ProSpeak: Where Lies the Future of Digital?
If there’s a link, we can track it. But digital fundraising isn’t bound by links. It may surprise you, but the future of digital is actually offline. It encompasses all forms of marketing, video, advertising, direct response, social, branded websites, maps, search, third-party review platforms, brick-and-mortar locations, events, etc.
This may sound bizarre, but it’s truly a paradigm shift. We all live in a multiscreen, multidevice world. And while there continue to be tried-and-true direct-response tactics that work across media, we cannot rely solely on what has worked in the past.
We must develop a new way of looking at things, a new focus. A new normal demands new strategies, where having adequate data is not good enough; complete data is necessary.
Screen shifting (or sequential usage as Google likes to call it) is prevalent, and multiscreen, simultaneous usage is on the rise. Only 10 percent of our daily media interactions come from nonscreen sources like radio, newspapers and magazines. But context is king, and it drives our choices as to which device or screen to use and when.
Nonprofits (and businesses) need to understand all the ways that people consume media and stop thinking in terms of “digital” or “traditional,” and tailor strategies across channels. Marketers, too, need to streamline work flows and develop comprehensive sets of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure we’re collecting the data needed at the quality level required to truly and effectively leverage the power of the screens.
Too much data?
Without well-thought-out SOPs, we risk being overloaded and quickly burnt out by too much data. There is simply so much data available — all of which can provide greater insight into our donors and supporters. It falls to us to make goal-oriented decisions about which data is significant and which is tangential. Plus, we still have the ability to obtain self-reported information from donors and supporters. We know this is some of the most telling and powerful data we can gather — people like to be heard and asked. Here are four things you can do right now to improve your data.
1. Define your goals
Strategic, measurable and trackable fundraising goals must be defined up front. “Increase engagement” is too vague. I’m a big fan of SMART goals, which give us accountability and allow for regular progress reports:
2. Be willing to cut your losses
It’s scary, but we must let go of the way we have always done things. Nonprofits have a hard time understanding that their databases of donors, members or potential customers may not be worth anything anymore. Few are comfortable with the prospect of dumping 75 percent, 50 percent or even 20 percent from their rolls, but it’s time to recognize that too much effort is being directed toward prospects who are unlikely to convert. The Pareto principle, or 80/20 rule, tells us that 80 percent of donations typically comes from 20 percent of donors. Accepting this rule of thumb goes a long way toward helping nonprofits and other organizations cut their losses and move forward.
3. Maintain data
Once an organization has established a cutoff point and started anew from data point B, there must be controls in place to assure data remains clean and consistent moving forward. Important steps include doing database merge-purges and simple tasks such as updating email account information to maintain the integrity of the clean data.
4. Build source code logic
It’s imperative to build comprehensive source code logic that, by channel, tracks conversion (what campaign, what type of creative, what hook, what date, what time of year, etc.). Simply put, there is no such thing as a single-channel donor. No one spends all his or her time using just one medium. Source code builders must think from a consumer or donor standpoint and build a source code logic that is comprehensive and flexible enough to capture as many scenarios as possible. Perhaps 100 percent capture is impossible, but 80 percent is realistic.
The entire process can be labor-intensive. However, if you invest the time and energy up front into building your SOPs and training your staff, the investment of time and resources more than pays for itself over the long run.