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The Future of Nonprofits is UX

RKD’s Digital team spends a lot of time focused on user experience, or UX.

They continually ask, “How can we make the UX as easy, intuitive, and friction-free as possible when a person visits a website, landing page, or donation form?”

Yes, UX is crucial to digital experiences.  But it’s not limited to what happens on connected devices.  UX encompasses every channel, online and offline, every interaction with donors and prospects.

Which is why linking UX to customer value is a hot topic in every marketing channel, in consultant conference rooms and across sectors, including retail.

A focus on UX forces us to think beyond the channel and focus on the engagement.

Beyond the channel

Optimizing UX is as simple as answering these five questions:

  1. Who are the users engaging with your website, donation form, or direct mail appeal?
  2. What are their goals?
  3. What tasks do your audiences need to complete to meet their goal?
  4. What journey or route do your users need to take to achieve their tasks?
  5. What context or circumstances could affect their journey or route?

When optimizing for UX in offline channels such as direct mail, these are the kinds of questions you should ask:

  1. Is the direct mail letter easy to read?
  2. Is the reply form too crowded?
  3. What is the communication journey for someone right after their first gift?
  4. Is the envelope flap lightly glued down so it’s easy to open?

But UX transcends individual marketing pieces.  One major breakthrough for RKD has been a focus on the UX of people who engage with our company as they interact with our:



Integration across channels.

People and our spirit of partnership as we work with organizations to help make the world more humane, just and compassionate.

What is the optimal user experience?

We’re relentlessly in pursuit of answering this simple question: What is the optimal user experience?

This isn’t just a feel-good.  Consistently delivering a superior UX to clients and customers is a key value driver and integral to a strong brand identity.  In fact, one could say that the UX a company delivers is the brand.  According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

Therefore, it must be a focus for agencies like RKD Group, but also for nonprofits.

What is the UX for someone you want to become a donor?

What is the UX for someone after she has given for the first time?

And then on a personal level, how do others inside and outside your nonprofit experience you –as an individual who, like it or not, is a brand ambassador for the organization?

How does your personal UX contribute to, or detract from, the UX others feel when engaging with your nonprofit?

UX is one of the major transformations impacting nonprofits right now—and organizations who choose to focus on improving and optimizing their UX in all of its dimensions will excel in acquiring new donors, retaining them for longer periods of time, and increasing the revenue needed to fund their missions.

Tim Kersten

Widely regarded as one of the nation’s top direct response fundraising, strategic and creative talents, Tim Kersten brings more than 40 years of experience to his role as Chairman of RKD Group. Prior to joining RKD, he served as Chief Creative Officer and Executive Creative Director at two national advertising agencies and ran his own successful direct response fundraising consultancy for nearly 25 years.

Some of the nation’s largest and most respected nonprofit organizations that have benefited from Tim’s insightful and persuasive communication strategies include the Smithsonian Institution, American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, National Park Foundation, Covenant House, and dozens of others. Tim’s work has been recognized by his receipt of four Direct Marketing Association Echo Awards (gold, leader and two silver from 1986 to 2010) and a prestigious International Caples Award (2010).

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