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The Donor Funnel Vs. Donor Journey

Engaging active and new supporters and inspiring lapsed donors to get involved is the focus of every nonprofit organization. After all, donations, involvement, and brand ambassadorship are essential to continue pursuing your mission and raising cause awareness. So, what’s the best way to reach your nonprofit organization’s goals, whatever they may be?

Times—and donor management best practices— have changed

Historically, the biggest play in a nonprofit marketer’s handbook has been the donor funnel. Like drawstring sweatpants or extra stretchy leggings, it fits various donor scenarios well enough to get the job done. The problem is things have shifted dramatically. The last few years have been a period of reinvention and survival for all nonprofits. Additionally, there is so much going on in the world that it’s easy for your cause’s message to get lost.

Similar to sweatpants and leggings, a donor funnel is a kind of one-size-fits-all approach to donor management. It may work, but it’s limiting and often ineffective. Moreover, using the donor funnel strategy, your nonprofit is likely losing out on a better relationship with its audience, which means less donor engagement.

What is a Donor Funnel?

If you’re unfamiliar with the donor funnel (or perhaps know it by another name, like the nonprofit marketing funnel or donation funnel), the graphic below breaks down the stages succinctly!

A donor funnel’s five stages are awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty, and advocacy. You ‘funnel’ your audience through these stages, and out of the bottom comes an engaged supporter.

The problem with this approach is that the potential is high for your organization’s message to get lost. Modern life’s whirlwind of digital overload clutters inboxes and bandwidth, making connection difficult.

Fundraising Through Donor Journeys

To get supporters at any stage engaged and inspired to take action (of any kind—we don’t just mean donations) requires more than a one-size-fits-all strategy. Your organization’s communications must speak directly to your specific audience groups, and your organization should offer tailored programs and donation options to better provide a personalized donor experience. In doing so, you begin building relationships with supporters and fundraising in a meaningful, effective way. While creating a donor journey requires some work, it’s worth doing.

“ROI could be 20-30% higher than your current activation level with donor journey management. This is because we are being very personal and matching the pitch with the prospect and building donor relationships in an organized way.” — Robert Friend, nonprofit executive and part of the Eventgroove solutions team

The below graphic illustrates the differences between donor journey management and the donor marketing funnel. It also clarifies why a more tailored approach to fundraising and the donor experience has so much more potential to speak directly to different groups within your organization’s audience.

We discuss the steps and finer points of building donor journeys in this first article of our donor management series. Even better, Robert provides an outline and examples of donor journey mapping in this video.

Put your donor journey in action!

Guiding any segment of your audience through their donor journey is made easier with an all-in-one fundraising platform like Eventgroove. We integrate with your CRM is built in, helping you to track and monitor the efficacy of any campaign or outreach. Plus, a host of promotional tools like text-to-give, email marketing, social media integration, and printed promotional pieces such as direct mail postcards are all at your fingertips.

Schedule your virtual demo with our friendly team to learn how Eventgroove can help your organization reach more people and inspire them to take action.


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