The 2015 AMA Conference, Stay Curious: redefining, reimagining and reinventing our relationship with the public is in partnership with Spektrix. Here, Libby Penn, Managing Director, explores how to bridge the gap between fundraising and marketing teams.
Fundraising has changed. We can’t rely on state funding anymore, private foundations have raised the bar for accountability and with shrinking disposable income, individual giving is being squeezed. At the same time, this makes fundraising more important than ever – no other department can communicate the vitality of an organisation’s work to the community like the fundraising department can.
So what needs to change? For one thing, fundraising teams and marketing teams need to join up their understanding of their audiences, sharing data to work more effectively together and speaking to donors and potential donors in a way that recognises their relationship to your organisation at every touchpoint. The key to bridging that gap is data.
Your customer database contains masses of information about your audiences. Marketing teams are used to working with customer databases to segment and make meaning of it. In fact, they’re probably already working with segments who have the potential to become donors without even knowing it. A 2012 report by Arts Quarter analysed the databases of 126 British arts organisations and discovered that on average 3.4% of individuals in the databases had a personal wealth over £1m. It’s possible to uncover these potential major donors by analysing their spending habits, their attendance frequency, donation amounts, memberships and postcodes.
In addition to major donors, there will also likely be a large group of regular supporters who can give small amounts and a smaller sized group of mid-scale donors you can identify for further giving opportunities, whether that’s through bigger or more frequent donations or by suggesting a membership that matches their level of engagement with your organisation.
Once you’ve identified your segments, the key is to develop effective, targeted communications. Since marketing will likely already be communicating with them regularly, you’ll need to figure out who communicates about what and when. For example, your marketing team could exclude potential major donors from their regular communications and let fundraising look after them on a more personal basis.
The marketing team might also be able to help you develop more personalised communications informed by data about your customers’ interests from their previous booking history, including what shows your potential donors have expressed an interest in. However their behaviour in response to historical email communication can give you some clues too. For example, marketing data should be able to tell you what their preferred method of communication is, whether that’s emails or brochures. It might also be able to tell you what links they click on the most so you can find out what aspect of your community outreach work interests them. Using this, develop personalised communications about fundraising, but also don’t forget to use this information to match your giving opportunities to their interests.
Bridging the gap for your donors’ experience of your organisation also means using data to connect fundraising with your box office. Your box office team should be alerted when a potential donor is due to collect their tickets and be reminded that this patron is of particular importance. This will put you in a much stronger position when it comes to making the ask.
By changing the way your teams work together you can transform the relationships you have with your supporters. And achieving this change through data is just the beginning. For more on developing strategies to put fundraising campaigns at the heart of your organisation, download our whitepaper.