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In recent years, technology — and more specifically, the internet — has helped savvy online businesses make money from low-demand items. One of the best illustrations of this is what Amazon has done with books and various forms of media. The traditional brick-and-mortar bookstore and retailer has limited shelf space, so it tends to focus on stocking popular titles that will sell. Space constraints and the need to move stock combine to limit selection.

Then Amazon, which doesn’t have to worry about physical space limitations, came along and gave shoppers access to essentially every book, movie, and CD ever published. It didn’t care what readers bought as long as they bought it from Amazon.

As Jeff Bezos and company soon discovered, there was enormous demand for basically anything beyond the basic selection offered by the traditional big box stores. By tapping into that demand, Amazon not only captured the market for more obscure titles and brands, it captured the lion’s share of the market for best-selling items.

Going beyond just normal everyday objects, Amazon has continued to invest heavily in its Prime membership program, offering even more convenience to everyday buyers. This investment has paid off significantly, too, as Amazon has seen 30 million signups in each of the last two years while also seeing renewal rates of over 90%.1

Quite frankly, those are incredible numbers. But why has Amazon seen this explosive growth? By offering countless perks and deals that only members can get. Free delivery, streaming access to thousands of movies and TV shows, and shopping deals with other companies like Whole Foods Market. Amazon is simply giving its customers a wide-ranging shopping experience they can’t get anywhere else.

What does this have to do with nonprofits?

When applying this principle to nonprofits, we have to consider how intentional and relevant we are with our donors when asking them to engage. Whether to give, volunteer, fundraise, advocate, etc., do we make it convenient for them to engage on their schedule? Do we frame up opportunities for them to connect around their interests and passions for your organization? Do we have a way to record and track even a few minutes of engagement? Or is everything a prescribed “box” that a donor must fit into before they can participate or give?

Specific donors may ask questions like, can I select and control the way I want to engage with your organization, or do you control that? And are you inspiring me around my life and the networks I live in, not just the ways that are convenient for you?

This is a hard one and tough pill for some to swallow but may be the most important. Until we create breakthrough experiences that are donor-centric and stop pushing our “box”, we won’t fully realize the potential for our donors to engage.

When a nonprofit creates a clear, proactive, consistent brand that is intentional and relevant, the content becomes clearer. Being able to connect with the donor through relevant content delivered in a timely and accessible place is a foundational step in donor acquisition and retention.

Contact your iDonate representative today to see how can be making the most of the good you do.

1 Amazon Prime Membership Growing at 30 Million a Year

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