Personalizing Donor Impact With Salesforce Marketing Cloud

By Tim Arnaudy

Where is my donation going? What impact is it having? These are legitimate questions for a supporter of any nonprofit organization.

Most charities look to answer these questions through newsletter updates, case studies and ‘gift shop’-style donation asks. With Salesforce Marketing Cloud we can take this even further – communicating to each donor the food parcels delivered, MPs lobbied, or education resources provided thanks to their individual contributions.

The end goal? Donors who feel more directly engaged in the work of the organization who will maintain and may even increase their level of support. To reach this goal however, we must confront a scary word for those new (and not so new) to Salesforce Marketing Cloud… AMPscript.

Flipping the Script

AMPscript can feel overwhelming for many non-technical users, but it doesn’t have to be. Much like formulas in Microsoft Excel, AMPscript is a set of pre-defined functions that can be used in Marketing Cloud to create sophisticated and highly-personalized content.

READ MORE: What is AMPScript? How to Personalize Marketing Cloud Emails

I’m privileged to work closely with The Trussell Trust, an amazing charity which supports a network of food banks across the UK, and I’ve introduced a few simple lines of AMPscript to make use of within their winter emergency appeal emails. The goal is to show the impact a supporter could have if they were to convert a one-off gift into a regular monthly donation:

Going Under the Hood

To calculate the individual impact a donor could have by converting their gift, we combine information on their previous giving and an estimate of the cost of support. We are then using a simple Multiply and Divide function:

%%[ …

*/ Calculate how the value of the donation if made monthly for 1 year */

set @amountDonationYear = multiply(@lastGiftAmount, 12)

*/ Calculate the number of people each year the donor could be helping */

set @numberPeopleYear = divide(@amountDonationYear, @foodSupportCost)


The text after the “@” symbols are ‘Variables’ which means they can be populated with information about the supporter from another system (in this case, the amount of the last gift they gave) and other user-defined data (in this case, the cost of providing food support to an individual).

Taking It Further

The Trussell Trust are keen to emphasize the incredible work they are able to carry out thanks to the support of their donors. The example below connects the impact of the charity’s work with the last time the donor gave a gift:

This example uses a function to calculate the difference between 2 dates.

%%[ …

*/ Get today’s date */

set @today = SystemDateToLocalDate(Now())

*/ Get time in minutes */

set @diffMinutes = dateDiff(@lastGiftDate, @today,”MI”)


The number of minutes is then converted to seconds, from which the number of food parcels can be calculated.

The examples above were simple to create and easy to pass down to the charity’s Marketing Cloud users. Effective personalization can be saved as ‘Snippets’ in Content Builder that can be easily reused across an organization. They can go on to update and tweak to create further highly personalized content blocks if needed.

AMPscript Top Tips

  • Put AMPscript functions in a HTML block at the top of your email so it doesn’t distract from the rest of the content.
  • Save each AMPscript block as a code snippet, so these can be easily dropped into other emails.
  • Add comments */… * / to your script so others understand what’s going on and can make amends where necessary.


I hope I’ve shown how a little bit of AMPscript can go a long way to creating more effective personalized emails that can demonstrate to donors the direct impact of their support. It’s worth noting that while we’ve focused on financial contributions here, we can think of equally effective examples for non-financial contributions such as volunteer hours.

Finally, if you would like to show your support and help keep food banks going this winter, please head over to The Trussell Trust’s Winter Emergency Appeal donation page to find out more.

The Author

Tim Arnaudy

A Saleforce Marketing Cloud consultant for, a multi-award winning non-profit Salesforce consultancy.

Leave a Reply