Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Targeting Affluent Donors

The most recent daily post from e-marketer may be worth taking note of as it relates to high net worth donors.

While I appreciate that it was brands/companies and not brands/non-profits that were the subject of this study, the results can still be instructive to fundraisers. Certainly those with financial means are going to be of interest to any charitable organization and understanding their online behaviour may help in building relationships.

While the most traditional and still most effective way of approaching affluent donors is in person, it would be a mistake to assume that social media can’t be an important tool in building relationships with this cohort. To that extent the study is very useful.

Some of the results were predictable. I would have assumed that “affluents” aren’t looking for bargains online so the differential in the responses to “I wanted to get deals/discounts” and “I love the brand…” isn’t surprising.

But the responses to the next four statements are far more telling. For the sake of analysis I would organize them into pairs. “I noticed someone following the brand/company profile” and “the social network recommended it,” both indicate the greater degree to which people in this category are influenced by the opinions of their peers and sources they trust. It’s not news to any major gifts specialist that the most important factor in any solicitation is the person doing the asking or who has brought the philanthropic opportunity to the donor’s attention. This is in fact borne out in interviews with Canada’s top philanthropists that I have been conducting as part of a book project.

The to do list regarding this factor would be to find ways to extend the influence of your current affluent donors. Perhaps consider setting up a Facebook page that reflects the interests/concerns of affluent donors. Make it easy for donors to convey information about your organization. Create giving opportunities targeted to affluent donors and strategically use social media advertising to create awareness and drive traffic.

The last pair that caught my attention was “An ad (print, tv, online) led me to it” and “It was mentioned in an article.” Both of these underline the need for cross channel marketing. It has been well documented that marketing and fundraising efforts that use multiple channels enjoy better results. In practical terms this may mean considering ads in targeted publications to drive traffic to an “affluent-focused” Facebook page. Perhaps the content of that page can be unique enough to attract media attention (with a little pr help of course).

There are undoubtedly many other practical ways to use these research findings to create and enhance your relationship with affluent donors and I’d love to hear some of your experiences and/or suggestions.

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