Donor loyalty and stewardship is a critical priority for the Canadian Red Cross. Giving donors an ongoing outlet for feedback has better informed the Canadian Red Cross and allowed it to smooth over any rough edges in what has become an omnichannel donor journey.

“In the past year, our analytical insights and capabilities have dramatically changed,” Andrew George, Manager, National Donor Loyalty & Retention at Canadian Red Cross, explained to Loyalty360. “Traditionally, we have been reliant on transactional giving data with very little insight into our donor’s behavior. Due to an investment in behavioral marketing software, as well as new survey software, we are now starting to map out omnichannel donor journeys as they happen with the ability to remove pain points and engage directly with donors to change giving behavior.”

George said Canadian Red Cross is not unlike other industries in many regards.

“Like most industries, our donors are increasingly using digital channels to engage with and support our work,” he explained. “Text-based fundraising increased dramatically during recent large-scale disaster responses. As this has become an increasingly important revenue channel, we have invested in our acquisition text campaigns to reach new donors the way they want to be engaged with.”

Technology continues to play a key role in the evolution of the Canadian Red Cross.
 
“In the past year, we have invested in Pointillist’s behavioral marketing software,” George said. “This has allowed us to integrate data from our CRM, website, and email service provider, giving us the full donor experience picture. Additionally, we have hired Donor Voice to survey our newly acquired monthly donors. This survey assigns a commitment score to the donor which strongly correlates with monthly retention. It also provides donors an outlet to give us feedback they may never have shared and, thus, the opportunity for us to engage and provide a better experience.”

Earning and maintaining brand loyalty remains a challenge.
 
“Our biggest challenge is integrating our fundraising and engagement channels into one omnichannel donor experience,” George explained. “In the past, the donor’s acquisition channel mostly determined future contact points. Through our technological investments, we are now in the process of mapping out the donor’s experience to optimize future giving and increased retention. I think the most underrated part of our engagement/donor experience is that we aren’t selling a product or service. We are selling a mission which is to help the most vulnerable people in Canada and around the world. Our mission is our loyalty program. This provides challenges in that the donor is not receiving an item or service for their investment. It does, however, provide a unique opportunity to connect the donor with our work and to give them the feeling that they are making a meaningful difference.”

George is proud of how the entire Philanthropy team has come together this year to handle many large-scale disaster responses.

“Each team has worked tirelessly to facilitate giving from our donors to help people who desperately need it and provide them with an incredible donor experience,” he added. 

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