Learn on the fly

My thoughts just took off, after reading the Sydney Morning Herald this cold Sunday morning. In the coming years airlines will start using an algorithm calculating a customer’s value, writes Jamie Freed.

An airline technology group has developed the Horizon Customer Profile, using personal information to determine how valuable the client is and adjust the price of the offered flights. Such information includes:

  • Postcode
  • Loyalty programs
  • Booking history
  • Media influence
  • VIP status and
  • Corporate relationships.

With this information they can send the client a personalised offer. Why? Because customised service is the key to loyalty in the tough travel market.Plane tails in line

We work in the not-for-profit sector where we already know that getting new donors is much more expensive than retaining existing donors. So, when I was reading this article, I was thinking what we could learn from the airlines’ strategy. How could we further personalise the donor journey and increase revenues by using this personal information?

Current Practice in Donor Land

In donor land, we already segment our database to send donors and supporters different emails based on their interests. So they get emails about dredging of the reef if they have an interest in marine life and they don’t get emails about logging if they’re not interested in forests. Segmentation in email marketing is not new and gives great results with little effort and investment.

But, can we use the same data as the airlines do?

Personalise your Ask

I definitely see options for postcodes and donation history: We already know the average loyal donor is female, between 35 and 45 years old. But not all these women have lots of cash. We should be able to send a potential female donor, in the right age category, with an IP address in one of the more wealthy areas in Sydney, to a different landing page with higher dollar handles.

And if she is a donor already and always pays with her credit card: we don’t show her 3 other ways of paying, but make it simple – credit card it is. And why would you only thank her for this donation if you have her donation history? Send her an email telling her what you were able to do with all the money she donated so far!

Target your ‘ hottest’ Donors

How personalised can it get for donors? We use their names in emails and direct mailing and reference their past donations with the ask amount, but that’s about it. Can we use their social media usage without giving them the feeling of being stalked? Unisys found that only 27% of Australians feel comfortable with being identified as targets for advertising or personalised offers via social media.

So maybe we need to take it slow? If somebody often likes your organisation’s posts on Facebook or shares your CEO’s tweet, you know they’re hot. So don’t just send them your regular appeals for tax and X-mas. Send them an appeal when they’re the most interested, based on their social media use and their open rate and CTR of your emails.

Start your Donor Loyalty Program

But we’re supposed to be talking airlines: they have loyalty programs. Does your organisation have a loyalty program for your most loyal donors? What do you do for your most valued donors that donate large sums every year or have been a regular giver for more than 5 years? No, of course you don’t offer discounts on donations or 5 donations for the price of 3.

But why not send your most loyal donors a free ticket for your walking event, or an invite for a webinar?

Send them an extra video about your work or a special newsletter and show them you love them and care for them.

That’s what we can learn from the airlines, without an (expensive) algorithm. For free!

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