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By Matthew Mielcarek

Think about the last time you chose toothpaste or potato chips at your grocery store or online. How many options did you have? According to a December 2019 study from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, the number of niche products on store shelves has grown by about 70% over the past 15 years.

Technology and manufacturing have allowed for this proliferation of niche products in our shopping carts. When more products are available, consumers are allowed to get exactly what they want, selecting products that are best matched to their tastes. And increasingly, households are expressing their individuality by purchasing different sets of products from one another.

Niche product development and marketing are changing the marketplace. Giving consumers what they want requires that companies transform – by listening, expanding product lines, and getting the right products in front of the right customers – while space at grocery stores has not necessarily grown.

Assessing Nonprofit Performance

Are you giving your donors exactly what they want?

Industry-wide indications show that nonprofits may be missing the mark. Over the last ten years, the number of nonprofits has grown by over 10% to 1.5 million, increasing options for support as well as competition. Yet donor loyalty and the number of donors giving continues on a slow, declining trend that is likely to transform the philanthropic landscape.

Many nonprofits are failing to connect with their donors and meet evolving constituent choice. This is particularly problematic for large, blue-chip organizations with expansive missions – linking a defined, personal connection to a multi-legged mission – where smaller organizations often have the luxury of focusing on a more concise case for support.

Listen to Donors

Fundamental to the fulfillment of donor choice is an understanding of your donors. Each donor is connected to your organization through a variety of sources. Perhaps there is a direct family connection to mission, or a friend invited them to give or recruited donors to an event. It’s likely that this donor cares most about a single mission area of your cause. Understanding this link is core to creating connections, ongoing need, and continued support.

Match Preferences to Audiences

Listening exercises with donors can uncover distinct donor identities and their motivations to support your cause. These segments can be used to match your current “product line” – or aspects of your mission – with offers that appeal to segments of your donor file with the greatest capacity to give. Just as Procter & Gamble identified a market opportunity for Crest Mint Chocolate Trek toothpaste, you can use the characteristics of your donor file to match philanthropic offers and programs that are meaningful and compelling to support.

Simplify your Donors’ Lives

With a glut of causes to support, getting the right offer to a donor may not only make a donor’s life easier but can also create joy by enabling the donor to give to exactly what he or she wants. By leveraging insights, we can target high opportunity donors with the “products” that are the most meaningful to them – in the channels where they are most likely to respond.

Donor Identity through Strategic Segmentation

At Pursuant, we guide our clients to listen to donors at scale through our Strategic Segmentation methodology. The approach identifies key audiences within your donor database and helps to prioritize those who are ready for a more meaningful relationship. We map your current Case for Support to audiences and identify where gaps exist in articulating mission.

Experience Design through Journey Mapping

We expand and enhance donor experiences through our co-creation Journey Mapping workshop. Working with stakeholders across your organization, we explore the current experiences of a key audience (across organizational silos), identify areas of delight or disappointment that currently exist, and then design a donor experience that will enhance connection and drive greater donor value. As an outcome, we will develop a long-term roadmap that defines touchpoints across your organization.