No Kid Hungry wins Blackbaud 2014 Impact Award for its #SaveSummer campaign

summer-meals-2014-1We’re thrilled to celebrate the news that our client No Kid Hungry has won a Blackbaud 2014 Impact Award for Best Multi-Channel Marketing for their Summer Meals Campaign — which our agency had the honor to work on. No Kid Hungry conducts an annual campaign that spreads awareness about childhood hunger, helps connect kids with food, and raises needed funds during summer months when kids are more likely to be hungry. Many families donʼt know that free meals are available to kids and teens at thousands of sites nationwide — in fact, only 3 million children are participating in these programs. To help increase this number, No Kid Hungry created a SMS program where people can text FOOD to 877-877 to find summer meals sites near them. They have also created an Action Center where people are directed to action they can take, both online and in-person, to promote awareness of and support for summer meals. No Kid Hungry launched an integrated multi-channel campaign to #SaveSummer for kids that lasted from mid-May through the end of July 2013. The campaign included 13 email messages, one direct mail package, an mobile phone texting campaign, numerous social media posts, a coordinated web presence, a lightbox asking single gift donors to “make it monthly,” and a video. blackbaud-impact-award No Kid Hungry took advantage of several opportunities to make this program a huge success. The Arby’s Foundation has been a crucial partner in No Kid Hungry’s work over the years, and provided matching funds up to $100,000 to encourage increased donations. National spokesperson Jeff Bridges has used his platform to help us raise funds, build relationships, and increase awareness of the need for, and the existence of, free summer meals for children. The campaign was a huge success. We surpassed our matching gift goal by over 50%, acquired over 800 new donors, and enrolled over 150 new monthly donors. Over 40,000 letters were sent to Congress asking members to visit a summer meals site, and almost 50,000 individuals used our mobile texting service to locate a summer meals site (100% increase over prior year). Wendy Marinaccio Husman is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing and advertising company.

Paths to year-end fundraising success in a multichannel world

AMC_YE2013-Lbox3-Calendar_FINAL copyDirect response fundraising should be multichannel. I say this all the time and while direct causation is sometimes difficult to track, I stand by the principle that truly donor-centric communications allow donors to access information in the channel they choose. We also have the data analysis to prove that multichannel donors are the most valuable donors for an organization to have over the long term. It’s our responsibility to ensure that the messaging is cohesive and coordinated. In the real world of people opening their mail, answering their phones, and checking their inboxes, a multichannel donor is a person who knows what matters to them, consumes information in a number of ways, and dedicates some time and their dollars to the cause that moves them. Maybe it was the person that asked them to make a donation, or the photo on that envelope or at the top of that email, or a headline in large font, or simply the timing of an email that was formatted nicely on their iPhone6 while they were waiting on a train platform – whatever the trigger, later that night they remembered to go on your organization’s website and make a donation. The most important thing about a multichannel donor is that they decide to give and give in a channel different than their first gift. That change and movement to being “channel agnostic” means that they are more likely to give again to your organization and to give a larger amount. So, how do you embrace multichannel messaging when planning for year-end? The reality is that every detail matters when it comes to achieving year-round fundraising success in a multichannel world. Year-end fundraising is a unique challenge because of the competition for dollars among organizations and a limited number of donors. The sheer volume of fundraising appeals by nonprofit organizations is enough to overwhelm any person who opens their mailbox or their in-box. As a direct response agency, we’ve learned to adapt and innovate in the unique environment of year-end fundraising. Below is a quick overview to how we approach year-end fundraising success in a multichannel world.
  1. Create a communications matrix that honors the donors’ perspective. Align your channels by reviewing your year-end calendar for mail, email, website promotion and telephone solicitations. Consider how your donor and non-donors audiences will react to getting multiple appeals for funds in different channels. Adopt a donor-centric approach and make sure your appeal calendar is driven by their needs. Honor and accept those things that won’t cross channels (not everything can be integrated!).
  2. Scour your organization for other opportunities to coordinate messaging. These might include newsletters or magazines, direct mail acknowledgment buckslips, welcome kits and welcome series, videos or other online resources.
  3. Segment your audiences carefully and integrate those segments into the communications matrix. Think about the best way to approach each with the correct ask or cultivation. For example, what about those folks that are getting direct mail during the year-end email series? What about those who aren’t? Also plan for coordination in gift asks – although donors will often give higher gifts online, it’s important to keep gift strings similar across the channels.
  4. Fundraising techniques aside, it’s the content and messaging that you create that will drive your supporter’s attention span and engagement. Donors want to be asked and inspired to make a year-end gift. Take the lead-time you need to produce engaging content that can span across direct mail appeals, emails, videos, year-in-review annual reports, holiday cards, infographics and more. Remember, donors have short attention spans (especially online donors), so highlighting key points are important whatever the channel – direct mail letter P.S. content, reply devices, and email masthead and sidebars, to be exact.
  5. Carefully consider your email calendar in December so you can create the right cadence for your supporters. One message per week and then an increasing number the last few days is the new normal, so jump on board and craft an authentic email series that inspires your supports to give. Consider the dates that your mail will reach donors in-home and if the content is complementary.
  6. Acknowledge the multichannel touches – we often reference or show a visual of a direct mail package that the donor is receiving in an email message. And we’re careful to strategically include dedicated URLs in direct mail packages if donors want to make their gift “immediately online.”
  7. On your website, be sure to use your homepage carousel or above-the-fold content areas to highlight the theme of your year-end campaign online and offline. It’s common for supporters getting your mail to visit your website to make their year-end gift. Deploy a lightbox on your website to catch the attention span of your visitors.
  8. Use paid advertising channels at year-end to reach your supporters wherever they might be. Search engine marketing, Facebook ads to custom audiences, and remarketing to visitors of your website or your donation pages can play a vital role in creating visibility for your year-end campaigns, and increase year-end giving across all of your channels.
  9. Make it social! Using online social networks at year-end is vitally important to connect with the attention span of your supporters. Dedicate staff time to posting year-end content on social media channels, and schedule coordinated tweets and posts on all channels. In your emails and on your Web pages make it easy for your supporters to spread the word about your year-end campaigns.
  10. Keep testing and trying new things. Every audience is different which means it’s vitally important to test to see how your audience responds to multichannel tactics.
  11. Don’t neglect January as an important time to thank donors—across all channels—for their year-end support.
Multichannel fundraising does require more effort and resources. But the end results is cohesive messaging and a larger group of dedicated donors. mwosi-thumbMwosi Swenson is a Vice President at Mal Warwick | Donordigital. She has worked in direct response fundraising for the past 20 years and has managed the direct mail, telemarketing and online programs for some of the nation’s most respected environmental, advocacy, and political organizations.

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.