Why quality data reporting is so important

Nurture supporter journey

Why Quality Data Reporting is so Important

In a world where data has grown in importance and abundance in recent years there are still blindspots in some organisations where reports, and more importantly reliable reports, are not easily accessible.

It’s true to say that fundraisers are generally very aware of their results and of the recent trends in activity, but gut-feel is often not enough to secure additional funding or to be confident in the best place to invest in acquisition. Having access to robust and up to date reports provides the whole team with key metrics and empowers decision making from across the organisation.

At Sequoia, we are continuing to develop, and add to, an already comprehensive set of reports to satisfy the key metrics needed and provide organisations with easy to interpret visuals to help achieve their fundraising goals.

BENEFITS:

The benefits of key reports can span across the organisation. A few examples are included below:

Decoding donor behaviour: Average gifts and recruitment channels

As part of any set of reports it is critical to shine a spotlight on donor behaviour. These types of reports provide a detailed analysis of average gifts, allowing charities to tailor their campaigns to donor preferences. Moreover, they will unravel the success (or otherwise) of specific recruitment channels, helping organisations identify the most effective avenues for reaching their audience and help build out strategies around that. Our Engagement Scorecard provides an overall view on donor behaviour as well as a wealth of reports giving detailed metrics on who your most valuable donors are.

Navigating Challenges: Lapsed Donor Report

All charities face the challenge of lapsed donors – individuals who once supported a cause but have since disengaged. This view would offer valuable insights into the underlying figures of who the donors are that are lapsing and when, enabling organisations to look below the surface and implement targeted strategies for re-engagement and really understand the make-up of the supporter file.

Understanding the landscape: Programme-level analysis

At the core of all fundraising teams there is a need to view how all the streams are working together. Something like the Programme Scorecard offers a complete overview of the charity’s fundraising at the top level. It explores each aspect of income generation, splitting it by the Supporter engagement score to understand the combined programme and supporter interaction. By dissecting the data, it gives charities the power to make informed decisions and strategise for maximum impact.

Beyond numbers: User-friendly reports

As with any set of reports the need to illustrate the results in a clear and easy to digest format should be at the core. We understand the importance of accessibility, and therefore, our reports are designed to be user-friendly. With a short introduction on functionality, you can seamlessly navigate through the wealth of information we provide.

 

 
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IMPACT:

Having access to reliable reports can help you by giving you all these benefits at your fingertips and realise the potential in your programme:

  1. Strategic Decision-Making: Make informed decisions based on comprehensive data analysis.
  2. Optimised Campaigns: Tailor your fundraising campaigns to align with donor preferences.
  3. Re-Engage Effectively: Revitalise relationships with lapsed donors through targeted strategies.

 

Canopy – The Charity Intelligence Portal, offers you all these benefits and gaining access to this invaluable resource is simple. With efficiency at its core, you can navigate through our reports easily with simple to understand charts and tables.

Contact us for a demonstration to unlock a world of possibilities for your charity fundraising efforts.

The Power of Supporter Journeys: Benefits and Challenges

Nurture supporter journey

The Power of Supporter Journeys: Benefits and Challenges

At Sequoia, we have invested time and effort in creating our Engagement Scorecard, a simple and easy way to understand how well-engaged your supporters are. This is a great way to measure and track this metric, but how can you affect or change this score?

Just as engagement scoring is a key focus for charities, so are supporter journeys – which can range from a simple welcome journey, through to a highly-engineered communication plan for each supporter. These tailored experiences are there to nurture relationships with donors and are frequently a strategic aim for charities, offering a multitude of benefits that extend beyond traditional fundraising efforts.

The ultimate aim for any enhanced supporter experience is obviously to ensure they are receiving the right message at the right time – increasing the relevance rather than the frequency of each communication. On the face of it, building supporter journeys seems like a logical step for every charity. However, there are significant challenges associated with making this a/ possible and b/ manageable. There’s a real danger that supporters can receive the wrong communication at the wrong time, resulting in a less than optimal experience!

First though, let’s look at the BENEFITS:

Improve Tenure and Build Lasting Relationships

Supporter journeys can help to create meaningful connections between organisations and their donors. By providing a personalised and relevant journey, charities can move beyond transactional interactions and build lasting relationships. Understanding the donor’s values, motivations, and interests enables charities to tailor communication and engagement strategies, building a sense of loyalty and commitment. About Loyalty are experts in this area and can help track this through their excellent programme.

Increased Supporter Retention

As a key measure within the Engagement Scorecard, a big factor in improving the score lies in retaining existing donors. Supporter journeys play a crucial role in this by keeping supporters engaged over the long term. Regular updates, personalised messages, and acknowledgment of past contributions create a sense of continuity and can help to reduce donor attrition rates. The journey becomes a narrative of shared achievements and goals, making donors feel like valued partners in the charity’s mission, thereby improving responses and even lifetime value.

Enhanced Fundraising Frequency and Effectiveness

A well-crafted supporter journey can significantly boost fundraising efforts. By strategically guiding donors through different stages of engagement, charities can identify opportunities to request additional support. For example, after an initial donation, a well-timed and personalised request for a recurring donation or participation in a specific campaign can be very effective. The journey acts as a strategic framework to maximize the potential for financial contributions and can be built on throughout defined periods of a supporter’s time with the charity. The journey is not about sending more communications, but the right ones.

Improved Supporter Understanding

Understanding donor behaviour is key for charities hoping to improve the diversity of support of donors, that is to say to increase the number of products that they interact with – whether financial or otherwise. Supporter journeys provide valuable insights into how donors interact with the organisation and can highlight cohorts of supporters that follow similar patterns of activity and uncover additional pots of supporters to engage with. Analysing data on engagement levels, preferred communication channels, and areas of interest allows charities to adapt and tailor their approach. This data-driven approach ensures that future interactions are more relevant and resonate with the donor’s preferences.

Continuously Adapting to External Factors

Things are constantly evolving, including the preferences and expectations of donors. Supporter journeys provide charities with the flexibility to adapt their strategies in response to changing trends and circumstances. Whether it’s incorporating new digital channels, addressing emerging social issues, or adjusting communication styles and frequency, supporter journeys allow charities to stay agile and responsive.

 
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We hope that the benefits of supporter journeys are clear and obvious. Far from being a mere fundraising fad, they can help to fundamentally change the way that organisations engage with their supporters. By prioritising personalised journeys, understanding donor motivations and leveraging data-driven insights, charities can build on the engagement of supporters to improve the overall fundraising programme and supporter experience.

The benefits can be huge, as described above, so what is stopping charities from implementing these journeys and engaging with their supporters in a more personalised and appropriate manner? Undeniably it requires care and planning, but implementing supporter journeys might be simpler than you imagine.

There are often seen to be three key blockers that can prevent an organisation’s ability to manage and maintain these on-going journeys:

Resource and Budget Constraints

First of all, there is never infinite resource or budget available – sadly. If that was the case, we could skip to the end of the blog with little concern!

It is no secret that charities are often operating on tight budgets, making it challenging to allocate resources for the development and implementation of supporter journeys. The creation and management of personalised supporter journeys is likely to require dedicated staff, time, and expertise, which some organisations may struggle to afford or fit in with the current business as usual. However, organisations do not need to implement the large scale CRMs in order to achieve their goals – there are other options available that can make the process a viable option.

Data Management and Integration

Secondly, “our data isn’t good enough!” Maintaining accurate and up-to-date supporter data is essential for successful (and compliant) supporter journeys. Charities may face challenges related to data quality – including incomplete or outdated information – depending on the speed and accuracy with which data is processed and loaded. This can be compounded if organisations use multiple platforms for fundraising, such as web forms, retail outlets, campaigning platforms etc. Integrating these systems to create a seamless supporter journey can be complex, requiring specific technical expertise. So identifying and fixing potential data issues at source can resolve any impact on supporters in the downstream processes. Data quality is also key in the move towards achieving automation. Furthermore, charities must navigate data protection regulations, such as GDPR and supporter preferences, which all add complexity to supporter journey management and require ongoing diligence – not only to remain compliant but also to maintain trust with supporters.

Technology Barriers

And finally it comes down to technology. Some charities, especially smaller ones, may lack the necessary technological infrastructure to implement and manage sophisticated supporter journeys. All too often we hear of teams trying to manage multiple journeys using spreadsheets and static flags on the database. Even where they have the technology there are potential barriers preventing the charity from reaping the full benefit of its capabilities, perhaps related to data setup and management as described above, or simply requiring training which results in greater confidence in using the options available.

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Overcoming these challenges calls for a strategic and collaborative approach. Charities can benefit from investing in technology, providing training for staff and continuously evaluating and refining the strategies. And it can be easier than you think.

Platforms such as Apteco Marketing Suite not only enable automated supporter journeys to be set up and managed without constant manual checks, but also have the capability to manage what the best next communication in the journey should be.

We would advocate getting support in key areas in order to make sure the implementation and ongoing activity is as successful as possible. Contact us to discuss how we can support with making supporter journeys an achievable and successful option for you.

Why measure Supporter Engagement?

watercolour style abstract of supporters arm in arm

Why measure Supporter Engagement?

Last month we launched our Engagement Scorecard and described the four dimensions that drive the overall score. So why do we think this is so important?

Tracking engagement will help you understand areas of strength and weakness across your supporter base and rank donors on their levels of engagement across multiple factors. Knowing who your most engaged supporters are will help you steward them better to retain and deepen their support, whilst identifying pockets of your base that are not engaging can help you instigate remedial action to improve their engagement by testing other ways to talk to them.

Furthermore, breaking this down in to the four component dimensions will show you what it is that is driving, or not driving, their engagement and which areas you need to focus on.

Tenure

Tenure measures the length of their engagement, ie the time between their first and last interactions. Ideally you want to retain your supporters and keep them giving for as long as possible as you no doubt spent a lot of time and money to recruit them and retention is one of the key drivers of Lifetime Value. Understanding how tenure varies for key channels and products will show you where you have holes in your leaky bucket and review your programme to either change investment away from this areas, or build strategies to lengthen their tenure.

Diversity

Diversity looks at the range of interactions of supporters and highlights where individuals might be engaging in multiple different ways. This includes giving to different products or via different channels, or volunteering as well as giving. Supporters who engage across different touch points tend to build more affinity towards the organisation and so go on to give more and give for longer. Identifying those who only engage in one way can help you plan and target your cross-sell campaigns to better effect.

Frequency

Frequency includes the number of interactions a person has – whether financial or non-financial. Understanding whether somebody is engaging with you on a regular basis versus those that give occasionally will help you understand how and when to talk to people. And monitoring second gift rates is vital in ensuring you are doing all you can to get supporters over the hurdle of giving again after their initial engagement and starting them on a deeper and more valuable relationship with the charity.

Value

Value is a measure of the strength of those interactions, most typically a financial amount but could also be a measure of time or voice. This is the most commonly tracked measure of engagement, and often the ultimate aim, but many organisations still fail to evaluate this from an individual perspective. Metrics such as lifetime value are vital to ensure you understand your most valuable products and channels and so optimise your investment for maximum effectiveness.
 
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Tracking changes in the average scores will help you evaluate the effect of your communications and stewardship programmes. For example, do you see an improvement in tenure by implementing a welcome programme? Or is your diversity score improving by offering more cross sell opportunities? Ultimately each action you take should be trying to improve engagement to a target audience which will improve their score, and therefore your overall average score. By improving one of the four dimensions you increase engagement which will lead to better lifetime value and also the potential for future legacies.

Charities can use the engagement score and the four dimensions to segment their supporters into groups of common behaviours. These segments can then be used to design strategies to plan supporter journeys and talk to them in appropriate ways.

Get in touch to chat over how we can help or advise you on measuring your Supporter Engagement performance.