Forbes: 11 Key Benefits Of Customizing Your Nonprofit’s Donor Experience

As a nonprofit agency, you likely rely heavily on the generosity of like-minded donors. When you personalize your supporters’ experience with your organization, it can have a huge impact on your reach and donation amounts. A personal touch helps them feel more involved with your mission, making them more likely to continue donating.

To help, we asked 11 members of Forbes Nonprofit Council why customizing your interactions with your organization’s supporters is so beneficial. Here’s why they believe it’s important to tailor the donor experience.

Forbes Nonprofit Council members share reasons to customize interactions with supporters. 

1. Supporters Can Engage With You Based On Their Interests

At our university, we focus on teaching, service and research. All three core activities create opportunities to engage our supporters based on their interests. Our successful alumni enjoy being guest presenters in classes or sponsoring work-based interns at their companies while others like to work alongside our faculty and students on community service projects. Stakeholder engagement is key. – Christopher Washington, Franklin University

2. You Can Humanize Your Work

The biggest benefit is that you get to humanize your work, build unique relationships based on reciprocity and turn your allies into ambassadors. It’s never a one-size-fits-all experience. Tailoring your interactions lets you really connect with what is important to that donor. In turn, your supporters form a bond with your organization that leads to ongoing support that can weather many challenges.  – Howard Schiffer, Vitamin Angels

3. You Can Directly Ask What’s Important To Your Donors

When we customize our engagement, we are able to ask our donors what is important to them. Our mission is at the center of all we do, but being able to match how we achieve this mission along with how/when we communicate to our supporters can vary. Customizing our engagement also provides very valuable feedback. – Tom Van Winkle, Hinsdale Humane Society

4. Donors Will Feel Appreciated As People

It is important for nonprofits to cultivate a donor experience that shows that you are not just asking for money.  Personalizing interactions with supporters will ultimately show that you appreciate your donors as people and will facilitate sympathy with your cause at an individual level. When donors feel appreciated, they are more likely to give and support your organization.   – Alejandra Guzman, New Orleans Business Alliance

5. It Shows Donors How Their Goals Align With Yours

A benefit of customizing interactions with your organization’s supporters includes the ability to demonstrate authentic engagement. Canned or generic engagement creates missed opportunities to acknowledge the nuances inherent in every relationship. Supporters have reasons for supporting an organization; customized engagement helps them see how their goals align with those of the organization.  – Yolanda Watson Spiva, Complete College America, Inc.

6. They’ll Continue To Support You

One benefit of customizing donor outreach is continued support from that donor. A personalized approach shows you value the donor and their interest. – Charles A. Archer, One Hope United

7. You Can Gather Direct Feedback From Them

When our nonprofit builds up a memorial center or library, we value donors by keeping records of visual or audio messages from them in our digital lab. For example, we provide a telephone kiosk-like space for individuals to record their expectations. – Kevin Xu, Mebo International

8. You Can Pair Their Passion With Appropriate Opportunities

Find the fit and pair the passion. If it takes work to position a donor or stakeholder within the mission of the nonprofit, it may be destined to fail. Listen closely to the donor’s passion, intent and ideas about how to engage with the organization and then direct their support and involvement accordingly. The collaboration will grow from there. – Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation

9. You Can Move Donors From Awareness To Advocacy

Our hope and aim is to move donors from awareness to advocacy. Advocates for your organization come as the result of their belief they are “owners” and part of of the mission. That ownership is the result of that customized interaction. We should answer the question, “How do we help our people become owners of the mission?” – Bill High, The Signatry

10. You Will Become Valuable To Your Donors

There’s no substitute for knowing and engaging with your donor. Build a relationship with them so that when they receive an appeal or letter from you, they value it enough to read it and respond. – Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc.

11. You Will Form Lasting Bonds With Your Supporters

When you and your donors are able to empathize with one another, it means that you really have arrived. Forming bonds with your supporters that last over and beyond just fundraising is one major benefit of implementing consumerization/customization in interactions with your organization’s supporters. Strong relationships are a must to thrive in this business.  – Patrick Coleman, GiveCentral

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