Primed wins FIA award for ‘Most Innovative Campaign’

Primed wins FIA award for ‘Most Innovative Campaign’

The LemonTree team is beyond excited to announce, that our end-to-end engagement solution, Primed, is the winner of the ‘Most Innovative Campaign’ award, at the recent Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) Awards for Excellence in Fundraising. 

Together with our Primed partners, ConversrMore Impact, and Cornucopia Fundraising, we have collaborated our unique services and created a multi-stage engagement solution, designed to assist fundraisers in finding the huge untapped potential sitting on their databases.

 

How Primed helped Bush Heritage Australia connect meaningfully with their donors 

We worked closely with Bush Heritage Australia, an independent not-for-profit that buys and manages land, and also partners with Aboriginal people, to conserve our magnificent landscapes and irreplaceable native species forever, to identify where they could potentially grow their existing regular giving base.

Bush Heritage Australia wanted to actively engage with people in a way that went deeper than just getting their details, then making a phone call and expecting people to commit to their cause.

Step 1: The LemonTree team, started by auditing and consolidating a wide range of dormant donors and leads that most charities have typically given up on. Then through best practice hygiene techniques and leveraging LemonTree’s large collaborative insights universe, we were able to identify the most contactable donors. Finally, with machine learning, our unique collaborative propensity models identified the most likely donors to be regular givers to Bush Heritage Australia.

Step 2: This is where More Impact and Conversr stepped in, to design the customised multi-channel engagement journey, informed by behavioural economics.

Step 3: From here, 24,000 people were put through a three-step engagement journey using Conversr’s SMS and email platforms. The idea was to educate people around Bush Heritage Australia’s purpose, give them a gift (which was a downloadable calendar full of beautiful images of wildlife and bush landscapes) and finally, ask them for their opinion on what Bush Heritage Australia does and why, through a short survey.

It’s been really beneficial for our organisation so far in terms of the number of regular givers that we’ve generated and the outcomes, but also the fact that we’ve engaged so many people in such a positive way and that helps to make sure they keep on giving.

Matt Small

Regular Giving Manager, Bush Heritage Australia

At LemonTree, we believe the most powerful relationships are founded on human connection. One person, engaging with another, over time. Something so simple, but it can translate into loyalty that lasts a lifetime.

The power of relationships

The power of relationships

If the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that donor-centricity has really taken off around the globe. However, as Adrian Sargeant, renowned author, Fundraising Professor and co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy asks in his recent blog post, how far have we really come?

Whilst some charities are doing ground-breaking work, too many are merely swapping out a few keywords in their communications, ticking a non-existent donor-centric box and hoping for the best.

Why is this?

Well, according to Sargeant:

“Because the metrics organisations use to assess fundraising are still all about the money. Very few charities measure the quality of the donor experience, and how giving makes donors feel or contributes to their sense of wellbeing. Almost no-one rewards their fundraisers for improvements in any of these latter relationship metrics, so financial measures continue to dominate.”

As detailed in our recent publication, The Donor-Centricity e-Book, we believe that donor-centricity is the ongoing dedication to increasing the depth and breadth of your donor understanding, so you can connect more meaningfully, collaborate more effectively, and – most importantly – genuinely care for your donors in order to create ongoing value exchange, build trust and increase loyalty.

By continually seeking to understand your donors, you gain insights that can be used not simply to tailor your communication, but also to adapt your engagement efforts, provide a more positive donor experience, and demonstrate to your donors that they are at the heart of your entire organisation. This builds trust and loyalty – the critical foundations of any lasting, sustainable relationship.

How do we know this?

Because we’ve seen it before in the commercial world, with our parent company Marketsoft.

Whether we’re a customer or donor, a positive experience makes us feel good and – as humans – we are motivated to act based on how we feel. We tend to make decisions based on emotion, then find a way to justify that decision based on logic.

To deliver the best customer experience and earn a sustainable competitive advantage, businesses need to earn trust and build loyalty by adopting a customer-centric approach. They do this by:

  1. Understanding what their customers want, need, like, dislike, hope, fear and value at each stage of their life;
  2. Infusing these customer insights across all their business functions to help shape decisions;
  3. Creating a unique and ongoing value exchange for their customers;
  4. Engaging in open, honest and transparent two-way conversations with their customers, across many different channels; and
  5. Empowering customers to interact with their brand on their own terms.

This same applies to not-for-profits looking to generate sustainable giving, you need to earn trust and build loyalty by adopting a donor-centric approach.

Sustainable giving will only ever come from sustainable relationships, and therein lies the source of donor-centric gap. Too many organisations underestimate the power of building and nurturing meaningful relationships. Instead, they measure fundraising teams purely on the literal sense of the word.

But fundraising’s true power comes not from focusing on the dollar, but from focusing on the relationship between donor, charity and beneficiary. If an organisation can keep their focus on the donor, on finding ways to forge genuine connections, of caring for them whether they are giving or not; if they can listen and learn from their donors; if they can involve them in decision-making, and if they can make them feel heard, recognised and a valued member of the ‘family’, then trust and loyalty will follow.

So, yes, we’ve come a long way on the journey to donor-centricity, but there’s still a long way for organisations to go, especially when it comes to where their priorities lie.

“Let’s focus instead on what we ourselves are well placed to do best; the building of deeper, more fulfilling relationships, that can grow the human capacity to love others. That should be the real purpose of fundraising.”

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If you’re guiding your organisation towards donor-centricity, you’re not alone! We invite you to join our FREE donor-centric community and learn from your peers, share the successes (and the failures!) and together we can grow sustainable giving in Australia.

Donor Relationship Stage 2: Welcome Me – ft. Lauren McDermott

Donor Relationship Stage 2: Welcome Me – ft. Lauren McDermott

Continuing with our 8-part blog series reviewing the different stages of the donor relationship, this blog delves into donor relationship stage 2: Welcome Me.

After hearing her passionately speak on the subject at one of our Donor Centricity Collective events, we asked Lauren McDermott, Fundraising Manager – Donor Development at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research to share her thoughts and experiences on the “most exciting donor stage for all fundraisers” and an “incredible opportunity for innovation and discovery”……

As fundraisers, we often liken the ‘Welcome Me’ stage of a donor’s journey to the honeymoon stage of a romantic relationship. Whilst there are many commonalities – the setting of expectations, taking time to get to know and understand each other, the building of trust – there is a striking difference.

When giving their first gift, our donors have usually just responded to a single call to action, crafted to feel as urgent and unavoidable as we can possibly make it. We shouldn’t be too quick to assume then, that this equates to any sort of commitment or loyalty. We are not side-by-side in a getaway car trailing cans.

The donor welcome journey is a tool used to increase the likelihood of a second gift and, if done well, a third and fourth before progressing over time into our pillar programs as a monthly giver, a major donor or leaving a gift in their will.

Whilst it sounds simple enough, at the time of writing this, I find that best practice welcome journeys are not easy to come by. Perhaps that’s not surprising given the UK’s Commission on Donor Experience  reports that fundraisers often only pay lip service to thanking and welcoming their donors. This is proven by the fact that more than 90% of the reviewed fundraising materials contained the same sentence – Thank you so much for your kind/generous donation of.The Commission’s report suggested four areas that charities might benefit from reviewing if they want to implement a best-practice welcome for a new supporter.

Being real and authentic

Too often, we use speed as a measure of a good welcome. But taking the time to add a personal touch is just as, if not more, important. It tells donors right from the start that they are heroes to your beneficiaries and that their donations are seen and noticed (no black hole here). It may also break down perceived barriers for future giving by showcasing your friendly supporter care.

Whilst a phone call is one way of thanking a donor, with numerous benefits to both parties, we know handwritten notes, paperclips, videos and plain text email can all convey a similar message – a machine is not thanking you today, a real human is.

Choice-driven communication.

Respecting a donor’s choice and privacy is key to ensuring the relationship is sustainable and long-lasting. But it’s also crucial we have the opportunity to thank people and show them the incredible impact they have had on our cause.

If supporters take the opportunity to opt-out too soon, we can’t give them the most basic psychological return on their investment. It’s a lose/lose.

Having a robust, but functional, preference centre is one step we can take to resolve this. But there is a lot more to be done to have harmonious, engaging and choice-driven communications with your supporters.

Digital matters.

Is digital still an afterthought when it comes to welcoming new donors to your organisation? What if you can’t call them because they don’t have a phone number?

Ensuring we duplicate our offline welcome activities in the online world, in a way that is meaningful and memorable for new supporters coming on from every possible source is important. It is also a great way for us to begin measuring, testing and using data-driven insights to continuously improve the journeys we put in place.

At the Perkins, we use the term ‘automation with heart’ to remind us that tools and technology should be utilised to enhance the donor’s experience first and foremost, not to make things easier for us.

Measuring success.

By far the most important area that needs the urgent focus of our best fundraising minds is how we measure an effective welcome.

The lack of appropriate, accurate and universally adaptable metrics is likely the reason that we underperform in this area of fundraising. From my experience, the current common measures of success are not necessarily the best ones to use for measuring the donor welcome journey:

  • Speed – a quick thank you isn’t always a quality thanks.
  • ROI – leads to short term thinking and a focus on cost-saving. If we don’t thank people for giving small amounts, they don’t understand the impact that giving more could have next time.
  • Second gift rates – are important but not everything. Do people who are welcomed give more? What’s the difference five years on?
  • Lifetime value – extremely difficult to measure for many charities, particularly smaller or less established ones, or to effectively use this to show cause and effect from a single activity.

We know the impact a word or even the font size can have when seeking donations, but when it comes to thanking or welcoming donors, there is still a lot left to be discovered. I think that’s exactly what makes the welcome me stage a very exciting area for all fundraisers with an incredible opportunity for innovation and discovery – I hope you do too.

If you’d like to learn more from Lauren and your fundraising peers, we invite you to join LemonTree’s Donor-Centricity Collective (DCC). Every quarter we host webinars and events with industry speakers, as well as commercial speakers so you learn how to bring commercial best practice into the NFP industry. Learn from your peers – and share your own insights and experiences – through our private social media groups, events and blogs…all for FREE!

It takes a tribe to raise a family and it takes a collective of passionate, like-minded peers to change an industry and help grow sustainable giving in Australiajoin us today.

 

Thank you to Lauren McDermott for sharing her knowledge on the Welcome Me stage in the donor relationship journey.

Previously in this series:

 Next up in this series:

  • Teach Me
  • Grow Me
  • Endear Me
  • Keep Me
  • Renew Me
  • Win Me Back
Donor Relationship Stage 1: Catch Me – ft. Joanne Rogers from The Shepherd Centre

Donor Relationship Stage 1: Catch Me – ft. Joanne Rogers from The Shepherd Centre

As you embark on your journey to donor-centricity, it’s important to understand what stage of the donor relationship you are at with your donors.

Each stage presents its own challenges and opportunities so this 8-part blog series is dedicated to the different stages in an effort to equip you with ideas and inspiration to sustainably nurture and grow your donor relationships.

First up, we have donor relationship stage 1: Catch Me.

This is the stage of courtship. You are marketing yourself amongst a sea of competition, trying to attract and woo a donor by appealing to your similar interests and beliefs.

We asked LemonTree member Joanne Rogers, Senior Individual Giving Manager at The Shepherd Centre to share her experiences of acquiring new donors…

The Shepherd Centre is a registered charity providing a family-centred early intervention program to teach children born deaf or hearing impaired to develop spoken language.

Since 1970, The Shepherd Centre has assisted more than 2,500 children via early intervention Listening and Spoken Language therapy, providing families with assistance to develop their child’s spoken language, so they can unlock their complete potential and participate fully in society.

Premium Direct Mail

From 2011-2015 The Shepherd Centre invested heavily in premium direct mail acquisition, the packs included a number of premium items, ranging from tea towels and keyrings to gift cards and address labels.

This program proved to be successful and recruited almost 40,000 new supporters for The Shepherd Centre. At the height of performance, these campaigns saw response rates of 7%.

In 2014 we saw a decline in the performance of this acquisition channel with response rates and ROI declining to an unacceptable level. Response rates dropped to around 2% in 2015 and it was decided that this was no longer a viable acquisition channel for The Shepherd Centre.

Telemarketing

In 2014 a telemarketing program was introduced to acquire cash donors. In 2015 this program was scaled up and recruited over 5000 new supporters. As with the premium direct mail program, the telemarketing program was initially successful at a larger scale but we found that this level could not be sustained. In 2016 the decision was made to take a monthly supply of data from LemonTree to call.

Sustainability the Key to Success

This program has now been running for four years and recruits around 150 new supporters every month. The monthly telemarketing acquisition program is still running today and proving successful in recruiting both cash and regular donors.

The focus for The Shepherd Centre is now on recruiting regular givers via a two-step program of a non-financial interaction followed by a phone request for a regular gift. This is currently in the testing phase as we investigate different lead sources and donor engagement tools.

If you’d like to learn more from Joanne and your fundraising peers, we invite you to join LemonTree’s Donor-Centricity Collective (DCC). Every quarter we host webinars and events with industry speakers, as well as commercial speakers so you learn how to bring best practice to the NFP industry. Learn from others and share your own insights and experiences – through our private social media groups, events and blogs…all for FREE!

It takes a tribe to raise a family and it takes a collective of passionate, like-minded peers to change an industry and help grow sustainable giving in Australiajoin us today.

Thank you to Joanne Rogers for sharing her knowledge on the Catch Me stage in the donor relationship journey.

Next up in this series:

  • Welcome Me
  • Teach Me
  • Grow Me
  • Endear Me
  • Keep Me
  • Renew Me
  • Win Me Back
The different stages of the donor relationship

The different stages of the donor relationship

Like any relationship in your life, professional or personal, there are different phases to a donor’s relationship with your organisation. There’s the flirtation phase, the honeymoon period, the ‘comfort zone’, the seven-year itch, the renewed passion, and so on. 

As a relationship progresses through each different stage, a subtle shift occurs in the way in which each party communicates, interacts and behaves with the other. The language we use, our tone of voice, the actions we take – or don’t take, the degree of trust we have in each other, the reliance we place on each other, the compromises we’re willing to make, the expectations we have. All of these evolve over the course of a relationship. 

As you and your organisation follow the steps required to become more donor-centric, you first need to identify and understand what stage your donor relationship is at so you can work towards connecting more meaningfully, collaborating more effectively and genuinely caring for your donors in a way that makes sense for that particular stage of your relationship. In doing so, you will create ongoing value exchange, build trust and increase loyalty with your donors.

Stage 1: Catch Me

This is the stage of courtship. You are marketing yourself amongst a sea of competition, trying to attract and woo a donor by appealing to your similar interests and beliefs.

Stage 2: Welcome Me

This is the honeymoon stage. It’s where you learn how best to communicate with each other, how to support each other, and how to value each other.

Stage 3: Teach Me

This is the engagement stage. Things are starting to get a little more serious. Curiosity is peaked. Questions are asked. Information is sought. You want to learn more about each other so you can connect on a deeper level.

Stage 4: Grow Me

This is the enrichment stage. It’s a time of excitement and opportunities. It’s time to demonstrate the value each of you brings to the relationship and highlight the impact you can have on the world if you work together.

Stage 5: Keep Me

This is something of a warning stage. It’s a reminder to never get complacent. For the relationship to work, it’s important to show respect, care and attention. Remember, trust and loyalty must always be earned so never stop striving for them.

Stage 6: Endear Me

This is the rekindling stage. Focus on reminding each other why the relationship exists, what attracted you to each other in the first place and why you still belong together. It’s an opportunity to reflect on all you have accomplished so far and ignite the passion to continue on your journey together.

Stage 7: Renew Me

This is a re-establishment stage. It’s an opportunity to breathe fresh life into the relationship in a bid to make it stronger. It may even be time to start afresh; to revisit expectations and work on understanding each other.

Stage 8: Win Me Back

This is an acknowledgement stage. It’s time to listen intently; to face up to the issues and accept the role you played in creating them. You might even need to apologise. Above all, it’s about understanding whether you’re meant to be together and then putting in the effort to make that happen.

As you embark on this journey on the journey to donor-centricity, ask yourself what stage of the donor relationship at you at with your donors? Remember, each stage comes with its own challenges and opportunities. Knowing a little bit more about each phase can help you navigate the journey. So, our next blog series will be dedicated to each stage of the donor relationship journey – stay tuned!

You might also be interested in joining LemonTree’s free Donor-Centricity Collective (DCC)? Every event we do a deep dive into one of the stages so you can learn from your peers, share your experiences, ask questions and keep up-to-date with the latest strategies to help you through that stage to become more donor-centric…AND be part of a movement to help grow sustainable giving in Australia! Simply click here to sign up for free.

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Previous posts in this series:

‘Win Me Back’ – Synergy Fundraising

‘Win Me Back’ – Synergy Fundraising

Guest blog by Adam Drinan, Director – Synergy Fundraising

The best way to win back donors is easy.   Don’t lose them in the first place.  

While it seems obvious, I’m a believer in tackling re-activation proactively but also focussing on the issues that increase donor attrition in the first place.

For that reason – here is my top five tips for winning donors back and my top 5 tips on how to avoid losing them at all!

Tips to win donors back! 

  1. Take real action

Are you watching and waiting or taking action?

We know the most important factor in whether someone will support you again is recency – so let’s say a donor who used to give every few months stops.   What will you do? Wait until they move from a 0-12 segment to a 13-24.

Then what? Wait for them to go 25+

The longer you wait the harder it will be to get a donor back in the fold.   Don’t move donors around in pots that effectively mean nothing!  

  1. Talk to me!

Surveys are magical things. Ever asked donors this question on a scale of 1-10?

“How likely will you support organisation x in the next 12 months?

Anyone that says 7 or less is flat out telling you they aren’t committed – you’ve got an opportunity to take action right there.  

Drop me a line via our website and I’ll tell you exactly what to do when donors answer 7 or less and what to do with donors that say 8, 9, 10. (Yes – even the 10 donors require some love!) 

  1. Taken the wrong road? Turn back!

Did you acquire a donor with a particular type of story, ask or case study?   I’ve seen charities acquire donors on one topic and instantly switch to other things.   It can be dangerous, try going back to what appealed to donors in the first place and see if anything changes.

The perfect storm occurs here when charities change the messaging on donors that haven’t been onboarded well (eg if your welcome/onboarding processes suck changing the messaging too quickly can really hurt). 

  1. Use Data to make better decisions!

If you’re big or small – over time, you’ll see similarities between the donors that attrite and supporters that keep supporting you.  

You’ll see patterns emerge that can start to predict with some accuracy who’s likely to stop supporting you.

If your own data isn’t painting a picture you can get some external assistance. Much like data hygiene this can cost less than the opportunities lost by doing nothing.

Once you can spot the patterns.   You can even take action on HALF of the donors so you can have a control group to see if your actions made any noticeable difference. It’s a game of patience and small tweaks but well worth doing. 

  1. Time to say goodbye?

It may be hard to say, but there are some donors that will be resistant to even your most charming efforts to win them back.  

Peer to peer fundraising is a great example. These events can bring in A LOT of new donors, but the 2nd gift rates are low. For many it’s the thrill of the event rather than the cause that’s the driving factor.

If you can’t offer the next new, exciting thing then they’ll be off. It’s either time to innovate or cut them lose and concentrate your efforts elsewhere.

Fighting a losing battle can cost you more even donors because you’re distracted by a fight you can’t win.    

Tips to reduce attrition. 

  1. Keep your data up to date  

 While data quality might not be sexy it’s essential to minimise what I would call “voluntary attrition”.

Examples of this would be washing your data against the Postal Address File (PAF) from Australia Post.

Some of you might have something like QAS or Hopewiser as part of your CRM – if you do, well done, because you’re verifying addresses in real time when you enter new prospects or supporters to your database.   (Have you ever ordered a pizza or uber eats and entered just a few characters here and there to bring up a perfectly formatted address – it’s technology that’s available to all of us now)

If you’re smaller organisation or don’t have a CRM that’s capable of adding a real time option – don’t worry.   You CAN get someone else to do it for you.   You’ll be able to find out who’s no longer at a certain address, sometimes you’ll even be able to access the new address.   If you’re part of a collaborative like Lemontree you’ll also be able to get insights on donor addresses that are incorrect BEFORE you mail them to find out.   What you can save on printing and postage can easily cover any costs involved.

The sin here is that a lot of charities don’t take either approach, and I’ll never understand why.   Even charities that pay hundreds of to acquire a donor won’t pay a few cents to verify their details – it’s crazy!

Crazier still? Databases without a high percentage of records with an email address and contact phone numbers.  

We know that around 1 in 7 people move every year, but you’ll know yourself that while you might get a new address chances are, you’ll always keep that Gmail you set up 10 years ago and you wouldn’t change your mobile number you’ve had since a Nokia 8350 was the shit! 

  1. Stay Relevant

I’ll cover this one by giving an example of what NOT to do.  

I recently spotted a post on Facebook about an issue that shocked me! It was an animal welfare issue I wasn’t aware of – so I clicked the FB post, ended up on a nice landing page and donated within a few minutes.

That’s when the experience went from hero to zero.   I got a really generic receipt by email – it didn’t even mention the project that caught my attention in the first place.

Even as someone that’s totally aware that small gifts aren’t tagged, I’d still like my communications to talk about my first gift and that I was helping the project that inspired me to click through and donate.

Worse still, since that donation they’ve gone out of their way to talk about everything BUT the issue that encouraged me to act.

Now someone at the organisation in question is probably wondering why so many donors only given once but who’s really to blame?

  1. Get to know me and FAST!

 It’s WAY harder to say no to a friend than it is a complete stranger, right?  

If donors feel they have a genuine two-way relationship it’s much harder for them to ignore your last ask, that newsletter or let your next phone call go to voice mail.

Ask donors questions, find out about their lives, their dreams and their motivations. Most people give to express their values, find out what those values are!

Do you get donors calling you pro-actively to update details? Guess what, they are your most engaged donors because they have a golden opportunity to walk away from you, but they don’t want to.

That call is an invaluable part of donor bequest scoring too – so make sure you flag anyone that contacts you to change their details! 

  1. Don’t let your processes and assumptions dictate your messaging – it’s really dangerous!

 You see a lot of this

“We haven’t heard from you in a while”

Let’s say a donor traditionally donates at Christmas time but they miss a year – we’ll probably say that donor hasn’t given for 2 years and it lapsing or lapsed, when in reality they didn’t respond once and who knows why – they could have had an expensive car repair, a medical procedure, they may have not even been in the country (which is just one reason why respond by dates can be a problem at certain times of the year!)

But the bottom line is that we’re treating them as a lapsed donor, but they don’t see that at all – in fact, the speed in which life passes by – that donation two years ago and often feel like it was recent.

If you treat a donor like they’ve abandoned you – it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy

Be careful what you say and like life in general, thanking people for what they HAVE done will always be received better than telling people where they came up short.  

  1. Premiums

Love them or hate them, if you used them for acquisition and then you stop, expect your attrition rates to increase.  

A premium-incentivised supporter has a different relationship with your organisation than one that’s giving to express their personal values or with a strong personal connection.

If your recruit with premiums, you’ll likely always need to incentivise the relationship in some way. The idea that you can wean a donor off premiums with an amazing case study sounds great in principal, but rarely works in practice.

If you’re in this situation, the question you need to ask yourself is ‘Is this worth the cost/resource to keep going?’.

A simple look at the longer-term ROI will give you the numbers you need to decide what to do.