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Zoom Room Takeaways: Creating a Compelling Supporter Journey

On Thursday 11th March, we hosted another of our much-anticipated Killer Zoom Room sessions – this time focusing on the all-important Supporter Journey. We were joined by charities big and small to learn the secrets to creating an amazing stewardship plan and have created a round-up of the key takeaways for you here – enjoy!

Supporter Journey – what’s it all about?

Firstly, let’s start with a definition: The supporter journey aka. Stewardship plan aka. Customer journey is the journey we take someone on from their first moment of support, whether that be volunteering, making a donation or signing up for a fundraising event.

Designing a supporter journey is a mix of science and art; on one hand, it’s logical and measurable, on the other it’s a very creative, emotional process. This journey is super important for a number of reasons (as touched on in our previous blog post):

– Momentum – it keeps this going after the initial exciting engagement.

– Remittance – it helps encourage more people to keep donating/buying merch/fundraising.

– Value – it can drive up the value of individual donors/fundraising.

– Practicalities – it allows you to communicate the details of a campaign or event – something that’s impossible to do in a snappy way in initial comms!

– Deepens connection – as we’ll discuss in more detail later, it really allows you to connect on a more meaningful level with supporters.

– Insight – the real value of the supporter journey is often the data you get from it! How people engage, what they click on, actions they take etc. It also allows you to be reactive, adjusting future content to address problems or add in new opportunities.

For virtual fundraising events in particular (which we’ve seen more of in the last year than ever), the supporter journey literally is the event – so getting it right is crucial.

Most charities tend to base their supporter journey on business needs but measure success on how participants engage with it. A good supporter journey should balance both needs; what you’re trying to achieve as an organisation (e.g. remittance, spreading your message) as well as what the supporter needs (e.g. information, reassurance, reward). From the first communication, you need to be considering the receiver and ensuring that content is useful, inspiring and rewarding.

The building blocks 

The following are the foundation to understanding the landscape you’re going into when beginning to plan your supporter journey:

– Audience – take time consider who you’re speaking to, developing ‘profiles’ for each audience including their motivations and potential barriers.

– Objectives – consider all of the things you’re trying to achieve from this plan.

– Channels – start by mapping out all potential channels – you may not end up using them all, but it’s useful to consider your options from the start.

– Calendar – make a note of all key dates including fixed dates for the campaign, other dates of importance to the charity as a whole and local/national/global dates. Consider the ones you need to avoid clashing with and the ones you could utilise as part of the campaign; for example, you may want to avoid sending comms on your charity’s flag day and send a special email if you campaign overlaps with Halloween.

– Proposition & content – clearly outline your campaign proposition to ensure that this is considered throughout and think about the kinds of content you want to include.

– Assets – think about what materials you need to deliver this plan,whether that be guides, tools, quizzes etc.

The strategic approach

– Segments – Consider segmenting your audience: does everyone get the same content or should you split them into groups? This could be individuals vs. organisations, by distance chosen for a running challenge etc. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you’re not doing it for the sake of it – no need to overcomplicate if it’s not worth it!

– Phases – consider how you want to split up the plan, thinking about pre-, during and post-event. At Killer, we usually have 4-6 phases, but their are several variables to consider when doing this (type of campaign and length of campaign, for instance). When do you want to ramp up fundraising asks and when do you want to bring cause messaging to the forefront?

– Schedule – plan out your send/post dates and times per channel. Consider your mix of planned and triggered content. Examples of triggers: first donation received, X miles logged, £XX fundraised. 

– Objectives – using the objectives from the building blocks stage, consider what you’re trying to achieve out of each communication – you shouldn’t expect every email/SMS/post to hit all of the campaign objectives. 

Once the blocks and strategy are mapped out, it should be a natural progression to producing the final plan…

The plan

– Segmentation – work through the details of the different versions of the messaging for each of your segments. How much difference there is will vary based on the type of project and the groups that you have.

– Personalisation – we’d always recommend greeting people by name, but consider other ways to personalise content based on what they’ve told you at sign-up and what you already know about them – are they an existing or new supporter? What’s their current fundraising status? Also consider things like making phone calls to top fundraisers, SMS to participants who haven’t started fundraising yet etc.

– Call-to-action – not every post or message needs one, but consider what you want people to do as a result of reading – do you want them to share something on socials? Join a Facebook group? 

– Interactive – you don’t want the comms journey to be too passive; consider how you want people to engage with content – is it watching a video? Voting on a poll? Using a hashtag? 

– Created vs. curated – how can we give added value, tap into motivations and help overcome barriers? Think about how you can use content you already have, third party content and consider creating bespoke materials too. If you’re managing a running event for example, can you share an existing YouTube video on pre-run warm-ups or post-run stretches? There’s already a LOT of content out there, so consider what is worth you spending time and money creating yourselves.

Magic moments

Don’t forget to add some magic moments throughout the journey! When is extra sparkle needed? For example, the welcome email, day 1 of a challenge event, at the ‘finish line’, at certain milestones…

Get creative with how to produce these moments and always start with the supporter:

– Design extra challenges and activities in addition to the core ask

– Share useful and inspirational content (e.g. guides, videos, stories)

– Think about different formats – comms doesn’t always need to be text!

– Scene setting – ‘soft touch’ things around the event e.g. for a virtual marathon, the story of the first person to complete that distance; for a swimming event, interesting places to swim around the world – something that might create a ‘water cooler moment’ (if we were allowed to gather around one!)

– Exclusive content – this is ideal if possible! This could be from celebrity ambassadors and influencers, in-house experts (if you’re a charity with this resource), corporate sponsor content etc. 

– Make it personal – such as sharing service users stories – especially if they’re participating in the event/campaign themselves! 

– Sharing – this could be core asks e.g. fundraising, or soft asks such as hashtags or photo challenges. This has the added bonus of giving you UGC (user-generated content) as well as engaging participants. 

– Conversation starters – think about including questions to prompt discussion, things for participants/supporters to consider.

Go to where your supporters are!

Facebook groups – At Killer, we’re definitely seeing an increased focus on creating community around fundraising events and products. Audiences are more comfortable with it now and almost expect it. Organisations are also becoming more comfortable with it and seeing the benefits.

– Facebook groups are a great way to make participants feel part of something bigger with likeminded people with a common goal.

– They’re great for peer-to-peer support, answering each other’s questions – and it’s easy for you to see and reply too!

– Traditional stewardship can be quite passive and one-sided – Facebook groups challenge that. It’s a good idea to have a named staff member (even if it’s not always them posting) moderating for a personal touch.

– Utilise the technology to help create ‘magic moments’ e.g. polls, sharing playlists, Facebook Live streams.

– It can really help with fundraising – there’s no shame in using groups to remind and encourage fundraisers at the right times!

– Groups are a great source of insight; they can tell you who your audience are, what they’re talking about, what content they’re most engaging with…this information can also help you tweak the current campaign and improve future ones.

Other platforms to consider including in your supporter journey are:

– Strava – great for physical challenge events e.g. swimming, running, cycling, walking.

– Spotify – create bespoke playlists for participants to use in their challenges and at their events – you could even theme them based on the type of activity or the cause of your charity.

– Live Video – whether that be on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, going live is a great way to engage participants and your followers, who will get a notification that you’re online.

– Discord – if you’re running a gaming event, this is the platform to be on to engage gamers.

Final thoughts

– It’s super important to remember that the supporter journey doesn’t end when the campaign or event ends – what do you want people to do next? How does this journey fit into the bigger picture? How do we keep people engaged to participate in the next event, volunteer their time, become a regular giver?

– Do take into consideration that creating a great supporter journey takes time and resource – at least a couple of days of solid work even for experienced strategists. You then have to take into account the design, copywriting, asset creation/curation, images, build, setup and mailing/posting.

– If resource or expertise is a challenge for you but you’re keen to ensure that your stewardship is the best it can be, get in touch to discuss how Killer can take some of the work off your hands! Email Louise, Client Development Manager, at louise.bryant@killercreative.co.uk