Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference a success

Photo: Greg Albright, Production Solutions

Photo: Greg Albright, Production Solutions

Last week was sure one to remember. The 9th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference was an indisputable success – from empowering keynote speakers to an amazing educational program to networking opportunities to reconnect with old friends and make new industry connections. Mal Warwick | Donordigital was thrilled to sponsor such an extraordinary conference. Our week began at the 35th Annual Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW) MAXI Awards. Established in 1979, the MAXI Awards program recognizes and honors outstanding achievements in the field of direct marketing. We were honored to receive five separate awards for our work with our clients:
  • AIDS Project Los Angeles (Gold)
  • National Organization for Women (Gold)
  • Ocean Conservancy (Silver and Bronze)
  • Women for Women (Silver).
We were excited to have our clients join us to accept the awards and for a celebratory dinner afterwards. To view samples of our winning campaigns, click here. Thursday and Friday at the Gaylord National Harbor, brought session after session of direct marketing study, tactics and wisdom to share with our clients to enhance their fundraising programs. A few great nuggets our team heard over and over include:
  • Don’t try to upgrade the donors until you did everything you promised (premium offers, special invites, updates etc).
  • Donor testimonials strategically placed on a web page, in newsletters, etc, can help overcome monthly giving hurdles.
  • Optimize – do as much donation form optimization testing as possible and make sure that all donation forms and emails are mobile optimized!
  • Send regular/quarterly Sustainer upgrade emails to current Sustainers with multiple buttons for upgrade amounts: $2, $4, etc.
The week was also about fun and relaxation and one the highlights for me was hosting our clients, partners and friends for a happy hour on the water front. We talked fundraising strategy and industry gossip while watching the summer storm roll in over the Potomac and Capital Wheel. The storm gave way to a beautiful sunset captured by Greg Albright from Production Solutions. So, save the date for the 10th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference to be held back at the beautiful National Harbor from July 7-9, 2015. photo-thumbnail-daveDave Dogan is a Vice President at Mal Warwick | Donordigital.

Celebrating client successes — 2014 MAXI Awards!

602334_10150937442071659_1684687874_nMal Warwick | Donordigital is thrilled to celebrate several recent direct marketing client successes as the recipient of five 2014 MAXI Awards from the Direct Marketing Association of Washington. Established in 1979, the MAXI Awards program recognizes and honors outstanding achievements in the field of direct marketing. All entries are judged on six criteria: results, strategy, copy, design/format, production, and innovation — with the most weight placed on performance results. No flash-only winners allowed! We are proud recipients of 2014 MAXI Awards for these highly successful projects (click images to expand art): AIDS Project Los Angeles Special Appeal APLAXA.jpgThe objective of this special appeal was threefold: 1) to upgrade donors to higher levels of giving; 2) to identify new “mid-level” donors capable of making gifts of $1,000 or more; and 3) to rejuvenate the package format and effectiveness of the long-standing Proposal Appeal — a cornerstone package of AIDS Project Los Angeles’ direct response program that had been fatiguing. The strategically revamped version ended up exceeding all projections! Average gifts went up, costs went down and net revenue jumped up, while generating four times as many mid-level gifts as the prior year. National Organization for Women Lapsed Reinstatement NOWOur goal with this direct marketing effort was to recapture as many lapsed NOW members as possible in an inexpensive format, after they had been through the renewal series but before they fell into a more expensive telemarketing recapture program. This simple but effective package exceeded all expectations and is now a regular part of our ongoing multi-channel efforts to reactivate lapsed donors. Ocean Conservancy Calendar Acquisition TOC cal-3One of Ocean Conservancy’s longstanding and best performing acquisition controls has been the calendar package featuring spectacular images from Ocean Conservancy’s annual photo contest. Because of its high perceived value, it inspires a large number of prospective donors to send a gift, who then have relatively high conversion rates and subsequent donor value. Although the calendar is a premium, it reminds donors of the beauty and fragility of the ocean throughout the year. We performed several incremental tests to improve performance which ended up dramatically boosting response rate and increasing the average gift on an already successful package! Ocean Conservancy Fourth Renewal Notice TOC renewalOcean Conservancy has a growing pool of higher dollar and non-premium acquired donors, but our traditional expire-based renewal series was geared toward renewing lower dollar donors with a premium offer. We decided to create new versions of the first four notices for donors who were more mission focused, asking them to renew their membership in a more personal and compelling way. Our goal was to increase the retention of these donors, because our long-term value reports showed that they were, by far, the most likely donors to upgrade to mid-level or major giving. Women for Women International Sponsorship Conversion Telemarketing Women for Women International is unique in that it matches its donors to women survivors of war in one of eight war torn countries to provide financial assistance and business skills training through a sponsorship program. Sponsors commit to giving $30 per month in addition to a one-time enrollment fee. The goal of this telemarketing campaign was to convert one-time gift donors to monthly sponsors on credit card. This MAXI-winning script was emotionally engaging and harnessed the spirit of global sisterhood. The TM campaign exceeded projections for both sponsor joins and one-time gift revenue and response by 35%! MWA_Newsletter-Feb-14-art-3-b-photoMelissa Ford is a Vice President with Mal Warwick | Donordigital, the integrated fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

Bring value to your donor meetings or you may never get another chance

IMG_1677There are many differences between working at for-profit versus a nonprofit, but there are also some very significant similarities. Having spent a couple of decades selling advertising for business to business publishers there is one lesson that I always keep in mind. And I think its application is universal and can help you retain and cultivate deeper relationships with more of your donors. It’s the advice I was given when prepping for a meeting with one client, in particular. He was a Wall Street Guy—he was very important and very busy, as I was told. I was told, “Don’t ever waste his time,” which specifically meant, “don’t ever meet without bringing him useful information or you’ll never get another meeting.” Question: “Was he a jerk with a huge ego?” Actually, that’s a trick question, because the answer is “Who cares?” He provided me with the secret for a successful meeting and the best way to cultivate a long-term relationship. “Busy” and “Important” were the terms classifying this client. And the truth is: we are all busy and important. All our time is valuable. Now this is a lesson that I was taught before most people owned a cell phone (back when your company gave you a phone card so you could make phone calls from hotels or phone booths) and at a time when the Internet was so very new that companies didn’t even have websites yet, let alone a social media strategy. But it has stood the test of time and I think it is a useful way to prepare for any in-person meeting with donors. Whether your donor prefers to get together for a casual lunch, play a round of golf, attend your cocktail party, take a tour of one of your projects, or meet your Executive Director—I would make a huge wager that whatever form the meeting takes, they want to gain something of value from your time together. Knowledge is power and you are that source of power. Bring them information that only you can. Maybe you work at a nonprofit that serves inner city youth with an after-school sports program. Bring pictures or video of the last game. Provide details on current enrollment numbers or the success rate based on increased graduation from participants. Ask them to follow your program’s updates via Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn so they can see what progress is being made. They can also share this with their network raising awareness of your cause (but we’ll get into the social media benefits some other time!). Regardless of the mission, use your time together to demonstrate to your donor:
  • How the program is making a difference
  • How his/her contribution is facilitating the program
You should be able to walk away from this meeting with your donor feeling that they are a stakeholder in the success of the program and that time spent with you is an integral part of that success. So, whether or not Mr. Wall Street Guy was a bit too impressed with himself in telling my company his requirements for a meeting—it has been invaluable to me over my career. Bottom line: You need to bring value to a meeting or you may never get another. Care to hear which traits that other sector leaders cite as most important in their development roles? Check out these interviews with executives from Alzheimer’s Association of Western Carolina, the Salvation Army in Nashville,, Resource Center of Somerset, and others. amydevitaAmy DeVita is the Founder and CEO of Third Sector Today, a free website that offers nonprofit leaders useful tips, insights and resources for advancing cause and career. You can connect with on Linkedin or email her