Donor experience is a crucial part of fundraising relationship building. It’s the sum of all the touchpoints, content, and interactions your donors have as a donor. Most nonprofits are good at the short-term donor experience, which is really the transactional part of giving. But what about the beyond the transaction? What grade would you give your nonprofit?
If you aren’t grading your nonprofit at the A+ level yet, let’s get to work and build your plan to level up donor experience.
The transaction experience is just one part
The transaction experience includes you sending a fundraising ask, your donor making their gift, and then you sending a receipt. Any nonprofiteer would agree that there's so much more to the nonprofit-donor relationship, yet this transaction is often conflated for the full donor experience.
When it comes to improving the transaction experience, here are some considerations:
- What do donors see on your donation confirmation page? Are they sent to a custom thank you page or a standard thank you page? Does the confirmation's copy and content reflect the campaign messaging and your nonprofit's unique voice? Is there something engaging or sharable on the thank you page?
- What do donors receive within one hour of donating? It's very likely that they are receiving a thank you email. Use this email as an engagement opportunity by offering donors actions they can take, like checking out an impact story or sharing their donation on social media.
- What do donors receive within one day of donating? If the answer's nothing, you might want to reevaluate that choice. Donors are never as engaged as they are right after they make a donation. Within a day or two, you could send follow-up communication to expand engagement.
- What do donors receive within one week of donating? If you mail a thank you letter or tax receipt, donors are probably receiving this within 7 to 14 days. What can you do to make this piece of mail more special?
Build a donor experience journey
Because you’re immersed in executing your fundraising program, it’s easy to get removed from the experience of what it’s like to give to your nonprofit. To reconnect with this part and get intentional about it, I recommend building a donor experience journey. This helps you see everything your donors are receiving or viewing during and after the donation.
If you’re not sure what your current donor experience journey looks like, make a donation to your nonprofit and at each step make a note of what you’re receiving or viewing.
Once you’ve recorded your current donor experience journey, consider ways you can improve it. These improvements might be changing existing points on the journey, like the thank you page, or it might be adding in new points, like a stewardship email three days after their donation.
As you consider new points of contact on your donor experience journey, make it a point to make it multichannel if it’s not already. Meaning, try something outside of just direct mail or email. Can you shout out donors on social media? Add them to your newsletter?
Tech can improve the donor experience journey
There are some seriously amazing features that many commonly used tech tools offer—and a lot of us don't put them to good use. Here are a few of my must-haves for donor experience.
Recent donation automation emails
Within your emailing platform, set up a sequence of emails to start going out to donors as soon as they’ve made a donation. I like to do an email immediately after the donation, an email two days after the donation, an email seven days after the donation, and an email fourteen days after the donation. In total, that’s four emails over two weeks. This might seem like a high volume of emails, but donors are highly engaged after a recent donation, and now is the time to keep them engaged with great content.
Custom content based on recent activity
Most email tools will also allow you to track what action your subscribers take on your website. For instance, when they visit and how long they visit. You can build automated email sequences that are triggered when a subscriber or donor visits a certain page on your website. This will provide content tailored to recent interests and activity, and ultimately customize their experience.
Some donors are legit stoked about making a donation to your organization and would probably share about it on social if you asked them. On your donation thank you page, test shareable content and graphics to encourage social media sharing and engagement. This is also a great way to find your donors on social and engage with them there.