When asked how often Canadian Red Cross tweaks it approach toward donor engagement/donor loyalty, Andrew George, Manager, National Donor Loyalty & Retention at Canadian Red Cross, succinctly tells Loyalty360: “Frequently.”

“Collecting feedback and showing donors how we implement their suggestions is a donor experience initiative we’ve used successfully for a few years now,” George explained. “Through both phone and online surveys, we give donors every opportunity to complain. This sounds negative, but most times when a donor has a less than ideal experience, we never hear about it and no improvement is made. Giving donors the opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences, or provide ideas on how we can improve theirs, is what drives our ongoing program enhancements.”
And this approach has led to elevated customer engagement and brand loyalty.
George realizes that his company has a unique set of challenges when it comes to customer loyalty and customer engagement. But, his company takes these topics very seriously and is fiercely committed to its donors.

“Over the past year, our ability to move data from one system to another has increased greatly,” George said. “This has allowed us to deliver faster, more relevant content to donors based on their areas of interest. We have also implemented a donor survey sent to new monthly donors within 24 hours of sign-up. Receiving insight into a donor’s early experience has allowed us to alleviate concerns and issues that were not previously brought to our attention.”
George said Canadian Red Cross’s most obvious challenge centers on cost, which has two parts. One: Simply not having the same type of budget a for-profit organization has and, two, the donor’s perception on how efficiently we spend their donation. Money spent on rewards or items is often seen as wasteful rather than a loyalty incentive.
Notably, George has seen a difference in the makeup of Canadian Red Cross donors.
“In recent years, we have seen an increase in millennial donors due, in part, to the Alberta fires emergency last summer,” he explained. “Many of these donors used SMS to send their donations. In response, we are increasingly investing in this channel with first aid and disaster preparedness apps as well as using texts as a channel for updates and donor experience.”
Following the Alberta Fires emergency, donor loyalty and stewardship has become a major priority for the Canadian Red Cross.
“Due to an increase in new donors, as well as a large amount of returning appeal donors, showing the donor the impact of their support will be key increasing lifetime value and future support,” George added. “Since the disaster began, we have created and deployed a number of donor updates and engagement activities designed to build a donor’s commitment to our mission.” 

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