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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 301-535-3772.
by Danielle Hart
On April 24th, direct marketers joined together for the re-introduced DMAW Innovative Formats and Integrated Campaigns Forum. Eleven presenting companies introduced their inventive direct marketing ideas and techniques. In addition to the presenting companies, there were bonus sessions that included a jam-packed fold presentation by Trish Witkowski (Chief Folding Fanatic at the FoldFactory), a premiums presentation by Cheryl Keedy (Senior Strategist of Direct Response and Marketing Formats at Production Solutions), and a keynote case study by Brenna Holmes (Director of Interactive Department at Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey).
The Innovative Formats and Integrated Campaigns program was chock-full of great presentations that included:
- Multi-Channel Success with PURLs: Mail, Email, Mobile and Microsites! by Chroma Graphics’ Joel Kaufman and Direct Development’s Tony Fraga
- A Multi-Component Self Mailer by Freedom Graphic Systems’ Pat McEvoy
- Inline Package Innovation by RR Donnelley’s Philip Brown
- It’s All About the Data – Hyper Personalized Direct Mail by Sourcelink’s Craig Blake
- Direct Mail in a Sleeve by Japs-Olsen’s Charlie Mullin
- Maven Social – Social Media with ROI by Metropolitan Technologies’ Tim Mishuk
- Direct Mail to the Max by FoldFactory’s Trish Witowski
- Magnet Mailer and Card/Fob Postcard by Membership Cards Only’s Richard Fuast
- “Hail the Snail!” Snailworks launch by ProList’s Dave Lewis presented
- The Browncraft envelope by Precision Dialogue’s Suzanne Maicke
- Talking Cards – Direct Mail with Sound by Mail Pow’s Crystal Martin
- Showcasing Innovative and Current Direct Mail Premiums by Production Solutions’ Cheryl Keedy
- The Honor Card by Custom Print Now’s Willie Brennan
- A Case Study from the Environmental Defense Fund Using Target Analytics – Connection 360 by Chapman Cubine Adams & Hussey’s Brenna Holmes
Throughout the day, the presenters brought an incredible energy to stage while they showcased their state-of-the-art direct marketing techniques and engaged the audience. The presentations filled the room with new awareness of innovative concepts that the attendees raved about during and after the event. It was clear across all presentations that multi-channel campaign integration is a hot topic in direct marketing! Everyone left with an abundance of new direct marketing ideas and samples to take back to their teams.
Thanks to the hard work of the chairs of the event (Production Solutions’ Greg Albright, MMI Direct’s Elise Buck, and Red Engine Digital’s Liz Murphy), and the volunteer committee (African Wildlife Foundation’s Amy Barriale, The Mail Bag’s Teri Carlson, HSP Direct’s Colin Duffy, Bethany McConnell, and Nicole Hall, DR2’s Steven Fleshman, Mal Warwick Association’s Melissa Ford, The Engage Group/ MailSmart Logistic’s Danielle Hart, Production Solutions’ Cheryl Keedy, and Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey’s Shannon Murphy), the event was a huge success and had overwhelming positive feedback. DMAW Executive Director, Donna Tschiffely, announced at the conclusion of the day that the event will continue as a DMAW annual event. Needless to say, the entire room applauded.
Here’s a look into what some of the event volunteers had to say about the event:
“It was truly rewarding to hear so much positive feedback from participants who walked away with tangible new ideas to implement for their organizations and clients. And even better, I had a great time working with such fantastic veteran and first time volunteers. I look forward to working with them again!”
–Melissa Ford, Mal Warwick Associates
“Volunteering at the DMAW Innovative Formats and Integrated Campaigns event was a very rewarding experience. I met a lot of new suppliers, and I have a portfolio full of new formats that I am eager to share with my colleagues. I definitely plan on attending next year!”
-Bethany McConnel, HSP Direct
“New to the industry, volunteering for this event taught me more than I could have imagined about the direct marketing industry. Being involved in the event’s marketing, presentation selection process and all the way through to the debriefing has allowed me to learn, network, and find satisfaction in an overwhelmingly successful event. I suggest that anyone new to the industry volunteer for a future DMAW event!”
-Danielle Hart, The Engage Group / MailSmart Logistics
“Volunteering gave me a unique perspective on the innovative formats presented. It gave me an opportunity to brainstorm with other direct marketing professionals from around the industry—which adds a great deal of value to my day to day job!”
-Nicole Hall, HSP Direct
Do you want to meet new people, plan successful events, and gain industry experience? Volunteer for DMAW events!
To see photos from the event, click the image below!
Danielle 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 Danielle@engageyourcause.com or found on her personal website at www.daniellehart.com
By Greg Albright, Co-Founder and CCO of Production Solutions
Next week marks the return of one of the most sought-after and valuable direct marketing events in our industry. Formerly DMAW’s Innovative Formats and Inventive Techniques Forum (IFIT), the forum is back after a two-year hiatus as the Innovative Formats and Integrated Campaigns Forum (IFIC). I, along with a team of like-open-minded direct marketing volunteers (among them, DMAW’s current President, Mike DeFlavia), launched this forum 13 years ago to help connect decision makers with innovative suppliers in a one-day innovation showcase. The best part of the forum is that each attendee leaves with a portfolio of package samples and successful campaign outlines which are meant to kick start the creative planning and dialogue upon their returning to work.
I’m excited that the forum is back and better than ever this year with a new, and necessary, focus on integration. The marketplace is thirsty for new ideas and has recognized that integration is necessary to evolve and stay relevant. Still, we know that direct mail is a big driver in direct marketing, especially in the fundraising arena. IFIC provides the best of both worlds: innovations on the direct mail side, as well as real, tangible ways to embrace integrated campaigns across several channels, including email, mobile, web, social and DRTV.
IFIC will feature 13 direct mail innovators and integrators, showcasing leading-edge formats as well as state-of-the-art integrated campaigns. Each will distribute samples and has 15 minutes to present. In a comfortable, no pressure environment presenters will be available for questions.
IFIC is not only a showcase of the best our industry has to offer, but also our industry at its best. The forum was four months in the making and an all-volunteer effort by a diverse committee of more than a dozen members from both digital and traditional direct marketing agencies and production management firms. We can all benefit from their commitment to keeping our industry relevant and integration top of mind. IFIC is another example of industry engagement leading to industry evolution. This is what it’s all about.
See you there! For more information about IFIC and to register, click here.
Greg Albright is Co-Founder and CCO of Production Solutions, one of the largest marketing production management firms in the country. He received the DMAW Award for Distinguished Achievement in DM in 2012, and is the author of The Right Hook, a weekly blog that showcases the best integrated marketing practices of rising and already-shining industry professionals, as well as great advice about enjoying a rewarding career by putting volunteerism front and center.