Fundraisers can fall into the trap of thinking and treating donors like an entity vs. specific individuals.

One exercise that can break you out of that trap is donor mapping. Here’s how:

  • Choose 4-8 donors who represent a mix of channel behavior.
  • Ask a member or members of your team to map out each donor’s history of touch points with your organization. Include how they originated on your file. Include actions, cultivation/engagement, direct solicitations and volunteer engagement (if applicable). Include all channels like:
    1. Digital (email, ads, website, SMS)
    2. Mail
    3. Events
    4. Phone
    5. Other
  • As part of this effort, include proactive or reactive donor behavior including donations, donation size, donation date and other actions this donor may have taken with you.
  • See if you have any other donor information like demographic data appended from past surveys or wealth screening data.
  • Bring your team together and review each donor profile. Have an open conversation about each of the donor’s individual experience with your organization. What may have increased their loyalty and connection with you? What could have been better? What hypotheses might you make about how this data tracks to other donors?
  • Brainstorm any specific actions your team may take based on the data.
  • Rinse and repeat every quarter.

This activity is usually quite enjoyable and often surfaces epiphany moments for fundraisers particularly as we see the relationship across channels and at the seams of grassroots, midlevel, majors and planned giving.