An Integrated Approach to Audience Engagement
Over the course of my career, I’ve sat on nonprofit advocacy, fundraising, and communications teams—all in an overall digital engagement capacity. I’ve been in those meetings (if you’ve been at a nonprofit for even a hot second you know the ones I’m talking about) with program leads whose priority lists are very different from mine. And I’ve been part of the teams whose job it is to achieve alignment, meet all the goals, and construct holistic journeys out of a plethora of KPIs, messaging points, and strategic frameworks.
If you’re also tasked with creating strong user journeys that incorporate diverse goals, I’ll share three things I’ve learned about developing an integrated approach.
1. The Money is the Mission
It might surprise you, but as Media Cause’s Director of Advocacy, I’m on board with a fundraising-centric approach to nonprofit strategy and journey building. Organizations that get it—and consequently have the strongest, most engaged supporter bases—understand that at the end of the day (or fiscal year), the dollar signs are the indicators of a happy, healthy base who fund your work because they believe in all the things you do for your cause. And all mobilization programs have an important part to play in building up that bottom line, even if they aren’t directly responsible for fundraising goals. Remember: Your donors want to help you solve the problem you’re working on, often by advocating to government leaders, being an evangelist for your mission, and volunteering and —and! — donating.
2. #DTR: Building REAL Relationships
If you’re a marketer or a communications officer, you’ve got the ol’ funnel of engagement practically burned into your retinas. We may call the different steps by different names, but overall, we’ve agreed these are the general phases.
What’s wonderful about advocacy’s role in our favorite funnel is that it has a role in each and every step. Your relationship with your donors shouldn’t be transactional; they need other opportunities to engage and see themselves not only as donors, not only as advocates but as holistic supporters of your organization. And for those who don’t yet support you, advocacy can provide an alternative “way in” for people who may not be receptive to fundraising ask out of the gate. Communicating about your advocacy and policy work at each level of the funnel provides excellent opportunities to increase your audience’s understanding of your mission and vision.
3. People Matter
Finally, but perhaps foremost, we come to my third takeaway: People matter. Your supporters need to be continuously reminded of how and why they matter — and their motivations and profiles belong at the core of your journey design. Top tips for centering the user in your journeys include not overwhelming them with asks, giving them multiple starting points, inviting them to engage in other ways, and—like your mother taught you—always saying ‘thank you.’
So, next time you’re in one of those meetings where every lead has a different goal in mind, remember that it really is possible to design user journeys that support fundraising, advocacy, and all the other objectives. The key is to agree on the primary destination, then implement the activations, touchpoints, and engagement strategies to get there across all programs and platforms.
There are multiple paths to the summit; what you need to do is make sure all your trails eventually lead there.
Sherpas to Your Summit If you’re overwhelmed by the puzzle pieces of program objectives, goals, platforms, and strategies at your organization, you’re not alone! Our team at Media Cause is here to help. We’ve got decades (better yet, centuries) of collective experience under our belt when it comes to mapping out high-level, strategic user journeys and implementing the tactics and touchpoints to support them. Silos are our nemesis, and we take pleasure in breaking them down to help you and your supporters arrive at your destination.