Think your marketing efforts are ahead of the curve? Think again.

July 31, 2013 Leave a comment

by Danielle Hart

Just as organizations are catching up with content marketing and big data, there’s a new wave of technology being ushered in at an incredibly fast and overwhelming rate. And contrary to popular belief, marketers are not prepared.

“The most exciting thing about the future is that no matter what, history matters, and what makes people loyal to brands stays the same,” explained Geoff Livingston at the July EdVent on contextual marketing. He went on to say that while new technologies and communications tools are developing more rapidly than ever, context and relevance to audiences remain most important to successful marketing.

Today and here on out, our news and the media being produced is so intertwined with big marketing money that it’s hard to say what’s real and what’s a marketing ploy. For example, did the Discovery Channel choose to cover Red Bull Strato’s live? Or do you think Red Bull was ponying up a pretty penny to have this aired? Just like Robin Thicke’s hit new song, there are some “Blurred Lines” when it comes to these situations. And customers are picking up on this.

When Geoff asked the room “who here still trusts CNN?” you could hear the crickets chirping. Where are the news stations getting their stories? They follow what’s trending on Twitter, what’s being shared on Facebook, what YouTube video has skyrocketing views, and what corporations have paid them to cover a story. This is crowd-sourced news in a nutshell.

With all of this readily available information, and the fact that the public no longer fully trusts historically dependable news stations, where are people consuming their media? The answer is: it depends. Some people look to Twitter, Facebook, blogs or other social media, while others still look to TV news stations or the radio to stay up to date. Some people consume media on their mobile phones or tablets, others on a desktops or TVs.

Overall, the way media is produced and consumed today has changed drastically in two ways:

  • Digitization in today’s society creates a media convergence. Paid media such as traditional ads, owned media such as corporate content, and emerged media also known as organic media, have blended together with marketing techniques like sponsored customers, press coverage, and promoted brand content to form converged media.
  • Consumers are using multiple devices to consume media – TVs, desktops, tablets and mobile phones. Shifting from one device to another, sharing screens, synchronizing devices, and using devices simultaneously are all nonlinear usage patterns of today’s consumers.

What does this mean for the future of marketing?

  1. Marketing efforts should no longer be single channeled. Stakeholders’ media consumption patterns should hold the decision-making power for which channels marketing resources should be allocated.
  2. Usage patterns are not linear – therefore marketing shouldn’t be linear. Transmedia experiences, allowing the user to move between media and devices, will result in a better experience and a happier customer.
  3. Content must be relative and contextual to the stakeholders. With an outrageous amount of content that’s constantly growing and growing, marketers will have to stand out from the crowded marketplace and connect to their stakeholders in order to sustain a relationship.
  4. Customer experience marketing is key. Because of content overload, recommendations and word of mouth marketing from stakeholders’ networks will be much more influential than paid advertising.
  5. On demand customer service will have to happen. With the customer’s ability to publicly complain about a brand in real-time for everyone to see, it’s imperative for organizations to handle customer service when an incident happens. If not, customers now have the ability to rally more people and potentially put a dent in the organization’s reputation; a much easier way to spread the word than in the past.

In addition to the future of marketing principles listed above, Geoff provided us with examples of cutting edge technology and how brands can take advantage of them to connect with their stakeholders.

  • Google Glass – a wearable computer that tracks location and uses applications similar to ones found on an iPhone.  Ex. Starbucks using Google Glass – Someone with the Starbucks app who’s wearing Google Glass and walking down the street could be sent a notification right on their screen for a free tall latte at the Starbucks store that is exactly 5 buildings down on the left.
  • Digital Ubiquity – a product being delivered as a service. Ex. Grocery store digital ubiquity – Setting up a virtual kiosk at a subway station so people can order food on the go and have it delivered by the grocery store to their doorstep for when they arrive home.
  • Face recognition – identification of an individual based on their physical attributes. Ex. An electronic advertisement at a bus stop that has a camera behind the screen can identify the gender and age group of the person standing in front of the advertisement and queue content targeted towards that specific market.

 Some other up and coming trends to consider in marketing practices are in-store pickups and voice input replacing typing on mobile phones. How will brands improve the experience for a busy person who wants to order an item online and pick it up immediately in-store? And will only the top positions in search engine results matter with voice input? These are a couple of questions along with many more that will need to be considered as the next waves of technology come crashing on shore.

With all of the new technology and the massive amounts of data being collected by organizations, the next big debate becomes the issue of personal privacy. The Millennials, growing up as kids in today’s society, will have a very different understanding of privacy than a Baby Boomer or a Gen Xer. How will brands leverage big data and not totally invade their stakeholders privacy? How far is too far? How specific is just plain creepy? It’s assumed the privacy opt-in policy will become much more important and relevant to stakeholders in the future success of marketing.

This month’s EdVent was truly an eye-opener for any marketer who thought they had everything under control. The exciting new wave of technology is upon us and it’s up to us marketers to use new technologies to connect with our stakeholders and create the best possible experience for our customers. Thank you Geoff Livingston for a fantastic presentation and for challenging us to think towards the future of marketing!


Danielle HartDanielle Hart doubles as an Online Fundraising Account Manager at The Engage Group and a Postal Logistics Account Manager at MailSmart Logistics. She can be reached at or found on her personal website at


Mail is not dead, but we must innovate and diversify to stay relevant!

July 15, 2013 1 comment

USPS New Products and Innovations Executive Enlightens DMAW Lunch and Learn Attendees about Increasing the Long-term Value of Mail by Leveraging New Technology

Gary Reblin2At the June 20 DMAW Lunch and Learn, Gary Reblin, the United States Postal Service’s Vice President of New Products and Innovations, strongly advised that organizations need to be innovative in order to stay relevant amidst the bombardment of information in this day and age.

According to the 2012 Mail Moment Survey, 80% of people surveyed look at their mail as a valuable news source, 75% like to see what’s in the mail and 63% of mail is kept at least two days. Amongst the youth, 79% sort the mail at the first opportunity, 72% would like to receive more personal mail and 67% scan the mail looking for important/interesting mail.  All statistics that prove mail is still highly valuable, across all age groups.

As a marketing tool, mail is still considered to be extremely beneficial. With mail, you are able to have more targeted advertising to your customers or donor base, it can be a cost-effective platform, mail offers an interactive solution through the use of integrated technology and success and effectiveness of each campaign is easily measured.

In order to stay relevant, organizations must recognize that an online and offline, integrated marketing approach will yield optimum results – the USPS recognizes this and has made a push to encourage mailers to utilize technology within their campaigns. By promoting mail innovations, the USPS is helping organizations enhance their mailpiece thus improving consumer engagement and increasing response rate, customer acquisition and Return on Investment (ROI).

Recent studies show that PC shipments are down and mobile commerce is on the rise with 81% increased sales in 2012, to nearly $25 billion according to eMarketer (Jan 2013). Mail and mobile is an optimum connection as the mailpiece provides a ‘jumping-off point,’ but the mailer must ensure a positive consumer experience by offering a mobile coupon and/or offer, mobile-optimized website and a responsive website that dynamically adapts both its content and layout to fit a multi-screen world (Smartphone, tablet or PC).

Although they are not yet final or approved, Gary was able to share some of the USPS Promotions and Incentives on the horizon for 2014:

  • Branded/Customized Mobile Technology
  • Mail Drives Mobile Commerce
  • Personalization
  • Mobile Application
  • Colorization of Bills and Statements
  • Premium Advertising Product
  • Emerging Technology
  • Earned Value Reply Mail

Through promotions and incentives and by continuing to highlight new technology and best practices, encourage and accelerate industry innovation and increase relevancy and engagement with consumers, the Postal Service’s objective is to increase the long-term value of mail.

During the wrap-up and question and answer session of Gary’s presentation, the hottest topic was the application process. It was clear that those in the room representing the Nonprofit sector of our industry had concerns with the amount of time and energy it took to get approved, and that some of the promotions and/or incentives didn’t apply to their organization, or the ones they represent, based on certain requirements. Gary and his team at the USPS are fully aware of the industry’s concerns and they are working to address them. There are four things that will help this; preparedness and earlier launch of the programs, longer promotional windows, variability in the promotion option and timing and added flexibility for customers.

A special thanks to James “J.R.” Caine and the team at Pitney Bowes Presort Services for sponsoring the June Lunch and Learn. And don’t forget, the DMAW has a great line-up of events headed your way:

  • July EdVent – Thursday, July 18, 6 pm: The Contextual Marketing Revolution – presented by Geoff Livingston, Author and Marketing Specialist, Lady Soleil, Inc.
  • MAXI Awards Ceremony – Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 4:30-6:30 pm
  • August Lunch and Learn – Thursday, August 15: Multi-channel Attribution for Non-profits – presented by Angela Struebing, Agency Director, CDR Fundraising Group


20130620-DSC_3737-14Amie Sharaf is a Senior Account Manager, cross-training as a Client Services Manager, with Production Solutions where she has worked since September 2009. She can be reached at

Making History with Monthly Giving

June 11, 2013 Leave a comment

by Stephen Godbout

At DMAW’s historic first ever Wake Up and Learn Edvent, Sarah Birnie with the Human Rights Campaign, and Karin Kirchoff of MINDset direct woke everyone up with invaluable insights on building monthly giving campaigns through email and telemarketing.

First: Hyperlinks and PowerPoint Don’t Play Well Together, so don’t mix the two.

Yes, this has nothing to do with monthly giving, but it’s an invaluable lesson nonetheless if you want your presentations to start smoothly, as we all saw.

Here are six real takeaways of the day:

1)       Start at the Beginning.

From the moment a new donor walks into your organization they are the most important person in the world, a bundle of potential, and you’d do well to cultivate a relationship immediately. With monthly givers, it’s crucial to get their first charge processed fast and just as quickly, acknowledge them as members in the upper echelons of giving for your organization.

2)      Remember What You Learned in Kindergarten.

Say please and thank you. And show you’re appreciation. If appropriate, send your monthly donor’s tax receipts for their records, as well as newsletters, magazines, member cards, calendars and any other cultivation material that will help them feel a genuine part of your mission.

3)      Pay attention

Keep a close watch on whose fulfilling their monthly pledges and whose not.

Then, create a rolling plan for reactivating donors. With credit card declines, test to see which dates work best for you to recharge credit cards, and don’t be shy about making more than one attempt. Try at least one more time in the month due and again the following month.

Be courteous.  On the phones remind them their card has expired and that they might want to let other people like their cable and phone companies know as well. And while they’re updating their information slip in a upgrade ask.

With emails, test your subject lines, as well as content. Make your landing page as simple as possible.

Keep scripts and text simple, conversational and tweak copy for various segments, e.g. inactive, cancelled, declines, etc. And of course, never call your donors names like saying they’re “delinquent.” More appropriate language would be “Perhaps your information changed, and would you like me to update it for you now?”

4)      Recruiting “All the cool kids are doing it, why not you?”

The distance between a donor’s first action with your organization and your requests for monthly gifts is more important in recruiting sustainers than the distance from their most recent action.

So, like voting in Chicago, recruit early and often.


Your online activists are a great source for monthly giving recruitment calls.  You could even add a monthly giving ask to your renewal calls. Play with your scripts. For example, “You can renew your membership in small $x monthly amounts or a onetime gift of $xx.”

Or one of my favorites, “Many of our supporters are now using monthly gifts to contribute to our organization, would you like to do that as well?” A.k.a. “All the cool kids are doing it …”

And of course, “monthly giving helps saves time, money and the environment …”


Again. Online activists are a great recruiting source. Test subject lines. Include monthly giving asks in renewal emails. Integrate your online efforts. Put an asks in every appropriate space on your website like the “donation,” “become a member” or “join” pages.

Use rolling recruitment efforts around events indigenous to your organization’s mission. Make up special reasons to give. HRC’s sustainers are called “Partners,” so they created a “Partners’ Appreciation Day” to help remind donors how special they are as well as recruit new Partners and upgrade existing ones.

A good upgrade strategy for sustainers is rounding up. It makes sense. People like things simple, and rounded up numbers are simple. Use causal language, “Would you like to just make that an even $xx?”  And rounding up by small amounts can have enormous impacts on your annual budgets when you multiply that small number x 12 x #of upgrades.

5)      Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks

HRC has spent years steadily increasing their monthly giving program and cultivating relationships with monthly supporters. So when marriage equality hit the headlines, HRC had the programs and tools in place to immediately make the most of their time in the spotlight to grow their sustainer file and recruit a whole new segment of donors known as “Straight Allies” into their program.

6)       Borrow Brilliantly

I like to think of this as the more socially acceptable form of “stealing smart.”

If you see an effort from another organization or business and it looks good to you, it will likely look good to your donors as well. Adapt what you see that works for you to your organization’s efforts – legally, of course.


???????????????????????????????Stephen Godbout is a freelance copywriter. You can contact Stephen via email, or call 301-535-3772.

The Bridge Conference: Marrying Marketing and Fundraising

June 7, 2013 1 comment

By Greg Albright

I have long been a member of two local, important professional associations – the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Washington, DC Metro Area Chapter (AFP DC). For years I had attended each of the organizations’ annual conferences where I learned about best practices, cutting-edge innovations and where I developed professionally, networking with industry colleagues and building relationships with new supplier partners.

In 2000, both conferences started to languish. They were experiencing what all other associations were…with the rise of the internet and the close of the 20th century, suddenly it seemed like all that you needed to know was right at your fingertips. Couple this with the cost of travel, lodging and conference registrations fees, industry members started thinking twice about investing in conference attendance for themselves or their staff.

With the large overlap in membership between the DMAW and AFP-DC chapter, we found that instead of members attending both conferences they were choosing between the two to attend – if at all. The same thing happened with the service provider sponsorships and participation in the exhibit hall. It became increasingly difficult to recruit highly-regarded speakers because the conferences no longer had the gravitas they once did.

A Marriage Made in Direct Marketing and Fundraising Heaven

By 2005, recognizing that we could no longer subsist in this manner, a few innovative-thinking Board members and industry leaders had a once-in-a-lifetime stroke of genius. Could AFP DC and DMAW, two organizations with common goals and members, marry their two annual conferences into one?

Would pooling volunteer and staff efforts actually cut costs, optimize member benefits and deliver a better conference than either organization could fund alone?

After a lot of dialogue, number crunching and planning, the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference (Bridge Conference) was born and continues to be a match made in direct marketing and fundraising heaven in terms of:

  • The number of and quality of educational sessions;
  • Sought-after speakers;
  • Increased and more diverse networking opportunities for members;
  • Exhibitors’ ability to reach many customers under one roof;
  • Corporate sponsors’ chance to be seen and heard by key audiences in one place;
  • Excellent use of limited budgets and limited staff time;
  • The word of mouth reputation that the Bridge Conference has become “THE” conference in the industry.

So, how did the Bridge Conference grow to be such a successful meeting of marketing minds?  

How to Make a Joint Conference Successful, Cost-Efficient and Full of Added-Value for Members

Like any good marriage, The Bridge Conference wasn’t an instant overnight success. There were challenges and politics, egos and disagreements and…you name it along the way. But there were also some great lessons learned that I, as a member and committee volunteer, want to share with you.

Here are my top 7 tips on how to keep the spark alive when it comes to building an efficient and effective “co-conference” with a partnering organization:

  1. Trust: If that doesn’t exist, it’ll never work.
  2. Keep your common goals in mind: Remember, it’s about providing your members, sponsors and exhibitors with the most bang for their buck.
  3. Establish a conference hub: Agreeing on and hiring a third-party conference planning firm as your organizations’ central point of contact for logistics make things run much more smoothly.
  4. Be accountable: As with any volunteer experience, pull your weight and don’t leave it to others to pick up the slack.
  5. Great communication: Not to sound too much like Dr. Phil, but you need open and constant dialogue to keep things going and growing.
  6. A solid marketing plan: Integrated marketing is the way to go: Print, digital, social and PR – all channels lead to success.
  7. Leverage your volunteers:  Last but not least, and possibly the most important tip of them all, select strong volunteers who “work well in the sandbox” with others, empower them to be creative, encourage them to tell everyone they know about the conference and, of course, don’t forget to thank them afterwards!

Eight Years and Going Strong

Over the eight years we have learned a lot, tried some new things (some successful some not), but each year the conference gets better. Today, the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference will host their 8th Annual event at the Gaylord National Hotel & Conference Center in National Harbor, MD from July 31 – August 2. We’ll have more than 70 educational sessions and New York Times bestselling author Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) as the keynote speaker.

This year the Bridge Conference is reporting record-breaking results:

  • Sponsorships are at a record high and opportunities are nearly sold out;
  • The exhibitor hall sold out weeks ago and has a growing waiting list;
  • We have sold our highest number of registrations ever before early-bird rates expire (June 16).

The goal of the conference leadership committee is to not only make this year’s conference one of the most valuable in its history, but for it to be unforgettable.

I don’t know about you, but when I see a marriage flourish and grow deep roots, it inspires me. This may be the marriage of two conferences, but it inspired me enough to write about its staying power, flourishing future, not to mention the exemplary dedication of the people involved in it. Mazel Tov!


Greg Albright is an industry leader, innovator and philanthropist. As partner, founder and principal at Production Solutions, he has helped to shape the direct marketing industry for more than 25 years. Known for his signature move – the “right hook” around a colleague’s shoulder as he convincingly encourages a member of the industry to volunteer for an important cause or initiative – Greg hopes to inspire by sharing his secrets to a rich and rewarding career through industry engagement in his weekly The Right Hook blog posts. It is through this engagement and enthusiasm that he was able to help his company and colleagues adapt and excel through the ongoing period of rapid evolution in the industry and in the marketplace. The Right Hook blog also highlights the power of entrepreneurial curiosity, passion for innovation and Greg’s deep belief that working together to innovate and integrate the direct marketing industry is the key to success.


Smarter Analytics Workshop sponsored by the IBM Academic Initiative and DMAW Educational Foundation

May 30, 2013 Leave a comment

by Chris Gleason

The DMAW Educational Foundation and the IBM Academic Initiative team joined resources to host the Smarter Analytics Workshop on May 14th.  The single day event took place at the computer lab of the Kogod School of Business at American University.

Professors from throughout the Mid Atlantic had barely closed the book on the school year when they landed back in the lecture hall.  With a recent survey of 1,700 CMO’s in hand, the team leader pointed to a list of findings. At the top, was this sobering statistic: 71% of CMO’s report they aren’t prepared to manage the data explosion.

The first session focused on the tools available to professors and their students. In a hands-on demonstration, the IBM team equipped the attendees with statistical modeling software designed to tackle big data. The assignment was to uncover opportunities hidden in customer data.

In closing, the professors shared their experiences and reported on both the potential challenges and benefits of using the IBM platform in the lecture hall.

The second session was devoted to solving a business objective with applied analytics.  The professors broke into four teams for a competition focused on maximizing sales and profits for a global manufacturing company.

Led by an IBM AI team member assigned to each group, the professors rolled up their sleeves. Using data driven models, each team made decisions across business silos, rearranging production, marketing, and sales as needed to meet the global objective.

In the post-game session, each team shared the rationale behind their choices. While light-hearted, the competition drove home the potential value of data analysis in facilitating sound decisions across all types of organizational structures.

In summary, the attending professors had a chance to practice varied teaching methods. They also gained insight into IBM-sponsored tools that offer the capacity to enrich curricula and train business-ready analysts and decision makers.

With the proliferation of data generating devices and digital interaction, no wonder 71% of CMO’s feel underprepared to handle BIG DATA. In this inaugural effort between IBM AI and DMAW/EF, inroads were laid for future events.

The IBM Academic Initiative is a no-charge program providing educators with the training materials, curriculum guides, software and hardware needed to teach in-demand business and technology skills. From predictive analytics to data security and vulnerability management, the Academic Initiative helps educators take students beyond the reach of the curricula offered at many Colleges and Universities.

To learn more about this, and other DMAW/EF sponsored programs please visit


CG Image DMAWChris Gleason is the Founder of Servant Marketing Group in Leesburg, VA.

Three Things You Should STOP Doing

May 28, 2013 Leave a comment

by Stephen Godbout

Prepare to be challenged.  As promised, here’s a quick look at the keynote address given by Tom Gaffny at the DMAW’s DM201 event.

Tom opened his remarks by pointing out that donors today are suffering from “B.D.S.” Battered Donor Syndrome. Resulting from a bombardment of marketing messages and over-zealous competition for their support.

So how do you help your donors recover from B.D.S.?

1)      STOP:  Thinking you own the donor.

Our industry language suggests we “acquire,” “recapture,”, and “convert” donors. If you were walking down the street and someone tried to acquire, capture or convert you, would you stick around?

Of course, not. You don’t own your donor.

Your donors have much more control than you over whether or not and how they choose to have a relationship with you and at what level. Make having a relationship with your organization valuable to your donors.

Treat your donors as people. Remember the golden rule; “People Give to People.” And don’t always think, “What can I get from my donor?” Think about ways you can show you value your donor.

Two simple ways to do this are:

  • Putting multiple stamps on the reply envelope—saving your donors money with something more personal than a business reply barcode.
  • Focusing your letters on the donor’s actions rather your organizations’—making them feel like an integral part of your mission.

2)      STOP: One dimensional donor ranking.

Most of us segment our donors based on their monetary values to our organization.

But do you know how your donor ranks you among their giving priorities?

Invest in finding out how much your donor cares about your organization and the work you’re doing. Are you just one of many organizations your donor supports or are you among a select few?

Identify the people who really matter. Engage those donors with a more “donor-centric” approach, and commit to nurturing relationships with those donors.

Ideally, you want to find donors that rank high on an emotional pyramid and incorporate them into your package testing and campaign mix.  Monitor how that segment performs, and you’ll likely find hidden treasure.

3)      STOP: Focusing solely on acquisition to grow your file.

As Tom pointed out, “We may be the only industry in the world that doesn’t view retention as the key to growth.”

No business would think to work constantly on getting new customers at the expense of the ones they already have.  To grow your program, Tom recommends shifting your focus to “donor-centric” retention. Get to know who your best supporters are and treat them like royalty.  Engage them through their interests, their needs, their values.

Anything you can do to let your donors know you care about and value them will make for donors who want to remain committed to your organization.

Here’s an excellent example of donor-centric retention:

Following the Boston Marathon bombing, Food for the Poor contacted donors who live in the Boston area just to see if they were alright.  Using a phone call and a follow-up card in the mail, the organization contacted thousands of donors to let them know they matter … and earned some lifelong donors in the process.

We call this “cultivation.” We should call it “commonsense.”

Historically as an industry, we tend not to think along the lines of sending “no strings attached” communications to our donors.

Tom suggests we need to shift our priorities to balance in optimizing relationships with costs concerns, which requires “no strings attached” cultivation. This in turn, helps deepen the bond your donors have to your organization, making them monetarily more valuable long-term.


Stephen Godbout is a freelance copywriter with thirteen years direct marketing experience.  He can be reached at

Thought You Knew it All: Think Again!

May 21, 2013 Leave a comment

by Stephen Godbout

What a day it was at the spectacular U.S.A Today campus for DMAW’s, DM201.

From new hires to industry vets, everyone learned something from the stellar line-up of DM pros who graciously shared their direct marketing experience.  Special thanks to all presenters, volunteers and sponsors PMG, RR Donnelly, and Direct Mail Solutions.

I’ve lots to share with you and online attention spans are at work, so let’s jump right in.

Three Things You Should STOP Doing – Keynote Speaker: Tom Gaffny

As the keynote address, this was far too informative to cover here. Look for a separate blog dedicated to this section.  But here’s a teaser.

“Our industry language suggests we “acquire,” “capture,” and “convert” donors.  If you were walking down the street and someone tried to acquire, capture or convert you, would you stick around?”

Data, Data, Data – Jim Emler, Integral; Bryan Evangelista, Lautman Maska Neill & Co.

If you asked me for dominating themes of the day, I’d have to say:

  1. Treat your donors like human beings.
  2. Show your appreciation through cultivation and engagement opportunities.
  3. One of the best ways to do both of these is with a comprehensive analysis of data from every possible touch point.

Monitoring your data allows you to respond in real time to your donors as your campaigns progress, and of course, strategically forecast budgets and predict future trends.

Depending on the data you have, you can find out: What channels your donors are using to communicate with you? Which messages are working and which are not? Is your current campaign going to meet its projected goals? As well as who might be interested in getting more involved with your organization or respond to an upgrade offer? And where to focus your attention to increase donor satisfaction and thus retention?

You can even use multivariate testing[i] to dramatically reduce your testing to rollout time by using fewer packages to test more variables. But I’ve been told it’s requires “pretty stat heavy back-end analysis,” so don’t try this at home without proper analytical supervision.

Making the Monthly Connection – AJ Minogue, ASPCA; Steve Kehrli, PETA

Hats Off. No one tugs our emotional heart strings better than the dogs and cats of ASPCA’s DRTV monthly giving campaigns. But you say you can’t afford Sarah McLachlin and TV ads.

Utilize all your channels. Consider online ads. Make monthly giving a standing option on replies and acknowledgments. Ask new donors to become monthly givers right away, because the chances of them migrating diminishes with each passing month. Upgrade anyway you can.

And treat these donors like gold.  They are your most loyal supporters.

Mid-Level Migration – Kristin McCurry, MINDset direct

Look under the surface of your file and you’ll discover an entire herd of donors capable of filling the gap between your lower and higher dollar donors.  A few tips for a mid-level program.

Begin by selecting the right audience.  Look at cumulative giving, single outliers, all channels. Remember migration isn’t one way—lapsed major donors can be brought back into the fold.

To retain your mid-level supporters, treat them as investors. Offer periodic updates and in-depth views of how their money is used. Grant them access to higher-ups in your organization.  Create opportunities for one to one dialogues. Make sure everyone in your organization is paying attention to possible migrators.

A real-world example of having these business practices in place:

A sustainer whose monthly pledge was only $25 a month sent in a check for over $3,000. Because the right people were paying attention, the organization was able to
have this donor on the phone within 72 hours of her putting the check in the mail.

Multi-Channel Magic – Presented by Adcieo.  Featuring: David Chalfant, Whitman-Walker Health; Roxanne Fiddler, GEDCO; Brittany Fowler, Susan G. Komen – Maryland

What happens when you coordinate a campaign across all available channels and do it well:

Whitman-Walker Health filled a fundraising dry zone between its October AIDSWalk and the traditional holiday season with a Neighbors in Need campaign, achieving fundraising gold.  They also cleverly incorporated their end of year holiday card mailing as a thank you, follow-up to the campaign.  Results: Over 5% response from their appeal audience. An acquisition that paid for itself.  And from their lapsed donors, an impressive 8.4% and 6.1% response from phones and mail respectively.

GEDCO, a faith-based community organization out of Baltimore serving mostly low-income seniors saw a 60% rise in donations over a three year period by developing and refining a year-end multi-channel campaign.  What’s most impressive is they achieved these results by turning their mostly 60+, mail oriented donor file into online responsive donors.

Designs that Shine, and Work – Cheryl Keedy, Production Solutions

The Vanna White of direct mail showcased over 100 samples of the hottest package components winning tests and standard workhorses getting donors’ attention in today’s crowded mailboxes.

Some of the hot items: dimple textured carriers … priority handling stickers … inside security tints for OE’s … oversized, drop cut book marks as part of the insert … business cards with photos … actual address label to right of window with priority mail reply showing through the window … decals showing through rear window … infographic showing through second window … self-mailer with pull-out business reply card … and a pop-up paper bank sent along with a request for the donor to save their change in it so they can send in a donation of equal amount.

[i] Katie Vlavo, Associate Director of Acquisition for The Nature Conservancy discussed using multivariate analytics in helping to shorten their testing to keep their acquisition up during the economic downturn.


Stephen Godbout is a freelance copywriter with thirteen years direct marketing experience.  He can be reached at

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