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success guaranteed.

We guarantee you'll
raise more in your first
year or your money back.

Terms and conditions apply

How to Fundraise, Netflix Style

Netflix has forever changed the way we watch our favorite shows and arguably, our general construct of television. Hulu, Amazon, and now Apple are all trying to replicate the Netflix model for their customers. What can nonprofits take away from Netflix’s business practices and incorporate into our fundraising plans to create a more enjoyable, memorable, shareable donor experience?

Adopt technology that integrates and automates multi-channel communication

As any Netflix user will attest, there is an unending amount of programming available to stream or rent. To curate an experience for each individual user, Netflix developed a simple—but highly effective—multi-channel engagement strategy.

Through notifications via email and on our smartphones, Netflix promotes shows based on your existing viewing habits. They also align similar shows and new programming as personalized suggestions for you. Who hasn’t discovered a new favorite binge-watch show based on a Netflix suggestion?

In this busy, mobile world, Netflix engages you where you are, not just where they want you to be, to drive engagement. Through their programming and accessibility, Netflix makes you feel like you are a segment of one and that their programming is tailored just for you.

Study donor engagement levels to measure your fundraising activity

Many nonprofit staffers worry about sending too many emails too often to donors. However, it’s not frequency that most people mind. It’s irrelevant content. So, how often should you contact donors? Network for Good’s research shows that 40 percent of donors would like updates one to two times per month. Use a bi-weekly e-newsletter to track your supporter’s interest levels.

Again, look at Netflix. Why do we engage with their regular emails—and even look forward to them? Because Netflix has a deep understanding of data, beginning with how we engage with their content, including:

  • What device(s) users access programming, when, where, and how long.
  • Amount of time lapsing between watching one episode and the next.
  • Number of users watching an entire series and over what period of time.
  • Combinations of programming watched by user age, ethnicity, and zip code.
  • The day(s) users watch what type of content and genre.

Netflix’s focus on engagement doesn’t just work to drive retention, it helps predicts it, too. Nonprofits could dramatically affect their donor retention rates by focusing on engagement as a key metric.

Create a donor-centric experience based on donor preferences

The idea that one-message-fits-all for current and lapsed donors, special event attendees, volunteers, board, friends and family, and prospects, in the context of what Netflix has proven, is simply outdated. There’s no excuse any more to not personalize your message and segment your donor lists for more tailored communications. For a truly donor-centric experience, reimagine segmentation and look beyond gift history, frequency, size, and relationship to the organization. These are all important data points, but they mean more to the fundraiser than the donor. Leverage your programming (events, campaigns, initiatives) to reinforce the value of your donors’ philanthropy.

Make no mistake, the quality, variety, and sheer volume of their programming options drives Netflix’s ability to acquire customers, but alone does not retain them. Netflix relies on data, segmentation, personalization, and multi-channel communication to engage and keep their customers coming back for more, and often. Nonprofits need to do the same.

To dive deeper into what Netflix can teach us about fundraising, download our White Paper, Our Digital Dilemma today.

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