If you were a fundraiser at my alma mater seeking a donation from me for a new building, a progressive campaign might look like this:
Step 1 – Awareness
The first step might be an offer (seemingly from you) to see if I’d like a digital version of my yearbook from my graduation year. Maybe I hadn’t thought of the university in a while. Perhaps I lost my yearbook. But wouldn’t it be great to get a digital version so I could share pictures with old friends on Facebook?
That offer would get me into the awareness stage of the donor journey. It would seriously tweak my memories and pull on my heartstrings. Finally, it would set in motion the unbelievably persuasive law of reciprocity.
Step 2 – Potential Interest
I fill out the form on the landing page and your technology drops a tracking cookie on my browser (just like Amazon and almost every other private-sector marketer). The form could also ask about my interests to see if I might consider taking a tour of campus someday in the future. I say, “Yes, I might do that.”
Step 3 – Solid Interest
Later, my awareness could be moved to interest when I receive another personalized email (seemingly from you) inviting me to sign up for a tour of a building that housed my journalism classes when I was there. The fundraiser (or her database) knew I majored in journalism, right?
Step 4 – Movement
Feeling good thanks to your courteous outreach, I sign up to take the tour.
Step 5 – Trust
As we walk together, we build rapport and chat. You’re happy and so am I. There’s no pressure or friction. After all, I came to you. I wanted to! I opted in and you were there to facilitate an experience that was designed to make me feel good.
Step 6 – Desire Begins to Build Along With A 1-to-1 Relationship
During my tour, I notice the journalism building is 30 years older than when I was taking classes there. Go figure! It’s now in disrepair and the air conditioners don’t work. Nevertheless, I put the thought aside as so many of my college memories come back. I recount how I met my best friends there and where I hung out with the girl who would become my wife.
Step 7 – Desire Continues To Grow
Later, while I’m helping my daughter with her homework, I think to myself, “It’s really a shame that the old building is in such bad shape.” I still brush aside the thoughts because I’m busy.
Step 8 – More movement
A few weeks later, I get another personal email (seemingly from you) followed by a touching letter in the mail mentioning that the school is considering a renovation to restore the journalism building back to its old glory. Both the email and the letter give me an opportunity to see an image of what the architect believes the “before and after” result will be. I click on the photo to be led to videos of current students talking about their aspirations. Instantly I feel warmth as my interest is moved to a desire to help. Besides the images and videos online, I notice there are naming rights available for the new building, its rooms, the lobby, and even for the benches outside. I click to learn more.
Step 9 – Action!
While I’m doing this, your technology is following my progress online. I’m ready. So you call me—and I’m really glad you did. We talk a bit, you explain some details, and I pledge my support. My desire has been moved to action, thanks to you.
Best of all, I feel good. I was empowered to make an impact and the experience was absolutely seamless. Almost all of the communication was done at low cost digitally, the channel I prefer. The offers provided opportunities for me to lean in and engage further. It was all about me. You satisfied my needs first, not the university’s. Your communications and offers enabled me to self-inform and self-solicit while you facilitated the process at just the right time.
That’s Engagement Fundraising using progressive profiling and automated cultivation. It works because it allows people the opportunity to self-direct their own mini-actions over time and turn them into big actions (maybe big donations) later with your help.
Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!