During my career as a fundraiser, there’s one question I’ve asked my clients and myself time and time again.
“How can we make donors feel more special?”
And that’s because experience and research shows that when donors feel valued, appreciated and treated as individuals, they are far more likely to give generously.
Making donors feel special is something we’ve all been doing for a long time with direct mail, through personalised letters, lift pieces, envelopes, follow up phone calls and other personal touches.
And the results have proven this personalised approach to fundraising works exceptionally well.
But providing a similar experience through email and other digital communications has proven a much harder task.
In fact, until the development of PURLs (personalised URLs), there’s really been no way to provide an equivalent ‘feel good’ experience to the direct mail approach.
What are PURLs and why do they work so well?
The idea behind PURLs is fairly simple.
When a donor receives a PURL-based EDM from your organisation, the information inside that EDM is personalised to that specific donor, with links that lead to a customised landing page built just for them.
From the donor’s perspective, it feels like you know them, you get them, and you’ve written each piece of communication just for them.
To see what a quantum leap this technology really is for the not-for-profit sector, it’s worth reflecting on the current user experience.
For years, many organisations have been sending fairly generic EDMs to a big pool of donors and acquisition targets.
At times, some organisations have included variables like “Dear <First Name>”, or even “Thanks for your recent <$X> gift”, but apart from that, everyone pretty much gets the same email… and they all get sent to the same generic landing page.
That’s the way things have been done for a long time. And if we’re honest, none of us have been surprised by the less-than-impressive results these kinds of impersonal emails have produced.
But what if you could send highly personalised emails to your donors that were all about them… that included a personalised video with their name in it… that focused on the issues they care about most?
And what if, when they landed on the dedicated landing page, the header had their name in it, the dollar handles reflected previous gift amounts, and all their personal and credit card details were already filled out if they have previously donated to you?
Oh, and what if after giving, your donor received a personalised thank-you message that felt as genuine and authentic as a hand-written letter from the CEO?
Do you think that would make them feel valued, appreciated… and excited about giving again and again?
You bet it would!
How PURLs transformed Foodbank Victoria’s EDM campaigns
Last year, Foodbank sent a fundraising EDM to their list. It was well written, it was professionally designed, and it even had a strong call to action.
But it only raised $300. Pretty disheartening for the team.
So just imagine how they felt when a similar EDM was sent just 12 months later, which resulted in $41,967 in donations.
The biggest difference in those two emails? PURLs.
By drawing on donor data including personal demographics, motivations for giving, previous gift amounts, and much more, we created a highly personalised experienced that was extremely relevant to the individual donor.
And yep, when the donor landed on the giving page, everything was already filled in for them including their card details if they had been previously captured, reducing any potential blockages to the donation process and therefore increasing giving.
We also did a few other things for Foodbank NSW that made donors feel extra special too, including a personlised video for that actually used the donor’s name in the voiceover, and contained footage of a hamper of food with the donor’s name on the outside of the box.
How can you implement PURLs in your campaigns?
Based on the incredible results from Foodbank Victoria and and a broad range of other case studies s, Donor Republic are incorporating PURL-based donor communications throughout our clients’ digital fundraising campaigns.
That’s why over the last 12 months, we’ve been developing a brand-new PURL-based platform for our clients called Your Journey.
Your Journey is a powerful platform that can create highly personalised EDMs, SMS messages, landing pages, thank-you messages, video content, auto-filled donation forms and much more for every campaign we send.
If you’re interested in finding out more about PURL technology, or about how Donor Republic can help grow your digital fundraising results through Your Journey, I’d love to have a conversation with you.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0420 936 442 and let’s chat about how you can make your donors feel special through the Your Journey platform.