Using Vega won’t turn a bad campaign into a success. Using Vega as it was designed will help you achieve greater success at less cost than is possible using a variety of disparate platforms to achieve what Vega does out of the box.
So, any successful fundraising (or call to action) campaign must be simple, emotive, urgent, relevant and believable. It must appeal to people emotionally and to enough people rationally to make people take the action you wish them to take. Mostly that gives money.
Your appeal must be simple. It must have one call to action which is the thing you wish people to do. If you add options, you suppress response and will certainly suppress donations if a non-financial option is offered. Don’t mix offers either. If you want a monthly donation, ask for that directly and make sure that is the default pathway to respond. You must build a sense that the donor or responder will make a difference now by taking the call to action.
If you can’t build that sense, then the appeal will not succeed. So, there are many factors in a successful campaign that has nothing to do with your system. These are covered in other papers. They are actually the dominant variables when it comes to response. Your systems can help, and in fact can be a real help or hindrance. The system makes great communications possible and personal, but you design great communications! We will now talk about using Vega correctly to maximise response
Let’s look at a recruitment campaign
Do you have any strategy to induct people into your organisation?
In other words, when I register on your website, what do I receive? Ideally, and we have seen this work incredibly well, I receive an acknowledgement email thanking me and welcoming me and saying “we will be in touch soon”. Then within a day, I receive a well-researched document outlining the importance of the issue and organisation.
In regular intervals of perhaps two weeks, I receive further exciting, graphically pleasing materials and information that deepen my knowledge of your organisation. The message “we survive on donations, please think about supporting us” is carried on all communications.
You will use different words, but similar words are important. What are we doing? We are educating the donor or prospect about our issue but also to trust us, to actually open our emails because they contain valuable information, and to realise that we only survive as a result of people’s generosity.
These are vital messages which the donor will accept and retain as their relationship with you develops. You can build branches into this flow depending on donor actions. If the prospect donates, you may move them to another communications stream. If you have conducted the recommended Vega post registration survey, you may be able to further customise the documents you serve depending on the information the registrant told you.
So, a good recruitment programme that starts on your website has the following elements:
- An easy to use registration dialogue, ideally first and last name and email address only
- A post registration survey of no more than 4 questions
- A warm acknowledgement email
- A workflow-driven communications stream that delivers up to 6 introduction or induction emails to the registrant.
- A call to action at the middle and end of this induction that requests a donation if one has not been received.
All of this can be managed by Vega. Of course, recruitment starts in your social media, in your events, in your publicity and in the sharing friends of your social media pages. All these should drive traffic back to your website registration funnel.
Now, what about appeals?
Every communication has two upfront purposes, to get the recipient to open the communication and to get them to respond in some way.
Every communication from you I don’t open increase logarithmically the likelihood that I won’t open the next one. This applies to letters, phone calls, emails, and SMS or even social media posts, where I may be a bit more forgiving, but you are really going to have to resort to kittens playing to get me to share your post if you have lost me.
Any appeal may contain elements of direct mail, email, social media and even phone follow-up. If I receive an appeal from you and I have seen supporting information in other media, I am much more likely to respond.
To select your target groups and decide how much to ask, Vega can help. Think: The success of your appeal is roughly decided by 40% the ask, 40% who is asked and 20% the amount asked for.
By the ask, I mean the letter, issue or subject, how urgent, vital, believable and relevant it is. Vega will help you decide how much to ask anyone.
Trust this, It is usual practice to select existing donors who have given in the last three years. Many organisations exclude regular givers, I recommend once a year include your regular donors and those that respond get included in all subsequent appeals. A Vega Attribute “Appeal Responsive” is a great metatag to apply automatically to anyone who has given to an appeal. This can be created by a workflow. So ideally my query targets appeal responsive donors who have donated in the last three years. But it may also include prospects that have indicated that the appeal issue is important to them.
This also applies to donors who last gave between 3-5 years ago. Include some or all of them. If I said, “I want to save the whales” and this appeal covers that issue, give me a chance to participate by asking me. So, if I have surveyed as being responsive to this issue or I have donated to this issue, I am open to giving and should be included. Use the Vega query tool to get these target groups identified.
Now think about a sequence, If you start with a direct mail letter, then plan an email boost within 4 weeks to non-respondents. Anyone who doesn’t get the letter should get an email immediately. Reinforce everything with timely social media posts. If you have the resources, test a phone call follow-up after 6 weeks to special non-respondents (those who gave more than average before). Explain the fight goes on and ask for support.
Any respondents get an “Appeal Respondent” attribute and ideally an issue-responsive attribute. If you target people again with a similar issue, this follow-up can work well. People want the job done. Your appeal and follow-up planning should include an “accountability statement” and this reinforces your respect for the donor. It is most important that you personalise every communication.
Obviously, the salutation is vital. This will have a measurable impact on your response rates. Any personal details you include should be correct. It is said that millennials have stopped reading. That has major implications for fundraising in the next decade. But it means you must be graphical and engaging. Use the Vega documents editor to achieve this.