The New Nonprofit Conversion Funnel for Viral Success

Conversion funnels are a necessity for successful growth. You’ve heard so many philosophies but they can be difficult and time consuming. I’m here to tell you, that’s because they’re all missing one key step. This conversion funnel will help you go from mediocre to extraordinary. Organizations have used the same technique for ages. Every action they take toward customer acquisition is written in stone. Some companies have poured millions and millions of dollars into those actions. Billions depending on the company. These companies have hired the best and have nailed down exactly how to squeeze every penny they can out of what they have. What if they had more to squeeze? The non profit industry isn’t even this sophisticated sometimes. Many organizations are only now coming to age, at least some organizations that is. Even though, they are sitting on a gold mine, an oil geyser, a diamond shaft, they still haven’t adapted. We have seen great success in grandiose displays of do goodery. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, KONY 2012, Occupy Wall Street, Arab Spring, Humans of New York, these are the upper echelons of cause related success. But how? These campaigns are what every charity strives for and every corporation only wishes they were a part.

Level 0 – Pre-Discovery

What if I told you all this can become much more predictable? Much more successful? Bigger in every way. It all comes down to the fatal flaw of all conversion funnels. Before we get into that fatal flaw, let’s examine the conversion funnel as we all see it today. Step one you have your pre-discovery. This is when you and your team get together and determine your target audience. Your plan of attack. We like to call that, Level 0. After that you have passed the event horizon and you enter, Level 1.

Level 1 – Discovery

This is the discovery stage. Where your target audience, or at least, if you did your homework right, your target audience begins to discover your message. Common knowledge would tell you that this is where you want to prepare your target audience for acquisition. This could be liking, sharing, commenting, or some other simple action that begins the relationship. Unfortunately, that is the wrong way to think about it. With that mindset you are already thinking how do I acquire this person. “I got them to interact with me, how do I acquire them.” Wrong. Your mindset should be, what knowledge do they have to offer me. Think of it like they are selling you, not the other way around. There is a reason this is the most difficult step and why you can get 95%+ drop off rates between steps. Let’s not be those people.

Level 2 – Pre-Acquisition (The most important level)

Enter Level 2, pre-acquisition. This is the most overlooked step to ever exist in the conversion funnel because no one knows it is there. Why? Because we are so concerned with converting people to “customers”. We overlook the long-term impact of each interaction. Each person you come in contact with has a special ability. That special ability is to give you insight and understanding. Insight you have never come across that could invalidate currently held beliefs. It could even help you grow as an organization. This is important! I repeat, incredibly important! We don’t want our wonderful follower to purchase, donate, sign-up, etc. right now. We want their knowledge, their ideas. This is part of the FuzeUs Method. We have done research on this. People are far more likely to move down the whole conversion funnel with less effort and more enthusiasm, faster, if you get them to “sell” something of their own. That doesn’t mean their email or dollars, it means a part of their being. If they give you an idea you get a piece of their knowledge and understanding of the world. That is valuable insight. It shows that they want to help and they feel they know a solution. I won’t lie, the solution could suck. But if you have an agile organization you can take action on that idea they gave you to at least test it out. What does that do? It shows that you care. It shows that you value their input and, behaviorally, if it is their idea, they are much more likely to follow through. They will be deeply invested if it is their idea that they are interacting with. Plus, it could go viral, you never know.

I understand this may seem like way more effort, but it’s not. The returns will be far beyond anything you have ever imagined. Virility will be firmly in your grasp. All you have to do is check your ego at the door and ask for help on generating ideas. Just ask. It is that simple. An idea, a suggestion, is just a question that you must test to find an answer. Think of it as crowdfunding mini actions, questions, and ideas for all your followers to engage with. The best part is, you don’t even have to come up with those ideas, or even act on each one. Wait for your followers to get on board whichever idea they like best. Just like that you know you have a winner. Do it right, keep from intervening too much, and your 98% drop off becomes 40%, 30%, 20%. Imagine what you could do with 78% more people that are far more activated and committed! There is a way to increase this even more, but that has to do with our storytelling conversion funnel.

Level 3 – Acquisition

Now that simple step has been taking, just go back to what you were going to do anyway. Level 3, acquisition. This is where you act on the ideas and knowledge generated in the pre-acquisition phase. Your whole target audience is now committed to you. All you have to do is lead them and their ideas towards coming up with your desired outcome. This takes a little coercion and you can’t just come out and say it, but the pay off is much greater now. I am sure Level 3 could have its own little conversion funnel, but we will save that for another time.

Level 4 – Re-Engagement

The next most important step after the pre-acquisition level, is re-engagement. Level 4, re-engaging, is something that is often forgotten by many organizations. Why is re-engagement so important? Here are a couple reasons. One, the cost of re-engagement is much less than the cost of acquisition. Two, it is far easier to turn second, third, and forth time engagements into life long supporters. Three, having more advocates increases your organic growth. This reduces the  effectiveness of future acquisition campaigns and the cost needed to make them succeed. Combine those three and the life time value of that customer is far greater and far more important than gaining a new one.

Level 5 – Advocating

Finally, we reach Level 5, advocating. If you went through Levels 1 – 4 and did an adequate job, turning followers into advocates for your message and brand should be a pretty simple process. This is the one and only step when you can begin to tell them what you want them to do. Often people confuse this with Level 3 when thinking about acquisition. That is an unfortunate misstep. Take the time to build the relationship and this step becomes natural and easy.

Let us know what you think about this re-envisioned conversion funnel and use cases where you have seen it in action. Also, if you have any other questions or comments on how to make this work for your organization be sure to email us at or comment below.

1 Comment
  1. […] we talked about the new conversion funnel for creating viral success. Today we are going to talk about the conversion funnel for making a greater impact on the world. […]

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