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Before you set out on a journey, you need a map. Imagine scaling the Himalayas with no idea what lies ahead. It probably wouldn’t end well for you. On the other hand, if you have a map you can plan and prepare to take the most efficient and rewarding route possible. You increase your chances of success tenfold.

Whether you’re scaling a mountain or guiding your donors through the pipeline, it’s a smart practice to plan ahead. What is the ideal experience your donor would have from start to finish? This is something many of us don’t really stop to think about as we’re focused on individual fundraising efforts. That’s where journey mapping comes in.

Finding the best path for your donors through journey mapping

What is a journey map? A journey map tells the story of the donor’s experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship.

At Pursuant, we spend a lot of time working with our clients on journey mapping. If you haven’t done a journey mapping exercise, we highly recommend it. Journey mapping gives you the ability to step back and look at the story you are telling – not from the organization’s perspective, but from the donor’s perspective. It involves really diving into what your donors will experience as they move through your organization, and asking questions like:

  •  What is the first experience your donors will have, then how does the process evolve for them?
  • How does it evolve in a digital way?
  • How does it evolve cross-channel or cross-program or throughout all of the different parts of the organization?

Journey mapping can focus on a particular part of the story (for example, your donor’s experience in their first three years) or give an overview of the entire experience. What it always does is identify key interactions that the donor has with your organization. It focuses on understanding the donor’s feelings and the organization’s actions at each of these touch points.

Understanding the feelings and motivations of your donors

Journey mapping often provides a sense of the donor’s greater motivation: what they wish to achieve and what their expectations are of your organization. It enables you to identify where those are being met or missed.

One of the keys to journey mapping is uncovering the motivating factors behind the donor experience. For some organizations, that may be understanding what your donors’ connections to the mission are or what aspects of your mission they really align with. For other organizations, like higher education institutions or hospitals, it may be understanding when your last point of connection was or where your donors reside (local or abroad).

Along with creating an ideal path for your donors, the goal of journey mapping is to go a little bit deeper into the hearts of your donors and understand what motivates them to engage. That information will help you deliver a greater experience for your donors across the board.

Learn more ways you can take your donor stewardship to the next level. Download “Demystifying the Donor Journey” now.