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Ten Emerging Trends for 2022 [Part Three]

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and how to ride the wave of what’s working – [Part Three]

You’ve done it! You’ve reached the last of our three-part series on emerging trends for 2022. But by no means is it the least important. These final trends examine the growing emphasis on how to acquire donors who will be valuable to your mission, focus on their needs and convert them into long-term partners.

7. The Right Donor Mix
Regardless of the communication tools you’re employing, if you aren’t acquiring the right mix of donors from the start, even the best strategies will have disappointing, if not disastrous, results. For example, if every donor, regardless of contribution, represents $50 in acquisition costs, then gifts below $50 can’t generate a positive return until later in the donor lifecycle – and that’s only if the donors are retained.

Ride the Wave:
Refilling the donor file mainly with those making small donations and hoping their contributions will increase is a plan historically proven to drain dollars and starve your organization. At the same time, while the ideal would be to acquire a vast number of new donors who give large donations, targeting only these prospects can be prohibitively expensive. Advises Sam Hamby, Director of Analytics at Summit Marketing: “With inflation rates expected to continue to rise during 2022, donors with less income will feel the squeeze of higher prices. Your acquisition strategy must be able to bring in the right mix of donors, targeting the high-value givers who can afford to support your mission.”

Summit Marketing’s SONAR strategy can help your nonprofit target the optimal new donor mix. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog on this very topic!

9. Channel-Neutral Campaigns
It’s an exciting time for nonprofits, with more ways and places to engage supporters than ever before. At the same time, however, fundraisers risk the danger of focusing more on tools and channels than on effective storytelling that moves the heart. Delivering messages donors don’t care about, in channels they don’t use or prefer, assumes successful communication is about sending lots of messages rather than ensuring the message you send is welcomed and appreciated. As a result, donors can become irritated, or even worse, completely turn away from your organization. Armed with this new understanding, savvy nonprofits are following the lead of their commercial counterparts with the shift to channel-neutral campaigns.

Ride the Wave:
Simply put, channel-neutral means constructing your communications plan according to the message you want to deliver and the person you want to deliver to, instead of the channel through which it will be delivered. Sound familiar? This is the ultimate act of being donor-centric. While this shift won’t come easy – and will impact at how your organization views donor communications at every level – the result will be a greater magnitude of donor loyalty and generosity.

Where an average of 80% of brands think that communications from brands are useful and relevant, only 20% of customers agree. (SRVE) The same error can impact nonprofits.

“What’s the story? That’s the first question we ask ourselves when it comes to content marketing. From there, we ensure that regardless of channel, the story comes to life. From graphic design to massaging, it’s key to keep the story consistent and centered. Then, by pairing it with strong, clear calls to action, there’s an increased likelihood of your audience engaging with the content, whether that’s donating, volunteering or anything in between.”
— Lori Melton, Digital Director, Summit Marketing

10. Disaster Donor Cultivation
Always an issue for fundraisers, the challenge of donor retention took a new twist as nonprofits pondered how to cultivate new supporters they acquired during the pandemic. Disaster donors differ from regular donors in several ways. Most significantly, they give out of an immediate emotion and they have a weaker tie to your mission. But while the jury is still out on their potential for becoming loyal supporters, don’t immediately write them off as one-time givers.

Ride the Wave:
These donors are human too, so respond to them with the same sound fundraising tactics you’d apply to any new acquisition. “When it comes to disaster donors, it all starts with the acknowledgement,” says Summit Marketing’s Francie Hughes. “When thanking them, be specific and localize communications as much as possible. In addition, provide updates after the fact to keep your relief efforts top of mind. It’s also essential to analyze segmentation carefully for these donors and utilize targeted touchpoints to cultivate deeper relationships beyond times of disaster.”

With over 30 years of experience in sales, multi-channel development and innovative fundraising, Summit Marketing has earned the reputation as one of the nation’s most effective integrated direct-response marketing agencies. We’re excited to be your partners as we navigate the new normal.