As nonprofit organizations strive to find new and better ways to generate online donor engagement, those that have discovered the power of Inbound Marketing are reaping the rewards. Organizations are re-inventing the traditional buyer’s journey to create a Donor Centric JourneyTM which provides improved online engagement experiences that yield results -- experiences that traditionally have started just with email.
For corporations, the buyer’s journey reflects the stages that a prospective buyer would travel as they seek to solve a need and buy a good or service from a company. Since most donation driven organizations are not selling goods or services, the buyer’s journey is better represented as Donor Centric JourneyTM, one which serves to outline the path that a website visitor takes to get cause related information and the journey that visitor takes to get and stay engaged with an organization, to the point where they donate one or more times.
Utilizing an inbound methodology, nonprofit organizations are shifting from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more personalized approach to donor engagement, which focuses on people, how they relate to the organization’s cause, and which takes advantage of technology to support the most viable approaches to encouraging a donation.
In nonprofit organizations, the inbound movement is a result of employees striving to take advantage of technology and industry best practices to positively affect change and improve donor engagement. Utilizing an inbound methodology to serve prompt donations is an efficient and cost effective approach in a some-to-many engagement environment -- where donors have come to expect nonprofit organizations to adapt to new technologies and keep pace with innovation.
The stages of an inbound methodology for nonprofits are outlined above. As strangers, we seek to engage nonprofits based on causes we care about -- We are “Strangers”. At any point that we begin to experience a desire to learn more about or get engaged in a cause, we typically begin to search for information or articles -- We move to the “Visitor” stage.
Once we find a nonprofit that aligns with our cause, we engage that nonprofit through some form of communication. Using an inbound methodology we would likely fill out a form or download some content -- We become a “Lead”. In the case of a form requesting information, the form data would be routed internally within the organization to direct us either to cause related content we desire or to an individual who will follow up with us. The nonprofit will nurture the Visitor to further drive engagement, participation, and donation(s). Form and engagement data may be routed through simple or complex workflows depending on the nature of the request or interest, and data may be routed using email or a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software system such as Salesforce.com. Once properly routed, we receive the cause related information and nurturing until the nonprofit is successful in achieving a donation -- We become the “Donor". With the proper response, follow up and nurturing, we become a “Promoter” who will communicate experiences to friends, family, co-workers and others. Promoters are your delighted donors who help you drive additional donations based on the great experience they have with the nonprofit.
Nonprofits that utilize an inbound methodology spend time thinking about how to delight their Visitors, Leads, Donors and Promoters. They build content to attract Strangers who share their cause. They create user-friendly web and mobile experiences to invite Strangers and Visitors to engage with them and they manage their Leads with smart content and great experiences throughout simple and complex workflows to ensure they are providing excellent information and experiences -- and living up to the promise of their cause. Perhaps most important however, nonprofits that subscribe to an inbound methodology are monitoring their effectiveness and seeking ways to constantly improve and provide a more Donor Centric JourneyTM.