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If you have a Netflix account, you know that each time you open the platform, it magically knows which series you need to catch up on and which new movies to recommend. Technology tracks your viewing patterns to customize an entertainment experience just for you. It’s amazing! The detail of these personalized experiences has radically altered our expectations. When organizations deliver something less, we notice.

The customization that’s possible today is astounding compared to even 25 or 50 years ago. And it’s everywhere—whether it’s a digital, print, or in-person touchpoint, companies are leveraging technology to help them connect with you. Your expectation for a custom interaction has been shaped by how businesses use technology in the consumer market. And those expectations follow you into every sector—even into your nonprofit interactions. 

In a recent episode of the Pursuant Go Beyond podcast, host Leah Davenport spoke with Gabe Cooper, CEO of Virtuous Software, and Hilary Noon, vice president of analytics and insights for Pursuant, about some of the ways technology can help nonprofits meet donor expectations for personalized experiences.

As in the consumer market, nonprofit communications used to employ a one-to-many approach to communications. Direct mail for the general donor had no customization—or it had minimal personalization if the nonprofit knew how to segment its donor mailing list! 

But today’s donor is also today’s consumer—the consumer market has taught donors to expect personal engagement, and those assumptions have seeped into the nonprofit realm—whether the donor knows it or not. Hilary explains, “Consumers expect the brands that they interact with to know them—and not only know them but to use that information to build a more connected experience with them. And so, I think nonprofits are lagging behind in this area and need to [grow] past that.” Technology is the way nonprofits will create hyper-personalized experiences and responsive fundraising communications that meet donor expectations. Gabe believes this is essential because “the act of giving us hyper-personal [experiences] is one of the most personal things we will ever do.”

The good news is that technology makes it possible for every nonprofit. Gabe explains, “there’s a level of sophistication we can bring to direct mail and direct response to create more personal experiences.” The bad news is that technology has to be implemented and applied before it’s useful for reaching the donors in a relationship enriching way.

gabe cooper responsive fundraising quote

hyper-personal approach to donor development is driven by donor data that tracks behavior, motivations, and demographics. Data is collected into a donor management system where it can be analyzed to understand each donor and donor segment in order to interact with them in ways that enhance their donor experience. 

Looking into the data will help your nonprofit track donor giving patterns and trends, and then respond to them quickly. Today’s data tracking can be set to alert you the moment any donors drop into lapsed status so you can re-engage them sooner rather than later. Considering 76% of donors will never give a second gift, nonprofits need to do whatever they can to grow donor retention. (If a consumer business lost 75% of its consumer-based after one purchase, there would be immediate and drastic changes to its customer engagement!)

With today’s technology, an engagement series can automatically trigger when a donor’s file meets specific measures. There’s no waiting until the annual re-engagement campaign when automated intelligence allows us to implement something called response fundraising. Responsive fundraising allows your nonprofit to treat each donor individually, delivering a custom approach to many more donors than possible in the past. This methodology is crucial because research has shown that most donors who stopped giving to an organization did so simply because they saw the communications as impersonal and generic. 

Used together, hyper-personalization and responsive fundraising techniques allow you to build stronger relationships with your donors. And as those relationships deepen, so will the donor’s commitment to your mission. If your nonprofit is struggling to use today’s technology to better connect with donors, Pursuant is ready to help! 

If you’d like to learn more about Gabe Cooper and the Responsive Fundraising approach, visit Virtuous Software to get started today.