The Case for Marketing Automation for Fund Raising


July 19, 2016

How do I make donors come to me? The mere association of the term “marketing” with managing a non-profit can be frowned upon. However, it is key to learn to use marketing and sales strategies to raise awareness... let alone donations!

Marketing for nonprofits

Even with a reduced team, institutions must work to remain loyal with future, present, and past donors, as well as run close follow up with them:

  • To account for how money is being invested in a good cause.
  • To nurture and provide orientations, so they can keep working with the foundation in the future.

Despite this scenario, an efficient tool is Inbound Marketing, but we keep making the same mistake: we are still buying ads and selling products instead of attracting people to a cause.

According to a Chilean Volunteering Survey, run by Fundación Trascender and Adimark GFK, 92% of Chilean people give money one way or another. 

  • 65% give their change in a supermarket or pharmacy
  • 58% gives money to a fundraising campaign
  • 15% are a monthly donor or a member of an NGO
  • 8% don’t give money at all.

Of those people who don’t give money,

  • 36% claim they don’t trust individuals or institutions asking for it
  • 13% argue that there is no accountability in the money people give.

How to attract more donors?

An article by América Economía shows how fundraising has evolved in the region.“In Latin America, we are early adopters of what is done in the United States and Europe. Still, the interest and confidence in giving money are increasing, perhaps in the American way. This is an enthusiasm reflecting in how the region in professionalizing its fundraising". The problem is that there are over 15 thousand NGOs in Chile, from a neighborhood watch to the Red Cross, according to Gonzalo Guzmán of Asociación Chilena de Fundraising.

However, according to Fundraising Chile, nonprofit marketing is failing in several ways: 

  • There is no creativity in the actions, as a successful model is repeated until donors are fed up with the pitch.
  • Nobody strides a potential market of donors.
  • Organizations go “trawl fishing” instead of segmenting people.
  • There is a lack of clarity in their messages to societies.

The institution states that there are three primary fundraising efforts:

  • Speculation: “If there are enough people to ask for money, there is a ratio that will answer.” This is direct marketing with solicitations without knowing the donors’ motivations.
  • Campaigns and projects:  “greater attention is paid to the motivation of the donor and a sense of responsibility or pertinence with the cause."
  • Lead Nurturing: “here, we want to link the institution with donors so that the recipient can make a significant donation when he/she is willing to do so."

"Inbound Funding"

According to the Spanish expert, Franc Carreras from the Instituto de Innovación Social at ESADE: "Even if we are an organization whose work is so commendable that it should sell itself, the truth is, if we don’t go selling, we can’t meet our goals.”

 Of course, traditional marketing is interruptive, and Inbound marking for nonprofits, according to this inbound expert, is about:

 “Depositing our message or content at a public place online and let those who have the interest to approach us voluntarily.”

 The key is not finding the way to interrupt but to share to attract, according to Carreras. “Also, if we are capable of inspiring others to share what we share, we can enjoy the true meaning of social media: our fans recommend us within their circles.”

That is why managing a digital marketing strategy with the Inbound method and supporting fundraisers with Inbound Sales is a perfect fit for a funnel that needs to integrate partners, members, and past, present, and future donors of social, sports, or cultural causes.

As part of Inbound Marketing, you can slowly create awareness to strangers, qualify them as leads, transform them into customers and eventually, should we do everything OK, turn them into promoters.

Inbound Marketing methodology HubSpot IDS Agency

 Using Inbound Sales for fundraising, we can work with our potential donors' awareness, consideration, and decision stage. Post-sales, in both cases, is key.

Inbound Sales Methodology HubSpot IDS Agency

Why is Inbound Marketing so different from traditional online marketing?

There are several reasons:
  1. It transforms the strategy into a continuous improvement cycle instead of focusing on one given campaign at a time.
  2. It helps align marketing and sales (or fundraising), as their feedback and communication are better.
  3. Develops an ideal donor profile (known in the commercial world as a buyer persona), not only regarding their demographics but aspirations, motivations, pain points, and concerns. For instance, an NGO can set apart a lifetime partner from potentially high-profile donors or an individual who sporadically gives some cash. 
  4. Helps to generate and spread compelling content: the most significant challenge in marketing for nonprofits is that they sell emotions and intangible benefits. Content marketing catalyzes a series of stories to raise awareness for a cause and increase accountability. 
  5. Generates a lead scoring system: a foundation can score every lead or contact over their content history (whether they clicked or opened emails, downloaded offers or read specific blogs, etc.) and understand better how they are considering or analyzing their support or donation.
  6. Can personalize and automate email marketing campaigns: it's not just about putting the right name on top of the email, but writing the correct email to the right person and send it at the right time, in the right context. 
    1. Facilitates the conversion of leads through content offers: potential donors can subscribe to receive your quarterly reports, an in-depth review of your cause, or apply for seminars, talks, exclusive demonstrations... and the list goes on.
    2. In a nutshell, it allows for automation and segmentation, improving the management of several contacts, and helping personalize workflows with different buyer persona profiles. 

Inbound Marketing for foundations in figures:

In the United States, for instance, the Association of Information and Image Management (AIIM) “provides member organizations with market research, expert insights, a supportive community, and skills development programs aimed at helping them navigate the tumultuous waters of the technology sea.”

This foundation began working with HubSpot as it helped them align their teamwork. Its marketing team had several problems getting the word out with manual processes and several systems for newsletters, email marketing, and content management. 

It is hard for AIIM to make the most of any other conventional automation software for demand generation and lead qualification. Their dashboard was not user-friendly for a group of volunteers to manage it properly.

That is why the HubSpot workforce helped them know the software in each stage and reduce dependency on manual direct marketing tools.

“The tools we had been using weren’t integrated and were too difficult to use effectively with a limited staff,” says Peggy Winton, Vice President and CMO at AIIM.

 In 12 months, the institution showed:

  • 87% increase in customers 
  • 4.8X increase in leads
  • 74% conversion rate of primary content offer

What is the biggest obstacle to your fundraising marketing campaign?

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My name is Izzy and I am a co-founder of CRM Toolbox, an award-winning HubSpot Solutions Partner. I lead our team of consultants who provide professional guidance to help businesses implement the HubSpot CRM platform migrate, integrate their tech stack to HubSpot to create a seamless environment for sales reps to use. There is nothing I love more than solving the challenges that come up when someone wants to migrate an old system or integrate their tech stack with HubSpot - it's like a puzzle!

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