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How to use marketing automation in the non-profit industry

Discover the power of marketing automation for the non-profit industry. Learn proven strategies to improve donor engagement, rekindle connections, and build lasting relationships with supporters.
Volunteers learning how to use marketing automation in the non-profit industry.

Did you know that only 32% of non-profit organizations send an automated welcome email series to new online donors? In today’s digital age, it’s essential to use technology to connect with donors, supporters, and volunteers effectively. Marketing automation is a powerful tool that non-profit organizations can use to create tailored experiences for their audience.

In this blog, we’ll explore the advantages of marketing automation in the non-profit industry and provide practical strategies and programs that you can implement in your marketing plan to improve donor engagement, retention, and overall organizational success.

The advantages of marketing automation in the non-profit industry

Marketing automation helps non-profit organizations to streamline their marketing efforts and allows you to connect with your donors, supporters, and volunteers on a deeper level. Here are some of the key advantages of implementing marketing automation:

  1. Time and resource management: By automating tasks such as sending emails, posting on social media, and managing contact lists, marketing automation saves time and resources. This allows your staff to focus on more important aspects of your non-profit organization, such as strategy and program development.
  1. Enhanced personalization: Marketing automation tools enable you to deliver personalized, targeted content to your supporters based on their preferences, interests, and engagement history.  This targeted approach boosts engagement and increases the likelihood of donations or other desired actions.
  1. Improved donor retention: With marketing automation, you can easily set up automated follow-ups, reminders, and other communications to keep donors and volunteers engaged and strengthen your relationship with them.
  1. Enhanced cross-channel donor journeys: You can create captivating experiences for donors and volunteers by crafting enhanced cross-channel donor journeys. This involves automating tasks such as donor follow-ups and event registrations, which can help you fine-tune your supporters’ journey and implement cohesive cross-channel strategies that keep them engaged. The end result is unforgettable experiences that will leave a lasting impression on your donors and volunteers alike.
  1. Data-driven decision-making: Dotdigital’s analytical tools provide a comprehensive overview of campaign performance, donor behavior, and other essential metrics. This helps you make data-driven decisions and optimize your non-profit marketing strategies.

Now that we understand the benefits of marketing automation in the non-profit industry, let’s dive into strategies and programs that can help you put these advantages into practice.

How to use marketing automation in the non-profit industry 

To effectively incorporate marketing automation into the non-profit industry, consider implementing the following strategies and programs in your marketing plan:

1. Crafting an unforgettable welcome program

When someone signs up for your non-profit’s mailing list, it’s crucial to make a positive first impression. The first few interactions with your organization can set the tone for their entire experience. That’s why creating a welcome email program using marketing automation is an excellent way to ensure that new subscribers feel valued, appreciated, and engaged.

Your automated welcome program should be a personalized onboarding experience that introduces your organization, shares its mission, and highlights its accomplishments. You can also use this opportunity to showcase how people can get involved, whether that be through volunteering, donating, or spreading the word.

By providing a warm and welcoming introduction to your organization, you are building trust with your new subscribers and increasing the likelihood of them becoming long-term supporters. This can have a significant impact on your organization’s success in the long run, as engaged supporters are more likely to donate, volunteer, and advocate for your cause.

2. Mastering retention and re-engagement campaigns

For non-profit organizations, donor retention is a critical aspect of their fundraising efforts, as retaining existing donors is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. So, how can you effectively engage with your donors? 

This is where marketing automation, combined with the intelligent capabilities of Dotdigital’s WinstonAI™, becomes a game-changer. With WinstonAI, you can create personalized emails with compelling subject lines that showcase the impact of their donations. 

This helps to establish a personal connection between the donor and your cause. Furthermore, by expressing gratitude for their contributions, you can build a sense of community and foster a deeper sense of commitment among donors. By leveraging these powerful tools, you can develop retention and re-engagement campaigns that sustain donor interest and commitment.

3. Amplifying event promotion and follow-ups

Events are an important part of the non-profit industry, as they help in fundraising and spreading awareness. However, organizing an event can be a daunting task that requires a lot of time and effort. Thankfully, marketing automation can simplify event promotion and management by sending out targeted and timely email invitations, updates, and reminders.

Dotdigital’s Eventbrite integration makes it easy for you to connect your event registration data to your marketing efforts, effectively nurturing attendees from the moment they purchase the ticket. This integration helps you reach a wider audience and increase attendance at the event.

By creating personalized journeys that excite attendees before the event, thank them for coming, and encourage fundraising after the event, you can maintain engagement and build relationships. It’s an excellent way to show your appreciation and keep them informed about future events.

After the event, you can follow up with attendees by sending a thank-you email that highlights photos of the event and acknowledges their participation. This approach helps maintain engagement and build relationships, showing your appreciation and keeping them informed about future events. Additionally, you can also gather feedback from attendees to improve your events and make them more enjoyable and valuable for everyone involved.

4. Utilizing powerful behavioral triggers

Behavioral triggers are an essential tool in modern marketing, allowing you to track your supporters’ actions and design personalized campaigns that cater to their interests. With marketing automation software, you can easily set up triggers that respond to specific actions taken by your supporters. 

For instance, if a donor visits your organization’s volunteering page, you can automatically send an email that provides more information about volunteering opportunities and the registration process. 

With the use of behavioral triggers, you can set up similar triggers for actions like social media interactions, website browsing patterns, or donation lapses. By doing so, you can ensure that your organization stays relevant and top-of-mind with your supporters.

By using behavioral triggers, you can reach your supporters at the right time with the right message, ultimately leading to increased engagement and support for your organization.

5. Celebrating milestones to foster connections

As a non-profit organization, recognizing and celebrating the milestones of your donors and volunteers is a crucial step towards building and maintaining a strong relationship with them. These milestones can include anniversaries, donation milestones, and other accomplishments that they have achieved while supporting your mission.

Marketing automation can be a powerful tool to keep track of these milestones and send personalized emails to commemorate the occasion and thank them for their contributions. This creates a sense of appreciation and recognition, which can lead to increased engagement and continued support from your donors and volunteers.

Moreover, celebrating these milestones shows that you value and appreciate their dedication and commitment to your organization. It creates a positive impact on the supporters, and they are more likely to stick with you in the long run.

By leveraging marketing automation to streamline the process, you can ensure that every milestone is recognized and celebrated in a timely and personalized way. This not only saves time and effort but also helps you to build a strong relationship with your supporters.

6. Recovering abandoned carts for event tickets and merchandise purchases

Abandoned carts can lead to significant losses for non-profit organizations, whether it’s for event tickets or merchandise purchases. However, marketing automation can help you overcome this challenge by retargeting supporters who abandon their carts with personalized reminders and incentives to complete their purchases.

With Dotdigital’s marketing automation platform, you can keep track of abandoned carts in real time and send triggered emails to supporters, urging them to finalize their ticket purchase or merchandise order. By providing additional information about the event or showcasing the positive impact of merchandise sales on your organization’s mission, you can effectively motivate them to support you.

This strategy recovers lost funds and helps build stronger supporter relationships. It demonstrates your organization’s commitment to engagement and personalization, which makes your supporters feel valued and more likely to remain loyal to your cause.

7. Automating credit card expiration reminders for monthly donors

Automating credit card expiration reminders for monthly donors can help non-profit organizations prevent missed donations and reduced funds. Surprisingly, only 23% of organizations send follow-up emails to monthly donors when their credit cards are set to expire or have expired. This oversight can negatively impact an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.

To stop this issue, marketing automation can be used to automatically send credit card expiration reminders to monthly donors. With Dotdigital’s automation platform, timely and personalized emails can be set up to inform donors about their upcoming credit card expiration. These emails can explain the importance of keeping payment information up-to-date, supporting the cause, and providing clear instructions on how to update payment details.

Moreover, by automating follow-ups for expired credit cards, you can ensure lapses in payments are addressed promptly. This increases the likelihood of monthly donors maintaining their support, which in turn sustains the organization’s fund stream and strengthens the relationship with donors. It showcases the organization’s commitment to transparency and consistent communication.

Elevate your non-profit strategy with marketing automation

Incorporating marketing automation into your non-profit strategy can help your organization stay competitive and adaptable. With marketing automation, you can deliver personalized content, build stronger connections with your supporters, maximize your impact, and advance your mission. Don’t let your non-profit organization fall behind in today’s fast-paced digital landscape. Utilize the power of marketing automation to empower you to make a lasting impact on the world.

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