You might be surprised to learn that most of the challenges fundraising managers face are very similar to those experienced by our friends in the corporate world. Customer choice has never been so easy. But with online penetration increasing every minute and the Android and iPhone market seeing exponential growth, customer behaviour has become a lot less predictable.
Grabbing undivided attention from the customer has also become an impossible task (unless your name happens to be Mark Zuckerberg) as they are spoilt with multiple options at their fingertips across several channels.
Ownership of the “customer” is a common challenge for any fundraising or marketing team. We tend to refer to this as “marketing myopia” in the corporate world. The issue being, who claims the sales when a business sells an additional 250 units compared to the previous week? The agents on the phone who sold these units, the team leader who coached the agents, or the brand team responsible for the new radio ad?
At best, the result of this confusion may be some internal conflict over which team claims the sale or donation. The worst case is that the difficulty in understanding multi-channel behaviour inhibits optimisation of subsequent marketing communications.
This is further compounded given the difficulty in joining up and integrating the various data sources. Most charities struggle to create a single customer view (SCV) that combines SMS, social media, giving sites, direct web, paper and phone data to provide the foundation of well planned data driven marketing. Where a SCV does exist, datasets are often uploaded through manual batches, which can cause a lag in getting the new information onto the database.
From a communications perspective, this then poses the question as to how a charity can effectively welcome a supporter when this lag exists? The big difference between charities and corporates is that, while there is a good appetite for insight and analytics, there is sometimes insufficient experience or expertise available to a charity to execute these functions to a level where they become influential within the organisation.
There are a number of common aspects where the application of an analytics-led data strategy would significantly improve the clarity of operations for a charity. For example, there seems to be little science applied from a segmentation or data modelling standpoint when campaigns are being developed. Another critical gap is that many commercial metrics - such as supporter retention - are not applied in charities. This creates an immediate issue around ROI for fundraising marketing.
But it is the chain reaction created by the absence of such measurement (or its more advanced Big Brother, estimates of lifetime value) that can impact on a charity’s direction. With inadequate measurement, it becomes very difficult to create cost-benefit analyses for investment in new fundraising activities, people, or systems. And any fundraiser will tell you, stakeholder management can be tough when you are not backed by numbers.
These challenges are what we aim to cover in detail in the “Bridging the Gap” conference on 4th October, exclusively for charities. For more information, go to www.madta.co.uk (MADTA – A charity trying to redefine corporate social goodwill.)