Episode 182: Using Data and Personas to Retain “COVID Donors”

February 11, 2021 Blackbaud, Inc.

Over the past year, a lot of experts have joined the show to talk about the different ways that social good organizations can respond in the age of COVID-19 to continue their missions and impact. Now that we are almost a year in, what have we learned and how can we retain the new donors we’ve had give to our organizations?

Today, Melissa Bank Stepno, Director of Analytics & Business Consulting Services at Blackbaud, joins the podcast to talk about some lessons we’ve learned from organizations that have been successful with engaging new donors during the pandemic. Listen in to hear Melissa speak with Steve MacLaughlin about why retention matters so much right now, how to successfully leverage personas, what organizations are doing differently from a data and analytic standpoint, and how to cut through the noise and better communicate with donors.


Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • What Melissa has seen and learned about fundraising over the past few months
  • Which sample sets are being looked at and compared
  • Donor engagement factors
  • What Melissa has seen organizations do from a data and analytic standpoint that’s different from before COVID-19
  • How to take advantage of new analytics
  • How applying the use of more analytics is a way of leveling up
  • How organizations can cut through the noise and communicate with donors
  • Choosing messages that resonate with particular groups




Melissa Bank Stepno

Supporters in Sight Part 4: A Look at Direct Marketing Personas

The sgENGAGE Podcast Episode 144: Leveraging Personas for Fundraising During COVID-19

Turning Data Into Dollars



“In some ways, 2020 gave us acquisition by happenstance.”

“Those of us who do appreciate the arts want to make sure that when the world returns to whatever our new normal looks like, those organizations that we supported in the past are still there.”

“I do think I’ve seen a lot of organizations who didn’t have good data and analytics practices realize how critical it is this past year.”

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