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Creating donor journeys that support your fundraising activity

In a fragmented digital world, building relationships with new donors is more than just a one-off transactional process.

The relationship between different types of donors and the organisations they donate to takes place in a landscape full of multiple touchpoints and emotional triggers - all giving the potential to engage your supporters.

How do you make sure that your charity’s donors are receiving a consistent, positive experience and that they’ll continue to come back?

The answer: donor journeys.

Mapping the donor journey


Before you devise new journeys, it is always beneficial to analyse the journeys your current donors have been following - mapping the paths they took from first contact to where they are now.

To do this you need to visualise interactions over time with your donors - the donor journey. Then you’ll be in a position to assess whether your fundraising activities are prompting the desirable outcomes over time, such as retention and increased support.

With that knowledge you are in a great position to imagine and create desirable donor journeys, devising the donor development activities that should prompt the desired behaviour – the contact moments and communications necessary to create a good donation experience for the supporter.

Charities can use these key moments in the journey to ensure they’re capitalising on the experience and will be building strong relationships to last.

Hanneke Propitius defines donor journey mapping as helping to identify how donors are treated during each contact with your organisation that takes place:

“From orientation, encounter on the street, becoming a donor, seeing an advertisement on television, the first gift or fill in a form to change your personal information: every moment you can think of. It is a visual representation of the donor experience.”

Real Impact


As the late great Tony Elischer said,

"The ‘journey’ is a fabulous piece of thinking as it helps charities to see all of their programmes mapped out; how each programme can draw prospects from other programmes, offering donors new propositions, products and gift levels."

This also brings in thinking to help charities operate more like the tech industry, treating every potential donor as a brand advocate and encouraging the smoothest and most efficient experience for a user. As the visionary Seth Godin once said:

“Make it so much better that people can't help but talk about it - and so much better that they would truly miss it if it were gone.”.

You can re-design the simplest experience and transaction and turn it into something worth discussion by doing it better.

How to create a donor journey


Ready to create your own donor journey?

Start with identifying the different personas of your donors, the fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers. Hubspot has a great guide to creating user personas here.

Once you have established your personas, link these personas to the different touchpoints your charity has. For example:

  • Social media

  • Blog content

  • Fundraising events

  • Email marketing

  • Donation programme

  • Gift Aid


An example donor journey


Once you’ve plotted all of your charity’s touch points with donors, it’s time start to mapping out potential donor journeys.

Here’s an example on we created, focussed around a mass-participation fundraising event, such as a ‘fun run’.

  • Social media: donor sees a tweet about your fundraising event and clicks on a link to your website, where they read the event

  • Events: The donor signs up through Eventbrite

  • Email: You send them emails in the run up to the event giving them tips on how to fundraise for your charity

  • Donation: They have set up a JustGiving page for the event and start to get donations from friends family

  • Gift Aid: After the event, you email them to let them know how much they raised and any extra through Gift Aid.

To create your own unique and comprehensive donor journey map, try this exercise with several different persona types and different fundraising touchpoints.

How Donorfy helps with the donor journey


In an effort to make it easier for organisations to do just that, Donorfy's integrations provide charities the option to access all of the necessary information in one place and be able to measure and track the donor journey, from beginning to end.

For example, Donorfy integrates with Eventbrite so you know when a donor signs up for an event. Donorfy can also track email marketing activity, through an integration with Mailchimp, so you can know when a supporter opens an email about the event. Lastly, Donorfy integrates with JustGiving and Gift Aid, so you can track how much is being raised by each donor for your event and and also how much Gift Aid is being added.

As you can see, once you’ve mapped your donor journey, Donorfy makes it easy to keep track of each of those touchpoints and gives you that information in one central place.

Making the donor journey a priority


Investing in the time to map out your donor journey may seem like a secondary priority, but the proof is in the pudding. In a digital age where people are able to give freely to the organisations of their choice at the click of a button, charities must be on top of their digital strategy to survive.

Have you mapped your donor journey yet?

When you’re ready to change the way you interact with supporters, sign up to your free 14-day trial of Donorfy.

Want to learn more? Read about our 2016 Civil Society win, where Donorfy was voted BEST Charity CRM for cost, functionality, integration and more.