Getting to know you: personalization for your nonprofit

Deborah Kerr breaks down the finer points of personalization in the classic jam “Getting to Know You” (from The King and I, 1956).

The goal of personalization is to use data to make it easier for customers to find and consume what they want, how and when they want. Personalization aims to address the changes generated when customers (or donors) encounter too much content with not enough time and too many options. As personalization becomes more pervasive across all sectors, your nonprofit should be checking to ensure that your own personalization processes are achieving two goals:

  • The information you are using is up to date and accurate

  • You are using personalization tactics across all experiences that your donors or supporters will encounter

How do you accomplish these goals? In a recent webinar “The New State of Personalization,” Optimizely helps answer this question with “3 O’s” and “4 R’s.” Let’s dive in…

First, the 3 O’s: Operationalize, organize and orchestrate.

Operationalize: You need to select a platform that will allow you to operationalize your personalization process — and have the dexterity to establish processes and governance to embed this personalization across all experiences for your supporters.

Organize: You will need to be able to support talented staff that can organize your data on your file management platform so that personable details can be utilized. Gathering information on gender, tendencies, giving history and background information is key.

Orchestrate: Finally, you will need to employ technologies and data to create a successful personalized experience.

Optimizely further breaks down this process by establishing “the 4 R’s of Personalization,” to better guide your improvement of your personalization:

  • Recognize
  • Remember
  • Recommend
  • Relevance

Your supporters want to be recognized. Information that is important to them should be important to you — especially if they are a member of a giving program or a long-time supporter.

Your supporters want to be remembered so that their contribution, monetary or not, is acknowledged and appreciated.

Based on this information above, being able to recommend and give a clear directive to a supporter helps ease them into taking action. They are able to see that you, the nonprofit they are supporting, can articulate a need that is in line with their capabilities.

Finally, being able to communicate information that is the most relevant and valuable to your supporter will save time and resources on your end. It will help your nonprofit identify the most appropriate ask or action for the supporter.

More and more, people now expect personalized experiences wherever they interact with a brand. Expectations are no longer limited to “best in class” for your industry. Which means nonprofits are no longer just competing with direct competitors, but are compared with for-profits that facilitate a seamless user experience too. As you create and refine giving programs, consider optimizing the data that can create the most effective personalization tactics and dedicate resources to fine-tuning this tool.

Remember, your donors appreciate getting to know you through your communications — be sure to appreciate how important it is to get to know them.

*Cue The King and I Soundtrack on repeat*

Christen Buckley


Christen Buckley

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