7 ways to really get to know your supporters (and improve fundraising ROI)

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A tall tree, highlighting the need for charity advert analysis.

How well do you know your supporters? Be honest, now.

The reason we ask is because whilst most charities think they have a pretty good understanding of who their supporters are, but when it comes to it, they don’t.

However, the competition for support is fierce, and if you want to get better at attracting, retaining, and growing support so that you can meet your goals and improve fundraising ROI, it all comes down to one thing: how well you know and understand your supporters.

But despite all this, research from the 2022 Supporter Experience report shows that more than one in 10 charities say they never define supporter needs. It’s no wonder, then, that the 2023 Charity Digital Skills Report found that using data insights effectively is up there as one of the top priorities for the charity sector.

With that in mind, if you want to start 2024 as you mean to go on, read on to discover seven ways to get to know your supporters – and boost that all important fundraising ROI while you’re at it, too!

How to get to know your supporters and boost fundraising ROI

1. Segment your audience

First things first, if you’re going to get to know your supporters and ensure they feel understood and appreciated, you need to segment your data and create in-depth donor profiles.

Sure, most charities have a pretty good understanding of who their general supporters are, but most charities also simply take a scattershot approach to growing support. By that we mean they get their message out to as many people as possible hoping that more people will support them.

But in 2024, you need to go one step further and go beyond basic understanding by accessing key information so you can get a 360-degree view of your audience. You need to appeal to your supporters as individuals if you are going to nurture long, profitable relationships with them.

What are their needs? Motivations? Their values? What drives them and moves them? What’s their sense of purpose? By painting a detailed picture of your supporters, you can access the information you need to make sure they feel appreciated, understood, and valued – and that they can make a real difference, too.

2. Use data to get to grips with donation habits

Another way to get to know your supporters is by using analytics to understand your supporters’ donation habits.

By looking at metrics such as past donation amounts, frequency of giving, recency of giving, lifetime value, and total ROI per supporter, you can gain an understanding of your supporters’ behaviour and access insights that can help to guide your fundraising programmes and improve ROI.

A great example of this is using predictive analytics to identify your loyal supporters and potential high-value donors. Once you’ve pinpointed your most valuable supporters, you can prioritise your fundraising campaigns to make sure you are engaging with people who will deliver the best fundraising ROI.

3. Use predictive analytics for hyper-personalised communications

We all know that personalisation is important. Whether it’s including your supporters’ names in communications or tapping into their emotions by sharing content they are interested in, personalisation is a sure-fire way to win people over.

It works. According to a study by Salesforce, a whopping 70% of people say a company’s understanding of their unique needs shapes a sense of loyalty.

But hyper-personalisation runs deeper. It’s what builds loyalty and converts occasional givers to loyal, long-term supporters.

You can predict what your supporters want to do next and make it easy for them to get there, all through using your data, ultimately delivering a hyper-personalised experience and increasing that all-important fundraising ROI.

4. Make sure you communicate in the right way

Another important thing to know about your supporters is how they want to engage with you so you can ensure you are communicating with them as effectively as possible.

Gathering information on when, where, and how supporters use different channels can help you understand which marketing and social media strategies will engage with your audience, ensuring you’re talking to your supporters via the right channels.

Plus, with data analysis, you can understand how relevant each donor touchpoint is so you can determine which channels are right for your marketing, allowing you to tweak your marketing strategy accordingly.

5. You don’t ask, you don’t get!

It’s not all about analytics, though – which we know is a surprising thing for a data agency to say.

However, the truth is that if you want to truly get to know your supporters and create an experience that keeps them coming back for more, you need to ask them for feedback so you can understand what it is they want.

Basically, if there are any gaps in your data or any info you’re missing that is preventing you from giving your supporters the experience you need, there’s no better way to find out what you could be doing better than by asking!

6. Review what you’re currently doing to see what works

Another way to use your data to get to know your supporters is by looking at your campaign metrics to determine how your supporters are responding to your fundraising campaigns, benchmarking what you’re currently doing, and making improvements for the future.

Charity advert analysis and analysing key metrics such as campaign response, click through rates, and churn rates, is an ideal way to identify which campaigns are performing and where they aren’t quite hitting the mark.

When you understand how and why your audience currently engage with your campaigns and getting to grips with what resonates with them, you can make improvements, improve response rates and prompt levels, and identify any cross-sell opportunities – all of which enables you to increase ROI too.

7. Reach out to the experts

Finally, one of the best ways to get to know your supporters and improve your fundraising ROI is to enlist the help of an expert data agency.

When you work with a specialist data agency such as Wood for Trees, our team of awesome analysts will model and present your data in ways to drive insight and action, so you can cut through the noise and get to know your supporters’ wants and needs.

At Wood for Trees, our data wizards will help you make sense of your data so you can optimise your communications, provide structure and strategy to your programmes, and target your supporters in the right way, ultimately empowering to increase engagement and increase fundraising ROI.

Want to properly get to know your supporters?

As charity data experts, we understand the challenges fundraisers face and know how to use data to give them the answers they need.

At Wood for Trees, we help make things happen through data analytics, insight, and systems and will use a variety of tools and techniques from segmentation and charity advert analysis to forecasting, combined with clever storytelling and data visualisations, to help you unlock the power of your data so you truly understand your supporters.

To find out more about how our team can help you unlock the value of your data and improve fundraising ROI, contact us today to learn more.