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Monday, December 6, 2021

How Business Thinking is Changing Donor Stewardship

 

The world of fundraising and donor stewardship is changing. Conventional newsletters and cold calling have dropped off precipitously in terms of impact for a second year in a row. A study from Lead Creation found that this trend has been going on for close to 5 years now. 

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In their stead, organizations are being pushed to build more authentic relationships with their communities. Charities are beginning to adopt the B2B business mindset of focusing on Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) as a mechanism to maximize donations over the lifetime of the donor. The impetus behind this change lies in the data, like Classy’s The State of Modern Philanthropy 2020 that notes, “Recurring donors are over five times more valuable than one-time donors”.

Now, we know that the more personal we become in our correspondences, the better we perform. But naturally, we can’t meet every donor in person. So, how can we connect on a human level with donors to move them to becoming recurring donors and maximizing CLTV?

One method that has exploded onto the scene in the last few years is personal video. Personal video allows you to asynchronously message your donor a personal and compelling video message.  Asynchronously means the donor can engage with it on their time versus interrupting their day with the cold call. Here is an example:


This exact video led to a legacy donor who would bring in thousands from their contributions over the next few years. Using tools like Bonjoro, you can connect your CRM, email automation or donation platform, and have video tasks be generated automatically off behaviors like a donation being received. Then all you have to do is hop on, click record and make a lasting impression on a donor.

We have analyzed the data from thousands of charities sending videos and running split tests and have found the following:

  • Donors who receive a personal video were 38% more likely to donate again than the control that received no video. 
  • Open rates from personal videos averaged 68.2% vs. industry standards for text-based emails in the non-profit sector of 25.17% (Mailchimp Benchmark Study)
  • Total donations or CLTV for the cohorts who received at least 1 personal video were 21% higher over 24 months compared to a control. 

The studies are pouring in from third party outlets. 

Harvard Business Review notes that personal videos are twice as likely to get opened than standard email. In another study from Gartner, they found, “The email open rate for the videos was 113% above baseline” and “action taken from the emails was 11x”. 

Inboxes today are crowded. Standard solicitation emails are hitting promotions folders or even spam if good deliverability practices aren’t upheld. If you are looking to separate yourself from the noise, you need to find a way to capture customer attention in a human way. 

Personal video is a channel that can deliver on that goal. 


Written by Casey Hill, Head of Growth at Bonjoro. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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