People give to charity for the same reasons they always have, but fundraising today requires nonprofits to create and monitor numerous paths to engage their donors, said Melissa Wyers of EveryAction, a consulting company specializing in online fundraising and advocacy.

“It’s an Amazon world, and nonprofits are competing with other online marketers,” said Wyers, speaking at a recent online Bridge Conference for fundraising and marketing professionals. “You need to be as personalized as Amazon. You need a toolset to collect personal information and reflect it back to donors.”

In addition to personalization, Wyers said, nonprofits must provide predictability in their relationships with supporters, and that means more frequent updates of donor records and the type of automation that allows for that. “You need support from technology that is multichannel: direct mail, telemarketing, events, volunteer management, digital and social media,” she added.

Moving away from a focus on the organization’s fundraising calendar to offering a donor hub that allows for dozens of engagement paths, Wyers said, is like “running an airport.” It is critical for fundraisers to be able to assess donors’ experience with their organization at a glance, she added.

In addition, fundraisers need segmentation methods that allow them to group similar donors together and more frequently update information on them than in the past, said Wyers, adding that engagement scores for donors help charities to predict what they will do next and in the future. “That’s why you need to double down on donor scoring and segmentation,” she said.

Multichannel automation, said Wyers, enables charities to do more with the same number of staff or even fewer, but one fact remains: “You need to create dozens and dozens of donor pathways.”

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