Donor market analysis the foundation of fundraising
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Donor Market Analysis : The Foundation of Fundraising. Thomas P. Holland, Ph.D., Professor UGA Institute for Nonprofit Organizations. Marketing perspectives on fundraising for nonprofit organizations.

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Donor Market Analysis : The Foundation of Fundraising

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Donor market analysis the foundation of fundraising

Donor Market Analysis:The Foundation of Fundraising

Thomas P. Holland, Ph.D., Professor

UGA Institute for Nonprofit Organizations

Marketing perspectives on fundraising for nonprofit organizations

Marketing perspectives on fundraising for nonprofit organizations

  • We are accustomed to thinking of actual and potential consumers of our programs in terms of market segments.

  • Donors are another whole area of essential constituents of our organization.

  • Applying basic concepts of marketing to donor audiences can open up fresh perspectives and steps.

Most nonprofits have two key constituencies

Most nonprofits have two key constituencies

  • Clients or consumers for whom the organization exists and to whom goods and services are provided, and

  • Donors (and volunteers) who provide the majority of resources necessary for the organization’s services to take place.

  • Sometimes these overlap (membership association) but more often they do not (homeless shelter).

  • Dual constituencies make marketing complex, as the needs and interests of both must be addressed.

Marketing is an external orientation

Marketing is an external orientation

  • Most staff are internally focused, concerned with quality of projects and programs.

  • The external environment is increasingly complex, competitive, and demanding about accountability and responsiveness.

  • Our intended supporters’ points of view, needs & interests are vital to our success.

  • Other organizations that are more attentive and responsive will successfully compete for our donors and their resources.

  • So we must identify our specific donor audiences and then find out what each wants, in what forms and ways of delivery. Ask them.

Market segmentation

Market segmentation

  • Look for natural groupings among possible donors, based on needs & interests (such as age, sex, geographic location, status, employment, income, marital status, developmental stage, motivations)

  • Who is involved with us? Why? How often? In what ways? What motivates them to do so (quality, benefits, contacts, specialty, variety, recognition)? Think in terms of concentric circles of levels of engagement.

  • For each segment, How do they evaluate their involvement? What alternatives are available to them? What should we do to expand their involvement with us?

  • Identify the most relevant targets and approaches to each group, and then tailor our approaches to the relevant characteristics of each individual.

  • Get their views and input early; don’t make assumptions that you already know anything about their views.

Supporters and organization must share in the mission

Supporters and organization must share in the mission

  • If it is based upon donor concerns and interests, there will be energy and resources to achieve shared goals.

  • The organization must know what criteria actual and potentialdonors are using to judge the success of its performance.

  • Activities must be consistent with shared core values or there will be little chance of achieving donor satisfaction.

Aspects of effective reciprocal relationships with sponsors

Aspects of effective reciprocal relationships with sponsors

  • Each group is necessary for the other to succeed. Both must receive adequate benefits in order to be successful.

  • Organization must involve donors to accomplish its goals. Forms of engagement must be tailored to their identified interests.

  • Messages of encouragement, solicitation, and benefit are sent by those inside the organization to those outside, while messages of acceptance, displeasure, and encouragement are sent from those outside to those within the organization.

Appealing to donors

Appealing to donors

  • There must be some degree of current interest in the topic for people to respond to overtures from the organization

  • Information presented by the organization must be compatible with listeners’ prior values & attitudes for them to be receptive

  • People respond in differing ways to same material, and their response depends on their beliefs and attitudes.

  • We must understand each potential sponsor’s interests and tailor our approaches to match.

  • Example: packaging aspects of the organization to appeal for donor support (naming opportunities)

Understanding sponsors needs and interests

Understanding sponsors’ needs and interests

  • Who are our targets? Specific groups and individuals.

  • What are the key segments (sub-groups) and persons of influence within those groups?

  • What are the needs/ interests of each? Ask.

  • What business do they think we’re in?

  • How much interest or awareness do our activities generate among them?

  • How satisfied are they with our output? Good fit?

  • What are our competitors doing about these issues?

  • Do we have any distinctions that allow us to be in a more attractive position than our competitors to appeal to potential sponsors?

Trends in donor markets influencing their views of us

Trends in donor markets influencing their views of us

  • The external environment is increasingly turbulent, unstable, changing

  • Supporters want more control, and loyalty cannot be assumed

  • Informal networking is less reliable as source for money, volunteers, publicity

  • Public policies are changing

  • Demands for accountability are rising

  • While some nonprofits are paying attention to such changes, most are not

More trends relevant to donors

More trends relevant to donors

  • People are less loyal to old, familiar organizations; brand loyalty diminishing

  • People have fewer close friends or long-term commitments; more transience

  • Average age is increasing

  • People distrust large organizations, and interest in joining organizations as formal member is declining

  • Investment in civic activities has diminished

  • Technology emphasizes quick responses

  • Choices among options, brief engagement, and privacy are valued

To respond we must be clear about

To respond, we must be clear about

  • What exactly is our mission, and how should we carry it out?

  • How do our actual and potential supporters view our mission? Will they support it? Why?

  • How will we identify and communicate our goals?

  • What approaches to supporters will best fit with our mission and best appeal to them? Ask them.

  • How will we present the organization in ways that are positively noticed and valued by them?

  • How will we organize our efforts to engage them so we will be successful in accomplishing our goals?

  • How will we make best use of their resources to sustain our programs? Ask them.

The self interest aspect exchange

The self-interest aspect: Exchange

  • Marketing involves identifying how to get the desired response from those people the organization has targeted for involvement.

  • People voluntarily give up something (time, money) in exchange for benefits they see as more valuable (recognition, involvement, friendship, worthiness).

  • There are costs & benefits on both sides. They must be in balance to create satisfied sponsors and a successful organization.

Aspects of successful exchanges

Aspects of successful exchanges

  • Each party in the transaction should sense that they are receiving more than they are giving up.

  • The nonprofit must understand what supporters want and how it truly provides them their expected benefits.

  • The nonprofit must satisfy efficiently and effectively its half of the transaction.

  • Are we truly adding value for them?

  • By building on its strengths, the organization can better engage sponsors and strengthen their loyalty.

12 key questions for developing a strong marketing strategy

12 key questions for developing a strong marketing strategy

  • 1. What services does this organization provide? How clearly are they grounded in our mission?

  • 2. Who are our intended sponsors? What segments (interest groups) are there among them? How well do we know the specific needs and interests of each?

  • 3. What characteristics and interests of our sponsors are most relevant to the design of steps to engage them?

Key questions continued

Key questions continued

  • 4. Who are our sources of income? What steps are necessary to secure, diversify, and sustain support from each of them?

  • 5. What are the best ways to understand the interests of actual and potential sponsors? Answer: by asking them.

  • 6. What factors are relevant to deciding what benefits we offer them? What impacts do those answers have on success of recruitment efforts?

More key questions

More key questions

  • 7. What are their preferred ways for us to communicate with them and keep them informed about our programs?

  • 8. What influences our intended supporters’ motivations to become and then stay engaged with this organization? Their criteria?

  • 9. How can we package aspects of our organization so they appeal to donors?

  • 10. What alternative sources for engagement are available to them, and how do those sources influence the appeal of our organization?

Key questions concluded

Key questions concluded

  • 11. Are our sponsors satisfied with what they are getting from their engagement with this organization? (periodic assessments)

  • 12. What steps should we take to improve and enlarge their engagement with us?Such as:

    • Fine-tune and tailor efforts, diversify them with horizontal or vertical additions, improve quality, reduce costs, change location, heighten attraction

    • reach people earlier or in more effective ways

    • anticipate future interests and prepare to address them before our competitors do

Components of marketing strategy

Components of marketing strategy

  • 1. Mission, purposes of organization’s existence, must guide all our actions

  • 2. Programs depend on supporters’ interests (requiring market research using demographic analysis, focus groups, individual conversations)

  • 3. Knowledge of competition: what are they doing and how do those actions impact us and our actual and potential sponsors?

  • 4. Identify and use our competitive advantages: Are we distinctive because of highest quality, best networking opportunities, most appropriate forms of recognition, lowest costs for them, most respected staff, most highly endorsed programs?

Steps to a competitive strategy

Steps to a competitive strategy

  • Gather information on market conditions and supporters’ interests

  • Identify avenues to donor acceptance by asking them for input, suggestions.

  • Every member of our organization must approach work in terms of engaging supporters.

  • Emphasize that accomplishments of this organization are due to supporters’ efforts

  • Specify goals and action steps for engaging them

  • Monitor results and publicize them

  • Use appropriate and tailored forms of recognition

  • Modify programs (and people) that do not engage sponsors and produce results

Commitment is crucial

Commitment is crucial

  • Everyone must be fully committed to meeting supporters’ interests, from board and top management on down through all staff

  • Articulate our strengths and weaknesses

  • Always tell the absolute truth about the organization and its programs. Integrity builds trust.

  • Explain actions in light of mission and goals

  • Put our explanations in supporters’ terms

  • Focus on the key donor issues critical to the organization’s success

  • Communicate with them in their preferred approaches and media

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