ASU Foundation Takes Online Giving Experience to Higher Level
While Arizona State University professors were busy educating the future generation, the university’s nonprofit organization was creating a lesson on the future of fundraising.
The lesson? Ecommerce websites aren’t only for customers to purchase their favorite products. Turns out, they make for outstanding vehicles for donations.
The ASU Foundation, a subsidiary of ASU Enterprise Partners, raises, creates, and invests resources for the benefit of Arizona State University. The foundation had a goal of increasing donation revenue and knew that in order to realize that goal, it needed to improve on the 95% donor-abandonment rate it had been experiencing. To tackle this, ASU Enterprise Partners partnered with Merkle to create a commerce strategy that would simultaneously boost donation revenue and engage potential donors to act.
University donors seek to make their mark on the institution they’re supporting and want to know exactly where their money goes. This insight was key in developing a solution that would encourage more donations to the ASU Foundation.
To acquire, engage, and retain donors, Merkle crafted three strategic imperatives to evolve the ASU giving website from a donation transaction to a generosity experience. These three imperatives were to know your donor, personalize the journey, and inspire action through timely, relevant, and personalized content and communication that educates and encourages donations.
Starting with the website functionality, ASU needed a versatile platform that minimized the steps from the selection of a fund to the donation, minimized interruptions during subscription donation checkout, and provided a content-rich experience for donors. And Merkle knew the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform could do all that, and more.
Merkle and ASU leveraged SFCC to develop a giving-focused site that uses the Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA) codebase to allow ASU to manage its scholarships and funds. Using product titles and calls-to-action buttons, the agency developed opportunities for donors to select a fund and donate immediately or select a fund and continue exploring to find additional causes to support.
The site enables donors to support causes and initiatives the university may be working on, as well as donate to a specific scholarship, department, or school within the university. While functionality was critical, ASU also sought a content-rich experience. Merkle worked with ASU to tell the stories behind the initiatives through video and visually engaging content.
Additionally, Merkle built a single-page checkout that allows donors to customize fields, select preset or custom donation amounts, and set up recurring donations for whatever time interval they prefer. Each donation can also be customized for making a tribute, gift in honor of or memory of someone, company match, corporate gift, or anonymous gift.
The agency also configured the new ASU Commerce Cloud site with no shipping, taxes, address validation, or inventory in a way so that those options can be added in the future if ever desired. Finally, the new site is integrated with Salesforce Marketing Cloud to allow for a single view of the donor, triggered email sends, and a giving journey of email messages to nurture donors for future support.
Merkle and ASU Enterprise Partners sought to create a solution that would appeal to donors with causes close to their hearts. The site launched to an enthusiastic response, providing tools to better connect with donors and drive support toward causes that span across the university, helping students change the world. Since then, the work has driven awareness and validation to ASU’s approach, including being named a Salesforce Partner Innovation Award winner.