4 Steps to Build a Powerful Donor Engagement Scorecard
Today it’s not enough to simply have a great product or mission, great organizations must be intentional in creating a positive customer experience. Customer experience is how customers perceive their interactions with your organization, which greatly influences their loyalty and likelihood to recommend or evangelize the organization.
In the digital age, a poor experience can be amplified at the touch of a button, and the same can be said for a positive one. Specific moments in the customer’s experience can make or break the opportunity to develop deeply personal relationships with organizations. Customer engagement is the intentional and continuous cultivation of a relationship between the organization and the customer that goes beyond a simple transaction; it is part of the customer experience. And every engagement is an opportunity to create value and build loyalty, so being able to measure engagement is a key component to creating strong customer experiences.
So, how is this applied to nonprofit organizations where terms like “transactions” and “customers” don’t always feel like a good fit? Research has demonstrated that more engaged constituents are more likely to take actions that are valued by the organization, and an important tool to evaluate this is an engagement scorecard. An engagement scorecard allows organizations to both harness the power of the current constituent data and enable the identification of natural and meaningful actions, messages and requests to appeal to the target audience and deepen their relationships with the organization. It provides a customized path based on a hierarchy of what is valued by the constituent and the organization and allows organizations to assign numerical value to evaluate actions objectively, set targets, and measure success.
Here are the four key steps to build an engagement scorecard.
1. Identify what constituent roles, actions and interactions are most important to the organization. Organizations can identify key activities and highly valued interactions with the help of internal stakeholders that provide opportunities for this type of interaction. Also, seek input from constituents about what is valued by performing in-depth interviews and conducting surveys not only about current interactions, but also about future or potential opportunities for engagement.
2. Glean insights from the organization’s current data. This step varies greatly depending on what data the organization has but could include a deep dive into what different audiences look like demographically, what types of products and services are used, what channels drive engagement, etc. The goals are not only to expand the knowledge around constituent activity, but also to assist in the creation of future interactions and provide insights to inform things such as look-alike campaigns. If there are gaps with the organization's first-party data, a third party can be engaged to enhance data.
3. Determine the engagement opportunities that are most valuable to the organization, and assign numerical values based on this evaluation. Fueled by research performed in steps one and two, determine the time frame for consideration and assign values. Assign the greatest value to what is the most important to the organization — what ties directly to the mission and vision. It is helpful to have a trusted partner guide the development to reduce internal biases. Consider both availability of the information as well as the frequency with which data can be refreshed, information that is easy to access and automate is ideal for an engagement scorecard.
4. Evaluate the information in the scorecard for insights that will assist in the development of ideal constituent experiences and drive greater loyalty to the organization. Empowered with an engagement scorecard, organizations can identify natural and meaningful actions, messages and requests that directly appeal to the target audience.
Individuals interact with nonprofit organizations in a variety of ways and for a multitude of reasons — all of which can change over time. Insights from an engagement scorecard are best paired with strong outreach strategies and technologies to support creating meaningful constituent experiences.
Jackie Conrad is a marketing strategy executive with more than 20 years of experience helping organizations and brands tell their story, engage their constituents and achieve their goals. A forward-thinking leader, Jackie has worked with Fortune 500 companies and start up organizations — and has a proven track record of leveraging this experience specifically to help nonprofit organizations. She is currently vice president of customer strategy at Merkle, where she works with some of the best nonprofit brands in the world to build meaningful and lasting constituent relationships.