How marketing automation can help charities deepen engagement with supporters to raise more money

In this blog, Joanne Warner our Director of International Business Development will explore how non-profits can use the power of marketing automation to build deeper relationships with supporters and ultimately raise more money. 

What is marketing automation?

Have you ever booked a flight and then got an email asking if you want to upgrade or book a seat or add hold luggage? That’s going to be marketing automation.

Have you ever got halfway through an online check out process and stopped only to receive an email from the same company a few hours later asking if there’s something they can help you with? That’s going to be marketing automation. 

Have you ever got an email from your favourite restaurant a week before your birthday offering a free drink to celebrate? That’s going to be marketing automation. 

These are all activities personalised to you and designed to give you a great experience. That’s marketing automation.

Why do we need marketing automation?

Automated emails have a 70.5% higher open rate and a 152% higher click-through rate than standard messages. (Epsilon)

44% of donors told Accenture in 2017 that they would be willing to donate up to 10% more for a personalised experience.

It’s no understatement to say it’s tough times for fundraisers. However, technology, specifically marketing automation can help you deepen your engagement with supporters and ultimately raise more money. 

With the right marketing automation technology you can: 

Plan your campaigns

Imagine knowing how many people you have in each list, having email templates set up, the ability to preview your email, run tests and schedule emails to go at a specific time or for a specific reason. And, more importantly, imagine having this planned in advance so it runs seamlessly. Your job becomes about ongoing optimisation and not slow and manual processes.

Segment your list

Define your conditionsYou can segment on criteria like user data, question responses, participation in advocacy actions or submitted fundraising pages. We know that people often support our cause in different ways. We need a way to prioritise their needs. The right technology puts the tools directly in your hands.




Trigger email series

Choose the type of automation you would like to create.

It’s your supporters birthday, or they’ve just given for the first time, or their credit card is about to expire. Imagine having the ability to get in touch with your supporters at the right time without needing to take any action.





Convert leads to donors

To raise more money your database needs to be continuously growing and you need to have plans of how to convert those people to financial support. We know it can feel overwhelming but marketing automation can help you define journeys and workflows.  

Engage with your supporters in a relevant way

It’s all about collecting the right data from your supporters in the right way. Do you know why they joined your list? What they are interested in hearing about from you? Consider, can you ask them to take further actions or complete surveys to help you gain insight and understanding? Your technology should help you get a better understanding of your supporters and their needs.  

Analyse and optimise your journeys

Analyse your journeysYou need to know what’s working and what’s not. You’ll want to split test your content, test your subject lines, change your priorities. You may want to amend content for seasonal activities. Ensure you are constantly reviewing and powering up when something’s working and dialling down when it’s not. The right technology will give you the insight you need. 


Is your organisation ready for marketing automation?

How does your activity benchmark against best practice? Is there more you could be doing to build relationships and deepen engagement with your supporters? Take our marketing automation health check today to understand how your organisation measures up.

Chloe Green is a copywriter and digital campaigner with almost a decade of experience in the charity and political sectors. She’s delivered campaigns, copy and consultancy for a raft of good eggs including Anthony Nolan, the National Union of Students, St Mungo’s, and Hillary for America. She was Social Media Manager at the Labour Party between 2016–2019 and now she’s Head of Creative with the lovely team at Forward Action. She leads on fundraising emails, UX copy, and all creative facilitation. She’s an expert in email list growth, digital strategy, organic and paid-for social media, and digital mobilisation.

Rachel founded the specialist charity web agency, Rechord, in 1999. Between 1999 and 2012 they created hundreds of different web applications for organisations in the UK and internationally.
In 2013 she became the 'Donor Whisperer' and focused on helping small to medium-sized non-profits to reach new donors and activists and from there increase their income. She uses a unique process that combines the benefits of consultancy with capacity building.
Her clients include Traidcraft Exchange, the Overseas Development Institute, Jubilee Debt Coalition, the Leprosy Mission of England and Wales, Tax Justice UK, The Canary, Humanity and Inclusion, the Anti-Tribalism Movement, BRACE, New Family Social, Arseh Sevom - and that's just the last year.
She also feels weird writing about herself in the third person.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Hannah is Senior Campaigns Officer at the MS Society, working on their local campaigning programme, Local Action for MS and also on social care and carers. She’s worked at the MS Society for a year and a half, and was previously at the MND Association and National Voices.

Executive Director of C6 Digital, London based agency

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Having gotten his start organizing with anti-war veterans and working as Sala Labs, Sales Engineer, and Partner Manager, Bryan now brings his expertise to non-profit and mission-driven clients as 4Site Studios Director of Digital Strategy. Specializing in challenging and complex projects, Bryan works with each client to craft holistic approaches tailored to goals, budget, and outcomes.

Mary Margaret Callahan is the Chief Mission Officer for Pet Partners, where she is responsible for leading mission delivery including the therapy animal program and grassroots advocacy program. She joined Pet Partners in 2013 and has worked to establish the organization as both an influencer and a resource within the animal-assisted intervention (AAI) and human-animal bond (HAB) community. In 2018 she was named one of PetAge Magazine’s Women of Influence. Mary Margaret lives on a small farm outside Seattle with her husband, daughter and menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens, goats and miniature donkeys.

Joe Derry Hall is a freelancer working on creative digital and communications. His interests include tech innovation, upending power and reimagining different futures. Joe has been the winner of a Mozilla Creative Media Award and the joint winner of a BAFTA digital award. He was previously in-house in campaigning and communications roles at Amnesty International, the Climate Coalition, the Ecocide campaign, Save the Children, Scope and others. He is one of the initiators of Right Way Up, an experiment to create a radical, practical new vision for the social change sector.

Anna Chowcat is the Digital Manager at Refuge and oversees the charity’s digital function and output. Since joining Refuge, Anna has been instrumental in introducing a number of digital engagement programmes including digital campaigns, bespoke email supporter journeys and user friendly donate/campaign pages. Before joining Refuge, she has worked in digital engagement and campaign roles at The Labour Party and Leonard Cheshire Disability.