Maximizing Engagement through Digital Donor Reporting

Robb Hoffheins
November 7, 2022

Delivering donor reports digitally is an increasingly popular trend in the nonprofit and higher education fundraising, donor relations, and stewardship world. More and more organizations are looking for ways to share the impact of their work with donors in an individually personalized and engaging way online—one that also provides much more insights than print reporting into the level of engagement that they are getting from their reporting.

By using Mythos, organizations can more easily collect and share their stories of impact with donors, providing them with real-time—or at a minimum, more frequent—updates on the impact of their contributions.

In this post, I’ll explore the benefits of digital donor reporting, how Mythos can help organizations migrate from PDFs and print to digital reporting (or maintain an appropriate mix of print and digital, as the case may be), and what we’ve seen as the best strategy and approach for implementing and delivering donor reports in a microsite experience.

One of the key advantages of sending donor reports digitally is that it can empower organizations to share real-time or at a minimum more frequent updates with donors on the impact of their contributions. This can help to foster deeper relationships with donors and make them feel more invested in the organization’s mission and vision.

In addition, digital donor reporting allows organizations to tailor their communications to the interests and preferences of each individual donor, increasing engagement and cultivating further investment in the organization’s cause.

Another key advantage of reporting to donors via a digital experience is the analytics that can be measured and reported about donor engagement with the report content. Whether that’s visits, clicks, time spent, or the lack thereof, donor relations and stewardship teams can gain valuable insights into what is engaging donors the most and use that information to further tailor the content in the future or as a means of triggering automated or informed follow ups with each donor.

Mythos is a platform that provides a range of tools that streamline the donor and gift reporting process—from collecting various types and formats of content via dynamic, data-driven, smart surveys; automatically organizing that content based on donor interest or for workflow optimization; managing the content efficiently with search, review, editing, and approval features; and then publishing that content into highly personal and relevant story-based reports and communications—whether that’s in PDF or website format.

Mythos is designed and built specifically for higher education and nonprofit Advancement, Donor Relations, and Stewardship teams looking to more effectively and efficiently manage the donor reporting process. With Mythos publishing tools and its intelligent donor reporting and communications software templates, organizations can create PDF-based reports or incorporate more digital communications, including donor reporting, or implement a strategy for migrating from print to digital donor reporting.

As for the best approach for implementing a digital donor reporting strategy, we’ve found that the answer varies depending on the specific needs and goals of each organization—and maybe more importantly, the preferences of the donors. However, the Mythos team has found—after working with many large institutions across the country—that a measured and deliberate approach is most effective.

But what does that mean in practice when it comes to delivering your donor reports digitally? It starts with identifying a subset of donors that 1) you have emails for and 2) you think are representative of your organization’s donor base and/or are good candidates for “early adoption” of a digital reporting experience. The size of the subset should be at least 10% of your donor base. This gives you an initial audience to which you can test the delivery of the first version of your reports in digital format and get enough feedback and usage insights and analytics to make changes or improvements before rolling it out more broadly.

With this approach, if you find that something you’ve implemented or a tactic you’ve used in the crafting and/or delivery of the digital reports is flawed, you can adjust as needed before rolling out to the next group. You can also use Mythos Insights (digital analytics on donor engagement) to see what is working and what is not and use these insights to polish the content and/or the structure of the content.

It also may be advisable to only go out to 30-40% of your donor base before finally sending to the remaining 50-60% as another step in testing and refining your process and approach to delivering the digital reports.

At Mythos, we believe that every donor should be stewarded because every dollar matters in cultivating positive change in the world. We realize the implications of that belief when it comes to the day-to-day workflow of actually trying to deliver on that. That’s why we’ve spent well over a decade creating a donor reporting software platform that is designed to make reporting more efficient AND more effective.

In conclusion, digital donor reporting has many potential benefits but is not the be-all and end-all strategy. Every donor is different. Print and digital experiences each have value. Mythos can help you do either or both whether you are just getting started with digital reporting or looking to streamline your existing print reporting process.

About the Author

As the Head of Product, Robb is responsible for the success of Mythos from sales to ongoing customer success with the platform.

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