The following post is by Andrew Magnuson. Andrew is a Senior Consultant on the Convio Strategy Team, who has been working to help make Convio clients successful for the past seven years.
I wanted to take a moment to recognize one of the recent winners of Convio’s Innovator Awards – the National Partnership for Women and Families. Not only are they a great organization with a great campaign success story under their belt, but they are a perfect example of what integrated marketing looks like when done right.
“Integrated marketing” is an ill-defined term that often has many interpretations. It’s a bit like world peace, in that everyone agrees it’s a good thing, but nobody really knows what it looks like. Although any organization might have several different interpretations of what this can be (and indeed there is no single methodology for success), I wanted to point out the specific, replicable things that make this campaign great and that any organization can use despite staff size, budget, or sophistication.
First, a bit of background on the campaign. Betty Dukes was a Wal-Mart employee who in 2000 filed the largest class-action civil rights lawsuit in U.S. history, charging Wal-Mart with discriminating against women in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By last summer the case was in the Supreme Court.
The National Partnership for Women and Families saw a great opportunity to not only show public support for Betty, but to use this high-profile case to promote awareness and support for the Paycheck Fairness Act. To this end, NPWF kicked off a four-month campaign to do just that.
Here’s where it gets interesting. In addition to sending out advocacy emails, they also used advanced segmentation to identify individuals on their housefile who would be their most likely supporters. On top of this, they applied passive interest tagging on their donation forms, action alerts, and surveys to “listen” for the folks who were motivated by this issue, then provided those individuals with further, deeper actions they could take.
Next, they offered supporters to submit a personal message of support to Betty, which they promised would be printed, bound, and delivered in person. This provided supporters with an easy, tangible means of making an impact, which further strengthens their relationship with the organization and providing an even deeper connection with this issue.
In addition to rallies held at the capital, they provided other ways for Non-D.C. residents to participate. They created a Facebook fan page and solicited rally banner slogans. They offered pins with the “Right Over Might” slogan for people to purchase and wear.
Finally, they taped the emotional delivery of the book of messages of support, and turned it into a YouTube video that was sent to supporters so that they could see the direct impact of their contribution (in a terrifically savvy maneuver, the video was posted above a donation form before being distributed to supporters). All of this was done within a context of heavy social media use, which helped to keep supporters up to date and “in the fight” for the duration of the campaign.
Pretty nice, right? Now for the takeways – here are the things we learned about what we can all do to make our campaigns more effective:
Overall, this was a deftly managed campaign, and well worthy of Best Online Campaign Innovator Award. And lucky for us, it also demonstrates tactics we can all use and learn from, even if the way they are used will certainly differ between our varying organizations and causes.
I have this expression I say when I see a woman dressed to the nines with matching bag, shoes, hat, scarf and jewelry (in any combination of that list): “the only thing that separates us from other mammals is our ability to accessorize.” What makes jeans and a white t-shirt unique? Everything over, under or around it. Fashion is art and art is fashion.
No one understood the power of this better than Steve Jobs. Now arguably, the guy who never wore anything but a black turtleneck and jeans is hardly a shining example of the art of fashion. I’ll give you that. But he may have been the only individual who EVER understood it when it came to technology.
Before Apple came along, we had 10 years of “personal” computers from other technology titans that were anything but. We had 15 years of “smart” phones that were mostly the dumbest things ever invented. And we had 20 years of “personal stereos” (cassette tape and later CDs) that were neither very personal nor very good stereos.
Mr. Jobs understood the relationship between functionality and individuality. He understood the philosophy of designing for the masses one customer at a time. I can’t think of a single consumer products company that understands either of these things half as well as Apple, and by association, Steve Jobs.
At last count at the end of 2010, there had been 92 million iPhones and 26 million iPads sold since their respective launches, and I am sure that number is now higher. Having said that, I can with certainty GUARANTEE you that no two devices are alike. They may look alike, but they are highly personal. No two people in the word could possibly have the exact same combination of music, movies, photos, applications, games, ring tones, cases, contact records…the list goes on and on. They are like snowflakes. No two are the same.
I read hundreds of Facebook statuses, Twitter posts (even at 140 characters they are unique), tributes from the rich, the not so rich, the famous and the not so famous, it is clear that Steve Jobs as an innovator, creator and human being, has touched every individual in a very deep and personal way. What other individual that has passed away in the last decade can you remember generating this kind of personal outpouring of genuine loss? We pay tribute and homage to others, but we grieve the loss of Steve Jobs. I read a post this morning from a friend who wrote, “I am not sure why I feel this profoundly sad about a man I’ve never met.” It’s personal.
The only conclusion I can draw from this is that millions of us have built a deeply individual connection with these products, and by extension, their creator. We feel like we know him personally because all of us have created personas that he enabled. He knows EXACTLY who I am even though he has never met me. I saw a t-shirt the other day that said, “I hope I am half as interesting as the guy that owns my iPad.”
How many times have these words been uttered in total panic? “Oh my God, I have lost my phone. My life is on that thing.”
And my personal favorite from a well known tech reporter: “Apple owns me. And my kids. I’m waiting for my dog to learn how to use the IPad. Seems unfair she’s the only family member that can’t leave her pawprint on the universe somehow.”
Who knew when he created these things he would spawn millions of digital fingerprints and millions of friends worldwide? After all, it’s just a phone. But it’s my phone. And no two are alike. Each one, a complete original.
Just like the man himself.
As we were preparing the content for the session over the last several weeks, we distilled all of the existing research and best practices that we could get our hands on and combined it with data that WWF has collected themselves. What we ended up with is a philosophy that we have coined "The Sustainer Imperative™." We are still polishing up a succinct description, but simply put: nonprofits should prioritize sustaining giving because the value proposition for the organization is clear, AND because it allows donors to support your mission more effectively and impactfully. (Look for our book, published by Glass Heaven Convio WWF Publishing Co. LLC, arriving on electronic shelves sooner or later, maybe ;)
You can download our slides to review what we covered. I'll also summarize the high points. And as we said a few times during our session, please do NOT hold your questions - I'd love to see some robust discussion in the comments so we can sustain the great conversation that we had at the Summit.
1. The Sustainer Landscape. Acquisition is getting harder, the number of channels has increased, and donor loyalty is on the decline. But sustainers have GREATER loyalty, lifetime value, and are more likely to make a planned gift (PDF). Also, younger people (especially GenX) are twice as likely to donate monthly).
2. World Wildlife Fund conducted a test to see if they could increase sustainer giving via their homepage without hurting one-time donations. The answer: yes! Check out the slides for the details. A valuable takeaway from this section was this - anytime you have a question like "What works better, X or Y?" or "Does Z work better than W?" then the best way to answer the question is to run a test. What worked for one organization might work for another - but it's possible that due to differences in mission, donor profile and housefile makeup that something else could work even better. So testing is your best bet. David threw down the virtual gauntlet to challenge everyone else to conduct the same test. Will you accept the challenge?
3. Make It Monthly™. Sustainer giving by EFT/ACH/bank draft is the norm in Europe. The value proposition is compelling. If all USA and Canada-based nonprofits educated their donors about how monthly giving helps accomplish the mission by giving the organization revenue you can count on and thus alllowing staff to spend more time educating and advocating for the mission, it could influence the attitudes of donors everywhere. Giving in the USA could evolve to a place where people think of a montly gift as the default, rather than something extraordinary. This rising tide would raise all our boats. Can you imagine how that would change your fundraising?
4. Examples and Tips. Premiums can boost conversion, and creating a branded program to which people can belong is common. While these tactics can help, you can also be successful without a name for your sustainer program, as long as you can educate your donors about the dramatic impact their monthly gift would have on the mission. What's a surefire way to Not Get Sustainers? Don't ask anyone to contribute monthly. Let me frame it in the positive - ask your donors to contribute monthly!
Excited? Want to put a plan into action? Here's a simple place to start testing a sustainer ask on your website for people who arrive and want to donate for the first time. The goal is to find the "sweet spot" for a sustainer ask targeted to new visitors who will make a donation "over the transom," as it were:
So let's chat - tell us in the comments one thing that you plan to do in 2012 to boost your sustainer fundraising program!
As part of Convio’s UK team (formed through the acquisition of Baigent Digital in July this year), I am very excited to be in the US for my first Summit. What was I expecting from the experience? To finally meet my new US colleagues face-to-face, but also meet existing Convio clients and hear first-hand about their success stories. I certainly haven’t been disappointed. I can’t wait until we also have UK charities taking to the stage to share their stories. Maybe next year…
Convio Summit provides attendees with many cool experiences, inspirational stories and fun moments. And as much as I love optimized donation forms, custom reporting and APIs, I think this moment with Kris and Nate is my favorite.
We love you too! Happy anniversary y'all!
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