Improving the supporter journey: how charity data analysis can help

Back to Blog
Improving the supporter journey

It’s no secret that supporter journeys are crucial. To succeed as a charity, you need to keep your supporters engaged.

Whether you want to raise more money, attract new donors, or retain existing ones, a strong supporter experience is absolutely essential in today’s climate where it’s harder than ever to keep your supporters.

Not only is there the ongoing cost-of-living crisis to grapple with, resulting in more charities competing for a shrinking pool of donations, but consumers today have high expectations and want to feel valued – and donors have come to expect the same levels of service when it comes to charities, too.

Your supporter journey is a vital part of your charity’s fundraising strategy, and understanding and improving that journey can significantly enhance the relationship between your charitiyes and its supporters.

So, how do you do it? By putting your supporters at the heart of your fundraising activities, and using charity data science to optimise your supporter journeys and strengthen the effectiveness of your campaigns. Read on to find out more…

Understanding the supporter journey

The supporter journey encompasses the entire lifecycle of your supporters’ interactions with your charity, from the very first touchpoint they have with you to ongoing engagement. It’s how they go from first-time donors to committed believers.

From how simple it is to donate and how positive the donor experience is, to how valued they feel, the strength of your supporter journey can set you apart from the competition. But each supporter and their journey is different, which is why, when it comes to creating exceptional supporter experiences, guesswork just doesn’t cut it.

More than half of charities told the 2022 Charity Digital Skills report that using data and insights more effectively was a priority for their organisation. So, with that in mind, don’t miss these top tips on how to use charity data analysis to improve your supporter journeys…

7 ways charity data analysis can help to improve the supporter journey

1. Get to know your supporters

The first step to improving your supporter journey is by getting to know your supporters and what makes them tick – and using your data enables you to go one step further and access key information and data points to ensure you truly understand your supporters

By segmenting your supporters and creating supporter personas based on various criteria such as demographics, donation history, and engagement levels, you can bring your data to life and get to grips with who your supporters are and how they support you, so you can determine the best way to communicate with them.

By using a combination of behavioural models, attitudinal models, data from your CRM and external data, you can segment your supporters, identify what motivates them, and uncover their attitudes to giving. Then, you can optimise your communications and ensure you engage with them in the most appropriate way.

2. Analyse the existing journey

If you’re going to improve your supporter journey and create a supporter experience that gets results, you then need to look at your existing supporter journey to determine what you are doing right or wrong.

Journey mapping is used to map out how donors move through their journeys and is an incredibly useful tool to help you create a better giving experience. Through which channels are most supporters acquired? Where are most supporters abandoning their journeys? Which appeals are most popular? What brought them to your website? What are their hurdles to donating?

Answering these questions and looking at statistics such as donor retention rate, the lifetime value of donors, and information such as email open rates and bounce rates, means you can paint a picture of your current supporter journey.

For example, if your retention rates are low but your acquisition rates are high, you might be doing a great job at attracting supporters, but something is going wrong during their journey that is putting them off sticking around. Likewise, if your acquisition rates are low, you might find that you are targeting the wrong supporters in the first place.

Data analytics allow you to understand the supporter journey at each touch point, access meaningful insights, and figure out what’s working and what’s not so you can identify areas for improvement and plug the gaps picked up by the data.

3. Personalise the experience

It should come as no surprise that personal journeys drastically improve donor retention and loyalty. In fact, when you personalise your supporter experience, it can have a huge impact on your reach and donation amounts.

In today’s digital world, it’s never been more important to get personal, as proven by a Salesforce study which found that personalised emails improve click-through rates by 29% and lead to a 41% increase in email revenue, whilst 71% of people today expect brands to provide personalised interactions.

Your supporters want to feel valued. It’s as simple as that. 84% of people say that being treated like an individual rather than another statistic has a huge impact on what brands they support – and the same is true when it comes to charities.

By leveraging your data, you can create donor-centric, personalised communication and engagement strategies for each supporter segment, creating compelling messages and ensuring that your supporters receive relevant, target content that improves the supporter experience.

4. Use predictive analytics to anticipate needs

Another way to use charity data analysis to improve your supporter journey is by using analytics to understand your supporters’ donation habits.

Doing so can help you get to grips with things such as past donation amounts, frequency of giving, recency of giving, and also lifetime value and total ROI per supporter, allowing you to gain insights that can help to guide your fundraising programmes.

In addition, predictive analytics also enables you to anticipate supporter behaviour and needs, so you can address any concerns or provide information before your supporters even know they need it.

This proactive approach to supporter experience can foster a sense of care and consideration, making your supporters feel valued – and yep, you guessed it, ensure your supporter journey is as positive as possible.

5. Communicate in the right way

This is all very well and good, but if you are going to make sure your supporter journey is great rather than just good, you need to make sure you are communicating with your supporters in a way that works for them.

For example, do your supporters want regular communication or not? Do they respond to email communications? Or do they prefer good old-fashioned print? Is there a social media platform they use the most, and if so, when are they likely to log on?

With comprehensive data analysis, you can understand how relevant each donor touchpoint is so you can determine which channels are right for your marketing. This allows you to optimise your supporter journey and tailor your communications to ensure you are talking to your supporters in the way they prefer.

6. Analyse supporter feedback

Another important way to use charity data to improve your support journey is by analysing supporter feedback.

Whether through surveys or social media, supporter feedback can provide valuable insights into satisfaction levels and also help to identify areas for improvement.

You can then use this information to refine your strategies and enhance the supporter journey, demonstrating to your supporters that their opinions are important to you and showing them that you are responsive to their concerns.

7. Continuously monitor and improve

When it comes to making changes to your existing supporter journey, any changes you make should depend on experimentation.

Often, the best solutions to friction might not be clear straight away – however, by using data analysis and charity data science, you can access quantitative metrics such as lifetime value and engagement.

Long-term metrics measure supporter engagement levels provide deep insights so you can test, adopt, and trial different strategies to evaluate what you think might work best to maximise engagement and interaction.

You can then continuously improve and refine the supporter journey by constantly identifying and removing hurdles, so you can optimise the supporter journey and provide better experiences.

How Wood for Trees can help you to improve supporter journeys

Here at Wood for Trees, we understand the challenges fundraisers face and know how to use data to give them the answers they need.

Our team of analysts will model and present your data in enlightening ways to drive insights and actions, helping you to make sense of your data and understand what it means so you can optimise your communications, increase engagement, and improve your supporter journeys.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, simply get in touch with our team today to find out more.