Norwescap Creates a Responsive Donor Journey to Increase its Relationship with Supporters

Learn how Norwescap re-engages its lapsed donors by using Virtuous' responsive fundraising tools.

Founded in 1965 under the Johnson Administration and fueled by the advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Norwescap empowers individuals and families in New Jersey to move away from the crisis of poverty, and towards a future where they can thrive. Our mission is to strengthen communities by creating opportunities that improve the lives of low-income individuals and families, and our vision is to help build a community that transforms poverty into opportunity.

The Challenge

Prior to switching to Virtuous, Norwescap was just at the beginning of their journey to build a cohesive and comprehensive development, fundraising, and communications program. The organization itself had been making efforts to unify its various programs and services to create a more comprehensive approach to service delivery, allowing the staff to spend more time devoted to the families and individuals who needed more personalized support. 

As Norwescap’s programs became more integrated, it was clear that a similar development strategy was needed – one that would help donors and supporters understand and connect with the overall mission and the programs that were meaningful to them, and that allowed the small Development team to manage gifts tracking, donor engagement, and communications all in one place.

Additionally, their former CRM provider, DonorPerfect, made it challenging to accurately pull reporting details that are critical to understanding how their fundraising efforts were performing. 

NorWesCap employee helping a person at a computer

How We Helped

Building a Comprehensive Donor Journey

One of the first priorities after implementing Virtuous was to build a robust donor journey to help steward and deepen their relationship with their donors. After implementing Virtuous in September 2022, the Norwescap Development team made it a goal to launch their first donor journey in time for their annual year-end giving campaign. 

Through careful segmentation, the Development team was able to craft a journey, including specific language, for each type of donor – donors who had given at least once in the last five years or had given at least once in the last year. 

“If they had given in the last year, we talked to their recent support, and if they hadn’t we reminded them in the letter. We used merge tags to include the date of when their last gift was given to help personalize it further. By including their last gift date, we were able to then include some of the things that we’ve been able to achieve since their last gift, and invite them to make another gift to keep the work moving forward. Finally, we concluded it with a message of continued support and participation in our community,” says Heather Thompson, Chief Development Officer.

Over the course of their year-end appeal, Norwescap saw a tremendous amount of lapsed donors give and begin to re-engage with their mission once more.

“Every day when the mail would come in and we’d see the stack from the lapsed donor lists we’re like, ‘It’s working, that little nudge I haven’t given in a few years because I didn’t know that I lapsed.’ It’s up to us to remind them, but we really didn’t have an infrastructure that allowed us to do that before.”

Heather Thompson, Chief Development Officer

Multichannel Marketing

In addition to implementing a robust donor journey, the Norwescap Development team can leverage Virtuous’s suite of multichannel marketing tools to further their mission’s impact across a variety of channels—including social media, email, and direct mail. 

Their team is now able to craft campaigns that speak to the heart of the donor and create a larger impact than ever before. By coupling their digital outreach strategy with email marketing and a deeper understanding of analytics, Norwescap can follow up with donors who have received a piece of communication but have not yet fulfilled the ask, either individually or as a group by using Virtuous’s robust query tools.

Additionally, they are now leveraging QR codes in their direct mail pieces to drive supporters to a specific donation page complete with a recipient’s story to maximize their storytelling and impact. 

“It really became one comprehensive campaign and because it was all being managed and tracked through Virtuous, we were able to see every step of the way. We can now answer questions like ‘What’s happening?’, and ‘How are our owners responding?’ ‘How are they interacting?’ ‘How are they behaving?’ And that really allowed us to get very refined with our communication.”

Heather Thompson, Chief Development Officer

Norwescap Improves Strategic Planning

“When I first started at Norwescap two and a half years ago, there was very little strategic planning for our development and fundraising teams. A few of our programs were doing some of their own fundraising – our food bank had a couple of appeals that they would send out each year and a couple of events that they would host. Some of that information was being tracked in DonorPerfect and some of it wasn’t, or being well-maintained or organized,” says Heather. 

Now with the entire organization using Virtuous, it’s easier to better organize and track how well each of their fundraising campaigns, events, and strategies are performing. Because of the increased visibility, there’s more trust in the data that Virtuous can provide – and help steward a more strategic approach. 

Leveraging Responsive Tools

As Norwescap continues to grow its use of Virtuous, the organization is excited to start leveraging other responsive tools to help its mission—including automation, SMS, social insights, and VOMO, our volunteer management platform. 

“We’re excited to start using the social insights tool more to our advantage, looking at how we’re connecting with people on social media and asking them to be ambassadors on social media,” says Heather. 

As for larger-scale plans, Norwescap has recently launched a new website that will leverage Virtuous’ responsive listener pixel, so they can truly see how their donors are interacting with their website and enable them to lean into the interests of their donors more effectively. 

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Todd Shinabarger
Chief Information Officer