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4 Simple Steps to Use Technology for Donor Engagement

Tod Szewczyk
Published:  10/12/2022
The following post is sponsored by August Jackson, for which the author, Tod Szewczyk, Executive Vice President, Digital Engagement. 

From a 5% decrease in overall donors in 2022 to the seemingly never-ending rise of inflation, the current donor landscape is challenging. Add to that the abundant sea of social media and streaming content vying for consumers’ attention and the mission of major gift officers (MGOs) becomes increasingly difficult. 

The best approach to reaching and engaging with all of your donor audiences, including grateful patients, despite these roadblocks, is through a purposeful approach using the digital tools that gift officers often have at their fingertips.  

Rather than simply targeting the largest potential donors, try a new tactic: Combine physician consultations and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to naturally identify a broader cohort. While there are good examples of how to use AI in other AHP Connect Articles, these steps focus on what to do after that potential donor list has been established.

Step 1: Reach them where they are. 
As with any marketing campaign, developing a deep understanding of your audience and the types of content that they engage with is key. Given that personalized content is the expectation, every effort should be made to ensure that messages are relevant to the recipient while still adhering to privacy and HIPAA regulations. 

Sending personalized emails is the starting point on the journey to conversion, and these messages should direct the recipient to action. A good experience here would be to offer them a link to a short video that can further describe their impact potential, regardless of the size of their gift. At this point, you want to lean into the affinity that they already have and encourage them to the next step. This could be as easy as inviting them to join a grateful patient Facebook Group to build community and promote affinity.

Step 2: Get them in the door. 
While there are evolving viewpoints on using events as a driver to donations, we know that right now many people are clamoring to get out in the real world and interact. So, creating a reason to get them to come out and see what opportunity their impact can make is a great way to deepen ties and further the conversation. 

Coming out of that moment, having a follow up message and destination for them to visit and reflect is critical. Personalized–just for them–landing pages can give them a chance to see their interactions with the institution and remind them of the powerful opportunity they have to join the mission. 

Step 3: Continue to build consideration. 
Here is where patient spotlights and a focus on outcomes can move the needle, tugging on their heart strings and keeping the mission top of mind. Include these in a drip campaign and on their personalized landing page. Similar information in both locations can work together to keep the momentum going. 

Step 4: Tip them over the edge. 
As a final act in the conversion journey, this is where interactive content can play a crucial part. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 81% of content marketers say that interactive content grabs attention more effectively than static content.

One opportunity could be to create a choose-your-own adventure game or video that ties back to one or many of the outcomes teased in the drip campaign. Give them an opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes to understand how their gift has direct impact. Providing a way to give the audience agency in the story and the journey can excite them to action and cement their affinity.

This four-step process is meant to help MGOs and their staff plan new and different ways to build and move their audience to action. Although it has never been more challenging to reach people in our hyper-connected world, starting with them and providing an elegant, interactive journey can help grow your audience.

NEWS  /07/31/20
Machine learning is upending the way philanthropy professionals find grateful patients—for the better.

Meet The Author

Tod Szewczyk
EVP, Digital Engagement
August Jackson

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