What NFPs can learn from Zoe Foster Blake

by Richenda Vermeulen
November 29, 2016


First published on Pro Bono News, ntegrity director, Richenda Vermeulen, explores what Not for Profits can learn from Zoë Foster-Blake, a well-known author and founder of fast-growing skin care range Go-To, who knows success isn’t about campaigns, it’s about the whole customer experience.

Over the weekend at the Business Chicks #9tothrive Convention, I loved listening to Emma Isaacs’s interview with Zoë Foster-Blake. She said something in particular that made me smile:

“I don’t want to get into retail stores because I lose control of what the customer experiences. I want a customer to be delighted at every touch point, from our website, to the packaging, to the use of the product.”

There is so much to draw out of this for the Not for Profit world, because the sentiment is the same for NFPs: to captivate people for the long haul we need to look at the bigger picture.

As a digital strategy agency, one of the most common questions we are approached with is:

“We have one really successful campaign a year and then we flatline. Help us get recurring income.”

As Zoë knows, success isn’t about campaigns. It’s not even about having a visually dynamic instagram, a seamless website experience or an amazing product.

Success is about the whole experience – it’s all of those things, working together.

So what can you learn from  Zoë?

Change your mindset

NFPs often think about success as short-term goals rather than looking at the holistic donor journey.  They may think: “this campaign creative gets people’s attention”  or “charity muggers have the highest conversion rate” or “email is the most effective channel for raising donation”.

Yet, rarely do NFPs think of every tactic and touchpoint as part of a larger donor journey. It’s about changing the way you approach your donors by looking at the linkages between each touchpoint and filling in those gaps to ensure they are smoothly connected.

If NFPs thought like Zoë, they would look at the whole picture: from creating content that regularly inspires and delights people, to a website experience that is clear, easy and enjoyable, to the post-donation experience that’s worth telling people about.

Do some thinking

Zoë knows that it’s not just about capturing people’s attention before they buy your products, but ensuring that the purchase is enjoyable and that they are compelled to stay with you for the journey: to keep engaging with you and your content and recommending you to others.

This kind of holistic approach takes a lot of thinking beyond when and how you are going to ask donors for money. When you’re in the right frame of mind, think about:

  • How can people interact with you as part of their everyday interactions?

  • How can you be interesting, compelling or meaningful enough to make a lasting impression and for people to want to know more about you?

  • How can you make the donation experience easy and delightful?

  • How can you make donations feel as tangible and real as a product they can hold?

  • How can you give the donor something more before you ask for another donation. The  “more” may be laughter or inspiration or even a handwritten thank-you note.

If you can engage with people meaningfully, both before and after they make a donation, they will give again. And again. And again.

Plan how it all ties together

One thing Zoë didn’t talk about was planning, but if you’re as incredible and instinctual as Zoë is, then a plan isn’t as important. But for all the majority of us, a plan is essential to growing.

A clearly mapped out “donor journey” will help shift your organisation from campaign based engagement to “always on engagement”,  helping you stick to a well thought out plan that keeps your donors continually engaged – which in turn results in ongoing donations.

While mapping out your donor journey can be time consuming and takes careful planning, done right, it can raise more money, give your staff laser sharp focus and create lifelong advocates for your organisation.

All in all – truly understanding your donor journey takes a lot of thinking and planning! But don’t fear, that’s where we come in to do the hard stuff for you. We partner with NFPs and brands –big and small to co-create their journey. If you’d like to have a chat about how we can partner with you, let me know!