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How Nonprofits Can Leverage the Latest Trend in For-Profit Technology

By November 17, 2020

For-profit brands have been buzzing about the latest technology to have a big impact on the market: customer data platforms (CDP). Salesforce recently launched its own: Customer 360 Audiences. A CDP is software that can do a few things, like: 

  • Connect customer data in a single place
  • Reconcile customer identities
  • Develop unified, real-time customer profiles
  • Serve up insights on who customers are, where they’ve come from, what they’re looking at, and what they’re interested in.

Part of why this technology is trending is because it connects all those scattered data points on customer engagement, and turns them into something actionable. This in turn makes it easier to identify new target audiences, understand what drives them and what they’re interested in, and then appeal to them, attract them, and engage them — all in real-time.

Wooden blocks with people icon on pink background.

Connecting supporter touchpoints is kind of like an engagement spiderweb.

But what can a customer data platform do for Nonprofits?

Now, a CDP like Customer 360 Audiences may be a customer data platform, but it can do a lot of the things nonprofits need to do like identify brand new audiences of potential supporters, understand what they’re passionate about, and encourage them to engage with the organization. And it doesn’t stop at acquisition. Customer 360 also surfaces data insights over time. So once a nonprofit has attracted new supporters, the organization can keep learning about a potential donor’s passions, preferences, and interests — and then turn that into action by personalizing their engagement.

Supporters expect to be known, recognized, and remembered. They want to feel like they’re part of a nonprofit’s mission, and see that reflected in the engagement they have with an organization. Customer 360 can help a nonprofit do just that.

Not only can organizations use it to track supporter engagement across their preferred channels, it can also help nonprofits uncover a whole new group of supporters that are similar to their biggest advocates, and then appeal to them in highly relevant ways to sustain longer-term relationships over time.

The How?s and Huh?s of Identity Resolution

We’ve already shown that CDPs are pretty handy. But when it comes to identity resolution, that’s where they really shine.

Meet Jane Deer. She’s passionate about animals, and learned about her local animal shelter after they tweeted about a new initiative. Even before Jane signs up to volunteer, Customer 360 can tell that she’s interested in animals, lives in the area, and found out about the projects her local shelter is running through Twitter. So when her local shelter is trying to reach out to new supporters in Jane’s area, the organization knows to advertise new projects through Twitter, to women Jane’s age, who live within a 25 mile radius of the shelter.

Then, once she gives her email address, Customer 360 puts the pieces together to recognize Jane based on her history of engagement with the organization through her preferred channels. The result is a unified profile of supporters like Jane, which allows organizations to understand the impact these folks have and continue to engage them.

This helps ensure that Jane’s local animal rescue is aware of her dedication to their mission, and can thank and celebrate her as one of their long-term donors. This personalized recognition makes Jane really happy and more likely to continue making donations in the future.

Nonprofit volunteers packing food.

A better supporter experience means better supporter engagement.

Still not sold? Here are five reasons nonprofits should consider investing in Customer 360:

  1. You’ll be able to personalize engagement — for unknown supporters: This is perhaps the most exciting part of using a CDP. Nonprofits will be able to begin to build personalized relationships with supporters who haven’t given their email address yet. Remember Jane Deer? Before you even get her name and email address, you’ll be able to tell that she’s an animal lover in your region, that often uses twitter to connect with the organizations and causes she’s passionate about, so when you reach out to her you can start with an opportunity to volunteer at the dog park, or an impassioned plea to protect wildlife habitats.

  3. It takes the guesswork out of creating audience segments: Segmentation helps nonprofits connect with groups of supporters and deliver exactly the right message to the right individuals. Whether you’re appealing to runners who like to volunteer, families who attend events with young children, or couples who fundraise together, a CDP helps you create these segments with precision. This segmentation will help you uncover trends so you can pinpoint things like running groups that like to participate in nonprofit 5k run/walk events, and craft content that will resonate with them.

  5. It’ll make keeping tabs on consent a breeze: One of the key use cases for a CDP is that it makes the often-clunky process of managing consent much less complicated. With software-enabled data governance tools embedded right into your CDP, it can actively manage supporter data rights, keeping you compliant.

  7. It makes it easy to activate your data across all touchpoints: CDPs also come in handy for building connected supporter experiences. In 2020, nonprofits used an average of six data sources, with that number expected to increase to eight in 2021. A CDP takes all of these data sources and connects them into a single source of truth for the entire organization. So no matter how your supporters choose to engage with you, you can deliver an outstanding supporter experience on any channel, across all of your touch points, and maintain a view of your supporters’ engagement across all of your channels.

  9. You’ll get a complete view of your supporters in real time: Have you ever waited weeks to try to pull the right series of reports to understand how your last campaign has affected new supporter registration? Customer 360 allows you to view that data in real time. So even if things aren’t going quite the way you want them to, your organization can take action and make adjustments without waiting until the campaign is completed. Tracking in real time also allows nonprofits to engage in a timely way. When events suddenly change the way your constituents are feeling, thinking, or interacting, it’s important to be able to reach out quickly to provide support. If you’re tracking your data in real time, it’s much easier to take a direct action like that in times of need.

Customer 360 has the potential to be an organization’s linchpin, connecting all levels of marketing and engagement to accurate, real-time supporter data.

Learn more about everything Salesforce’s CDP, Customer 360 Audiences, can do for your nonprofit organization.

About the Author

Lautel Okhio
Product Marketing Manager,
Lautel Okhio, Product Marketing Manager,

Lautel is a Product Marketing Manager at on the Nonprofit Marketing and Engagement Team. In her spare time, she likes listening to dance music and practicing Japanese.