New Techniques for Donor Profiling and Audience Modeling
We know that more targeted and relevant marketing drives higher response rates and engagement. And to get more targeted and relevant, you need great data. It’s no surprise that your list is the most influential component of a successful direct mail campaign because who you’re reaching is the first — and most important — step. So that means that before any marketing outreach, your nonprofit must answer the question of why you’re targeting that specific list.
And the best, most powerful owned list is your own house file data.
Your house file typically includes name, email, phone number, postal address and the donor history with the organization. That donor history should include a record of dollar amount, frequency and the last donation. These are used to create recency, frequency, monetary value (RFM) models to help create more relevant and targeted marketing programs to your existing house file.
This baseline is an important starting point to leverage your own golden vault of customers, but it’s only the starting point.
Now that the world of consumer data has become more interesting in recent years, the possibilities to knit offline and online sources can help any organization use their available data to create new models, audiences and pools of targeted prospects that look just like their best donors.
Let’s dive in!
Use Hash Email for Online Audience Building for Facebook and Google Ads
When you create an ad for Facebook, you’re probably building an audience based on age, gender, interest in nonprofits, interest in your nonprofit cause (pets, homelessness, liberal politics, etc.), and maybe some geographic information as well. The platform will use those parameters to leverage the Facebook algorithm and find users who match that audience profile. Then, after rounds of ads and performance, the algorithm gets better and the audience is honed to a finer and more relevant group.
That’s a general approach that starts with a wide focus that is later narrowed down. Now you have something even better — the emails of your actual donors. While you’re not allowed to upload actual emails into Facebook or Google Ad networks — that violates personal identifiable information (PII), you are allowed to upload hashed emails.
This process takes the emails and then anonymizes each one to a unique identifier that doesn’t look like an email. It actually looks like a gobbledegook string: e375693e4c15c1c6e51c75616539bcc1. But this is a magic gobbledegook string that Facebook or Google can recognize, and then use to target your audience. Then, as more of your own donors are targeted, the algorithms create a more refined audience based on your actual donors.
Create Look-Alike Audiences Based on Your Own Donors
When you have donor information, such as name and postal address, you can use that combination to unlock a host of demographic data and append that to your list. Because this added information is an append, there is no violation of privacy. And, the append can show you so much more about your donors, such as: age, gender, marital status, presence of children, home value and household income.
This is called a “donor profile.” You can use the donor profile as the criteria for a prospecting mailing list. So beyond just “donors to nonprofits,” you can target people based on the demographics of your best donors.
In addition, you can group these folks into “clusters,” which are common data groupings of people who have similar behaviors and attributes. One such cluster, “social chimers,” groups people of similar ages, income and digital activity.
By taking your best donors and profiling them, you can use a look-alike model to generate a list of new donors that look like your best donors. The new prospects you’re targeting look like your best donors.
Develop Modeled Data From Your Donors and CRM Database
Model data uses that same look-alike audience, and then matches an equal portion of non-donors to show differences between the tendencies, behavior, purchases and actual actions those consumers are taking.
Models will categorize data into deciles like eight to 10 demographics, along with 50-plus behavior trends. What does this do for you? It helps you compare what your current donors look like versus a comparative set of non-donors and see where your donors over- or under-index. What does that mean? It shows you the behavior and intent proportionally of your best donors. For example, if the national average for “owns pets” is 66% (which is up from pre-pandemic surveys), and your donor base averages 72%, that means you over-index on pet ownership.
Data technology and accessibility will continue to advance, and the stitching together of offline and online data will become more sophisticated and commonplace.
To learn more about what’s possible with your own data to create more relevant, data-driven marketing programs, start an exploratory conversation with a few data companies. You’ll be amazed at what’s out there, what’s possible, and how it can help you better target future donors more likely to respond.
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.