A Good Non-Profit Marketing Strategy? Use Data to Find Your Best Donors & Lookalikes

Non-profit marketing strategy data lookalikesOne of the best ways to increase your response rate and turn non-active donors into active donors is to create a non-profit marketing strategy that uses your own data to figure out who your “best” donors actually are and to then use that data to find "lookalikes."

What constitutes your “best” donors is based on your particular non-profit’s unique needs and business model. The first step in determining who your best donors are starts with understanding those factors and then imputing them into your database. Then, with proper analysis and database management, it's a matter of running the algorithm to find your best donors. Once this group has been determined, you can use them as a model for creating lookalikes which can be a powerful targeting opportunity. Lookalikes are potential donors or volunteers whose key characteristics match those of your best donors. You can also put your best donors into different "buckets" and determine what factors motivate each group, allowing you to spend your non-profit marketing dollars where they will do the most good.

By understanding your database and mapping the information out, you’ll be able to put together a comprehensive communications plan that will:

  • make your messaging more relevant to potential donors
  • lead to stronger donor engagement
  • improve your fundraising capabilities
  • advance your mission

In order to create a good non-profit marketing strategy, you have to start by collecting good data. Some of the questions you should be asking yourself are:

  • Who are your best donors?
  • What do they look like?
  • What are their attributes?
  • What kind of demographic information do you have for each of your donors?
    • If so, are they the right ones?
    • How do you determine they are the right ones?

When deciding if they are the right ones, it helps to compare the potential donors to your ideal donors. For example, some of the traits you might look for could be income, age, education, whether or not they have children, investable assets or behavioral and mission engagement data.

  • What kind of qualities do the best donors possess?
  • Do they have the desire to give?
  • Do they have the means to give?

Developing a model of your existing donors based on their donation history, demographic, psychographic and engagement information helps you to separate the active donors, the lapsed donors and the potential donors into groups.

Find your best donorsSoon, you should start to see patterns emerge. This will allow you to predict and anticipate behavior so you can start to see who your best donors are. Then, you’ll want to take all of these groups and divide them into manageable buckets. This will give you a much clearer picture on how to create your strategic communications strategy.

Then, once you have this essential information, you can begin formulating strategies that will relate to your non-profit organization and, in turn, make it easier to search for their lookalikes in databases and through prospecting. 

Gathering this kind of data will also help you create messaging that is more relevant, which allows you to be able to reach donors on a more individualized and personal level. This will also give insight into which mode of communication will be the most effective. A successful integrated communications plan should create awareness, cultivate new relationships and ultimately, increase giving.

Ideas for finding non-profit donorsGood luck! And remember, understanding your best donors is an evolving process. Circumstances are always changing. By frequently analyzing your results and updating your non-profit marketing strategy, you’ll be able to optimize your predictions and gain insights into how to improve performance. That way you can increase your response rate and reach your communications goal of turning non-active donors into active donors. And with lookalikes, you add more good prospects into the mix. 

For more non-profit marketing strategy ideas, check out our other posts on strategies that work for gaining volunteers and strategies that work for finding and attracting influencers

MichaelMichael Morin, waist deep in non-profit data (and loving it)

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