In the nonprofit world it’s commonplace to hear folks talk about creating a “holistic giving experience” for donors.

Here at Abila, we like to encourage fundraisers to take a WHO-listic approach, because it’s not just the “what” or “how” behind the process of giving that are important, it’s also the “who.”

The What and How
The process of giving should be as barrier-free as you can possibly make it. If it’s not, you lose dollars. It’s as simple as that. In fact, according to Nomensa’s “Creating the Perfect Donation Experience” report, nearly half of all donors give up before they actually make an online donation because the virtual journey is not intuitive and engaging.

Another frightening stat: 65 percent of nonprofits make donors click more than three times to give a donation, according to Dunham + Company’s, 2013 “Online Fundraising Scorecard.”

So, examine and continually tweak your giving process from end-to-end … from your emails, to the link on which recipients click, to the landing page, to the stories you tell, to the donation form, to the thank you note you send, to your follow-up communications, and continuing engagement.

Now, the Who
Think about supporters and their online “journey.” Take a walk in their shoes by going through the step-by-step process yourself. Ask others – staff, family, board members, and friends – to do the same and provide you with feedback.

BUT, DON’T STOP THERE! Now, go through the giving process as a major donor, for example, who has a passion for red-eyed tree frogs. Then, step through it as the $50 donor who likes polar bears. I hope this isn’t where you say, “They go through the exact same process.” Because, a who-listic giving experience means each of your donors feels personally connected to your mission.

With that said, it might (or might not) surprise you that results from the Abila Donor Engagement Study show that only 52 percent of donors feel that the organizations they support take their preferences into account when communicating or appealing for donations.

And if money talks, then this statistic shouts from the rooftops: 47 percent of donors say they would have given more if they had been asked to support a specific program or initiative. (Source: “The 2014 Burk Donor Survey,” Cygnus Applied Research, September 2014.)

Aligning Donor Experiences with Their Preferences
To ensure your donors feel relevant and tied to your mission, you must first segment your database in ways that perhaps feel unconventional (read: not just by donation size).

To continue with our analogy, your tree frog lover should get relevant email messages, landing pages, stories, thank you notes, and follow-ups that speak directly to her passion. Similarly, your polar bear person should be directed down a path that keeps him connected to you via your shared affection for carnivorous bears native to the Arctic Circle.

You can even personalize your donation forms – sending your big givers to a form that starts at $250 and directing your smaller donors to one that starts at $25.

For more tips on providing donors with a who-listic giving experience, download our “What’s Next: Strategies and Tactics for Donor Engagement” recorded webinar.