most likely just starting to set up their first will and may consider adding a bequest to your fund. If they are 70 and 1/2+, they may be interested in an IRA rollover to receive a break on taxes. When you take the time to truly get to know your donors in this way, you create an opportunity for them to join in on your mission in a way that is unique to their passions and stage in life. 

The same mentality applies to event fundraising. The focus is still on relationships. Reach out to personally thank anyone who donates something to your event (i.e. silent auction items, catering, decorations, etc). Many people also forget to reach out to their event attendees until it comes time to plan the next event. This can be a huge missed opportunity. Be sure to stay in contact with those who attend over the several months following your event. Send them a thank you card, give them a call, and/or add them to your mailing list. You may even ask them to become a volunteer. Continue building the relationships long after your event takes place. You may have heard the saying,  “The giving business is the people business.”

Everything in fundraising is centered around people and making impact. A fundraiser works in sales. I know this may sound a bit outlandish, but the question to answer is, “What are they selling?” Even in simple product sales, this is a hard question to answer. Imagine someone is selling brooms. People don’t actually want a broom, what they want is a clean floor. What drives the sale is not the product itself, but the benefit. How does this apply to fundraising? Fundraisers are selling the mission. The cause. Sponsorships. Impact. And what is the benefit of these things to a donor? Enhanced identity. If a donor makes a private donation, there’s internal meaning. If they make a public donation, it’s an external reputation. Fundraising allows you to advance the donor’s legacy and story. You are taking their original identity, giving them a challenge, and allowing the opportunity for them to find victory in helping overcome that challenge.

At Fortify Foundation, we want to help our partners create the perfect seamless donor experience. Through custom-created marketing materials, pre-written emails, social media graphics, and event planning support, our goal is to come alongside our partners with the support and encouragement to create a unique marketing strategy that fits their unique school and community. We want to see our partnered schools thriving and building strong donor relationships that last. If you would like to learn more about how Fortify can serve your school, contact us today! If you are a partner, reach out to have us create a custom marketing plan for the 2022-2023 school year!