The reason Merkle RMG is critical is because we are the eyes and ears for a nonprofit. Think about it — we are the first to engage with a donor. Whether it is processing a donation, flagging a piece of comment mail, responding to an email, or answering a phone call — we are first to react to a donor’s behavior.
Sorry folks, I’m just going to come out and say it. Nonprofit organizations do not practice true personalization. While many nonprofit organizations profess that they are providing experiences and communications that are “uniquely relevant” to existing and potential donors, the truth is — they’re not quite there yet.
Finally, organizations are using technology to complement and strengthen their fundraising program. But is this really the case? I’m not sure. In one conversation, I heard about how excited an organization was that it could marry its online and offline sustainer programs.
Sustainer. It’s the buzz word in nonprofit fundraising for the past few years. And there’s good reason for it — sustainer programs are one of the most valuable segments within a fundraising program because of the compound effect of the gifts.
A data breach at your nonprofit would be devastating to your donor relationships and ability to fundraise. When donors see that their gifts are handled responsibly — with speed, accuracy and security — it builds their confidence in your organization. To successfully retain them, you must be able to assure and demonstrate to donors, first and foremost, that their data is safe.
When nonprofits think about how outsourcing can help their donation processing, they probably have some standard advantages in mind. In a typical outsourced solution, the benefits are mostly tactical; the donation processor receives the mail, puts money in the bank, captures data, delivers it to the client, and then starts all over again, always serving as the last link of the chain. This kind of solution supports the core competencies of caging and data capture, but it’s missing a strategic element.
At Merkle Response Management Group, we know trust is the top factor in client and donor relationships. When a donor gives to a nonprofit, they’re entrusting that organization with their money and personal information. That’s why our clients must have complete confidence in us as a service provider to handle donor gifts and personal data with absolute security, accuracy and efficiency. In Merkle RMG’s mail processing department, we work to earn and keep this trust every day.
I’ve been with Merkle Response Management for over seven years, beginning in our Quality and Implementation departments overseeing the Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2008) and annual Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE16) certification processes as well as assisting with the on-boarding process of new clients. In 2011, I was promoted to Assistant Manager of Client Services while continuing to oversee Merkle’s Quality Management System.
In a past blog, I talked about the important role contact centers play in enhancing donor lifetime value. I outlined several best practices, including availability and responsiveness, producing a high level of service, gathering information to strengthen relationships and acknowledging donor contributions. Today, I’ll highlight some examples of how contact centers can be used to proactively reach out to donors to strengthen their relationship with your organization.
For any nonprofit organization, donor retention is the single most important indicator of performance. It’s a direct reflection of what donors feel about you. At Episcopal Relief & Development we ask ourselves, “Are we doing everything possible to ensure that our donors hold us in high regard? And will their good opinion ultimately translate into regular, generous contributions?” Our regular weekly, monthly or yearly donors believe in our mission, want to be a part of it, and are glad to tell others about it. But even with committed donors on board, it’s a never-ending job, and we must continue to steward the relationship so that these donors remain loyal.