How to rally donations and convert supporters into lifelong fans

By: Natalie Khoo
Date: July, 2015
File under: Articles

Garnering financial support is a challenge that all not-for-profit organisations experience. Resources are limited; not knowing what makes supporters tick can often lead to the ineffective use of precious funds.

Bush Heritage Australia came to U1 Group asking how it could best allocate its resources to inspire potential supporters to take action – and motivate one-off donators to become long-term fans.

Persona development and customer journey maps

For any organisation to make its mark, it first must understand the attitudes, behaviours and needs of its audience. This is where design and discovery come in.

For Bush Heritage Australia, U1 Group ran focus groups with a total of 34 participants comprising both existing and potential supporters. Staff and stakeholders were also quizzed so their point of view could be considered.

The end result? A fantastic set of five personas representing each audience group was delivered, along with detailed customer journey maps that highlight each supporter’s engagement patterns.


Journey map


Applying UX research to help not-for-profits raise money

Our findings determined the following strategies would help generate (and maintain) donations from supporters:

  • Sharing the impact of contributions via visually engaging stories
  • Posting regular updates via social media channels
  • Investing in SEO to rank for keywords related to its cause
  • Providing educational materials free of charge to those interested
  • Pairing tax receipts with feel-good updates on how funds are being put to use
  • Asking supporters how they prefer to receive communication
  • Getting involved with grassroots conservation groups
  • Offering non-financial ways to contribute, such as volunteer opportunities
  • Ensuring supporters are greeted with a personal experience each time
  • Acknowledging long-term supporters as ‘part of the team’
  • Articulating long-term goals.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. For Bush Heritage Australia, we identified which methods would work best for different audience groups compared to others.

Project highlights

Working for a good cause is always rewarding – and in this case, exploring ideas with those passionate about environmental conservation was a real thrill.

Bush Heritage Australia was invited to view the focus groups and interviews, up close and personal, in U1 Group’s professional UX testing facilities. This experience was a great eye-opener. Staff members were able to uncover thoughts of participants firsthand, and validate internally what was working and what wasn’t. Better yet, staff learned how resources could be redirected to produce the most effective results.

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