The Power of Personalization


Study after study makes it clear that personalization is the reigning king of marketing. Organizations of all kinds are racing to develop the customer insights they need to single out individuals and create better, more personal user experiences. Non-profits can learn from these organizations and do the same to make their fundraising experiences more relevant to donors.

Amazon, Spotify, Netflix and others have created a world in which consumers expect content, products and services to match their individual tastes and preferences. Shopping on sites like Amazon with suggestions of what might go with the items already in your cart is like having a personal shopper without having to get dressed and go out. Applications that remember your previous order like Starbucks’ and have your credit card information stored, make ordering your morning coffee quick and hassle-free. The more we become accustomed to sites and apps that remember us, learn from our previous transactions and adapt to give us exactly what we want, the more we demand these types of experiences. 

Doubters warn that displaying too much customer knowledge can make the experience feel intrusive and overbearing, and fundraising organizations are particularly sensitive to this, but the research tells a different story. 

  • In a study conducted by Statista, marketing personalization was rated as very or somewhat appealing by 90% of respondents. In another study by Segment, 71% of consumers said they feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal.
  • Accenture found that 83% of consumers are willing to provide information about themselves to create a more personalized experience.  Consumers have already accepted the idea that to get a custom experience that takes their needs and wants into account, they’re going to have to share.

People like to be recognized and for donors, recognition is essential.  If 66% of consumers say encountering content that isn’t personalized would stop them from making a purchase, how can non-profits make sure their appeals are personal so they don’t lose donor support? 

Like with for-profits, the process of getting personal begins with data. For non-profits, this usually means a combination of data appends and research to add additional points to their database. Fundraisers need data points to take their appeal letters beyond a personalized salutation and allow them to develop messaging that is particularly relevant to different segments of donors and builds emotional connections. 

With today’s variable data technology, there’s no reason to speak to active and loyal donors the same way you speak to lapsed or first-time donors. Every donor’s prior gifts should be acknowledged and used to encourage increased levels of giving. While every donor’s gift may be substantial to them, donors who give at the highest levels deserve very special recognition. Personalization is an essential tool in building the emotional connections and relationships that move donors along the path from low-level donors to mid-level donors to major donors. 

If you’re still not sure it’s worth the investment of time and money to make your appeals more compelling, consider this:

  • 80% of companies who implemented personalization into their marketing saw an uplift in sales.  Econsultancy
  • Companies using advanced personalization report a $20 return for every $1 spent.  Clickz
  • Millennial brand loyalty increases by 28% if they receive personalized communication.  SmarterHQ
  • Personalization can reduce customer acquisition costs by up to 50%.  Adweek

To take your personalization to the next level, give Phoenix Innovate a call. We work with dozens of non-profits to improve the ROI on their fundraising, using data to make their appeals more personal, relevant and compelling.  

Mark M Gaskill
Mark M Gaskill

EVP of Marketing Solutions

LinkedIn logo