Growing Donations – How Scotland’s Small Non-Profits Can Harness the Cloud

The goal of our DigitalScot.social program is to help Scotland’s social enterprise sector better access technology solutions that can help scale their essential services.

Often they find themselves constrained in terms of lacking the in-house skills and/or budget required to tap into the latest technologies, and similarly can be burdened with older systems that restrict their ability to implement new growth initiatives.

For example recently we helped a small non-profit in Scotland migrate away from their legacy Drupal CiviCRM applications to the Cloud.

They had built up their entire business model on using this older system, via a single in-house tech developer who moved on from the organization, freezing it in time so that no further enhancements were possible, and the operational environment decayed to a dangerous level of reliability.

We migrated them to a new hosting service to resolve that immediate issue, and transitioned their data from CiviCRM to ActiveCampaign, a modern Cloud-based digital marketing application, then integrating this with GoCardless so they could build an automated system for growing recurring donations.

Open Banking

This is the key message of the Cloud : It makes powerful, enterprise-scale technologies accessible to even the smallest of organizations.

For example ‘Open Banking’ is the trend where financial organizations are better interconnecting their systems to enable powerful new digital services.

The core capability of GoCardless is integrated Direct Debit, joining up a myriad of apps like CRM and accounting with the mechanism for automating recurring payments.

A great GoCardless case study of a non-profit using them for recurring donations is Comic Relief. This case study explains how they used the service to greatly increase their donations, encouraging donors to become repeat givers.

Digital Marketing Platform

For our client we set up a Woocommerce-based e-commerce site and integrated it with GoCardless for recurring donatiosn and ActiveCampaign for automated email marketing.

They sell a variety of products such as books, t-shirts and research reports, and the integrated system means all purchases are synchronized with ActiveCampaign, making possible ongoing, automated email marketing to encourage further sales and donations.

This is achieved through a key ActiveCampaign feature of ‘Automations‘.

This means you can program event-driven scripts to run when key trigger actions occur, such as:

  • Payment or unsubscribe – When a user takes a major step like paying you or requesting to leave your marketing list, you may want to respond quickly with a welcome pack or a sorry to see you go message.
  • Campaign tracking – You send a promo excerpt that invites them to follow a link to learn more. Each link click is logged and you can review reports showing these response rate levels.

From this you can build procedures that activate and execute automatically each and every time you engage with your contacts without any further effort from you and enabling end-to-end automated campaigns.

You can define a complete sales process sequence, from initial contact through ongoing follow ups for cross and upsell, and that even trigger when events occur like an abandoned shopping cart.

The better designed these automations the more the technology can do the heavy lifting work for you, in terms of the ongoing nurturing digital marketing requires.

For non-profits this regular engagement, combined with services like GoCardless, can translate into a significant uplift in their donation revenues.

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