Canadian Cancer Society Brings Provinces Together for Year End Success
Posted by Meg Mader at Jan 27, 2015 07:03 AM CST

The Canadian Cancer Society (the Society), a national community-based organization with separate divisions within each Canadian province, pooled resources from all provinces to achieve a 9 to 1 return on investment in a successfully integrated year-end fundraising campaign. Read on, and you’ll soon understand why the incredibly profitable campaign, which the organization completed with help from hjc, was nominated for a 2014 IMAB Integrated Marketing Award

The Society funds research and programs and provides information, supporter services and education, striving to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. 

As mentioned, while it has a national headquarters, each province has a separate division that works independently from the others. Each province has their own staff, budget and resources, but their constituents and the general public see them as one organization. The Society has largely taken an independent approach to fundraising over the last few years — each province has their own way of doing things… and each has specific strengths and weaknesses as well. Not surprisingly, this extreme segregation across provinces posed a significant challenge when the goal to create a more integrated year-end campaign was established.

Provinces United

With many provinces at various stages of organizational development, the Western groups (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba) enlisted the help of fundraising consultants at hjc and worked together to execute a multichannel year-end campaign with a plan to pool resources from each province. The integrated campaign included email, web, and video, plus some provinces also used direct mail. All provinces contributed to the overall budget, and each had something different to contribute to the overall campaign.

For example, some provinces were better equipped to provide design and web development, while others were able to contribute personal stories from beneficiaries. One province was able to produce a compelling video of a cancer patient named Denis who relies on the Society resources and volunteers to make it to his frequent doctor appointments. Denis’ story became the face of the year-end campaign, and the video was offered up to the society, with minor changes so it could be used for each province. And for the most part, the same email copy was used by all, but edited slightly to suit the needs of each province.

When a national organization has many different regional offices, this segregation usually poses a huge challenge when it comes to a combined campaign, and the Society was no exception. But the Society was able to get everyone on board, working together and sharing resources to optimize the strengths and assets available from each region.

Collaboration Is the Key to Success

Overall, each participating province saw a substantial increase in revenue, ranging from 40 percent to a high of 184 percent. British Columbia saw the largest percentage increase over the previous year while all the Western provinces saw a 9 to 1 return on investment, raising a total of $270,000. These results were a far cry above the previous year for all parties involved! 

Collaboration was the key to success for the Society. Although this required immense effort to convince all parties to see and contribute to the big picture, it proved rewarding for all parties involved, and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars toward the eradication of cancer.

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Nominate a Nonprofit for the 2015 IMAB Integrated Marketing Awards
Posted by Mark Rhode at Jan 14, 2015 07:00 AM CST

Would you like your nonprofit's integrated marketing success recognized in the industry? Do you know of a great example of integrated marketing in the sector? Nominating a nonprofit (even your own!) for a 2015 IMAB Integrated Marketing Award would be a great way to celebrate breakthrough results!

The call for entries for the 2015 IMAB Integrated Marketing Awards is now open. 
Deadline for entries: Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Submit your nomination today

You can nominate as many nonprofits for as many awards as you like. The IMAB will review each nomination, select winners, and present three awards at the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference March 4-6, 2015 in Austin, TX. Winning campaigns also will be featured in articles on the IMAB blog.

In the spirit of the IMAB's mission to share best practices in integrated marketing in the nonprofit industry, the Integrated Marketing Awards recognize the results of integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns or programs in each of the three pillars of integrated marketing:

  • The Donor: Demonstrate how your organization’s integrated marketing campaign or program had an impact on donor satisfaction and the donor experience.
  • The Organization: Explain how an effort across your entire organization demonstrates alignment of strategy, structure, culture and skills to showcase integrated marketing efforts.
  • The Practice: Include a real-world case study that highlights best practices in the field of integrated marketing.

Last year’s winners of the IMAB Integrated Marketing Awards were:

The Donor

Montgomery Area Food Bank, won in the category of The Donor for demonstrating how an integrated marketing campaign or program had an impact on donor satisfaction and the donor experience. The organization focuses on programs as part of its marketing plan to encourage donor engagement and overall support of its programs. 

The Organization

The League of Women Voters of the United States, a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, won in the category of The Organization, demonstrating how an effort across the organization aligned strategy, structure, culture, or skills to impact the organization’s ability to integrate its marketing efforts. The organizations created a successful broad-based marketing campaign involving all departments within the organization. 

The Practice

The Redwood, a Toronto-based shelter for women and children who have fled abusive situations, won in the category of The Practice for sharing its real world case study highlighting best practices in the field of integrated marketing. The organization used a variety of technologies and promoted its Safe Haven Store across multiple channels for stellar results. 

Don't forget: The deadline for entries is Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Any person may nominate an unlimited number of nonprofit organizations in each award category. So, consider which organizations you would like to nominate, and be sure to submit your nominations today!

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6 Steps to Combat Digital Dysfunction in Your Nonprofit
Posted by Allison Porter at Jan 13, 2015 12:04 AM CST

Digital strategy has joined offline channels (mail, phone, person-to-person etc.) as a critical part of integrated marketing and communications, and it continues to expand its influence on the overall fundraising landscape. To maximize digital’s fundraising impact, it is essential that fundraisers embrace digital collaboration -- a challenge left unaddressed at too many nonprofit organizations, and one that’s hurting the bottom line. In a nutshell: Disjointed communications by channel are hurting our donor relationships.

A lack of collaboration across departments and channels is simply dysfunctional, with a high cost to the nonprofit. It leads to missed opportunities, inconsistent messaging, and a failure to leverage best practice. It also makes genuine innovation impossible. While each department and channel must tailor communications, it is critical for the left hand to know what the right hand is doing, so that organizational messaging is cohesive.

What does digital dysfunction look like? 

Here are the symptoms -- you may recognize a few or all of these…

  • Digital strategies that exclude or ignore fundraising best practice –- and vice versa
  • Stubborn resistance to digital from late-adopters, forcing you to constantly reiterate the necessity of your digital strategy
  • Digital experts who show derision for traditional communication channels
  • Fighting over turf -- who gets to implement what and who has the last say on strategy
  • Online communications and campaigns with dissonant messaging and cadence that don’t reinforce each other
  • Online communications and campaigns that lack coordinated schedules, which can lead to supporters getting too much, or not enough, communication
  • A fundraising team that is blindsided by communications going out –- possibly when hearing about it from a supporter
  • Failure to move forward or prioritize investment in the digital area, which can ultimately leave money on the table

So what should you do if you see this happening at your nonprofit? 

Here are some concrete recommendations, based on our experience at Avalon, for making your digital strategy more collaborative:

  1. Define organizational messaging and priorities first. This is critical to ensure that everyone knows the game plan and how to carry it out in their respective departments. What is the most compelling way to talk about what you do and how you’re making an impact? Do you want to cultivate donors, raise funds, engage, invite, inform, or recruit? Educate across departments, identify overlapping goals, and understand where you need to build from scratch. People should always ask -- how does this further our organizational goals?
     
  2. Bring the right people to the table. Involve individuals who put the organization’s needs first, have an open mind, and are willing both to check their egos at the door and advocate for their best ideas, based on their expertise. You want people who engage in the process with respect and thoughtfulness, ultimately aiming toward constructive solutions. 
     
  3. Encourage cross-functional learning. Allow time for colleagues across departments to share relevant specialized knowledge, in order to better inform each participant’s perspective. 
     
  4. Manage meetings for successful collaboration. Begin each meeting with an agreed-upon agenda. Know your organization’s strategic priorities, and use them to kick off discussions about how to successfully implement them. End meetings with clear takeaways and action plans -- with responsible names attached to each step. And be sure to designate ambassadors from each department to resolve issues that arise outside formal discussions. 
     
  5. Eliminate incentives that emphasize individual employee or department goals over the organization’s strategic priorities. This change will reinforce the shared, organizational goals that bring you together in the first place -- and it will make strategic alignment much easier to achieve.
     
  6. Finally, (nicely) remind everyone involved that we are all on the same team. We want your nonprofit to thrive and make an impact!

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Food Bank for New York City Shines With a Countdown-Themed Year-End Campaign
Posted by Meg Mader at Dec 23, 2014 07:03 AM CST

For fundraisers, year-end is our busiest and most profitable time of the year. For the city of New York, year-end brings to mind the nostalgic Times Square countdown and ball drop on New Year’s Eve. Running with those two certainties,  Food Bank For New York City, with help from hjc, cleverly used a shiny ball of their own in their 2013 year-end fundraising campaign, along with a countdown-style matching gift offer — and they were nominated for a 2014 IMAB Integrated Marketing Award as a result.

More than 1.4 million New Yorkers rely on Food Bank For New York City for their next meal. Food Bank procures and distributes food to a network of more than 1,000 community-based member programs and public schools citywide. Food Bank For New York City provides food for more than 63 million free meals for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank’s income support services, including food stamps (also known as SNAP) and free tax assistance for low income families, put more than $100 million each year into the pockets of New Yorkers, helping them to afford food and achieve greater dignity and independence. In addition, Food Bank’s nutrition education programs and services empower more than 275,000 children, teens and adults to sustain a healthy diet on a low budget.   

Private Donation Inspires a Public Campaign

Inspiration for the year-end campaign came earlier in the year, when an article published in The New York Times called attention to the fact that prominent cultural organizations, like The New York Public Library, often receive large private donations, while it is much less common for organizations like Food Bank For New York City. Shortly thereafter, a matching gift of $500,000 was offered to Food Bank — and it became the focal point of the year-end campaign. 

The organization enlisted the help of integrated fundraising consultants at hjc to develop a multi-channel strategy. Beside the headline, Help us count down to $500,000, and the subhead, Give by December 31st and your gift will be doubled, consultants at hjc designed an animated image of the shiny Times Square ball featuring a thermometer-style measurement “pole”: the ball started at the top at $0 and gradually descended as donations increased. When the ball finally dropped, the goal of $500,000 would be achieved.

The animated ball drop image became the face of this digital matching gift campaign. The multi-channel effort included direct mail, and combined email appeals, social media posts, and Facebook display advertising, topped off with a lightbox on Food Bank’s home page. The matching gift was prominently featured across channels, and the email appeals were donor centric, communicating a sense of urgency leading up to the end of the calendar year.

A City United

This campaign truly shined because of the connection New York residents have with the iconic Times Square event and hit the chord of camaraderie — a characteristic of almost all New Yorkers. While the campaign gained traction, the city really came together and responded to the urgent appeal in support of Food Bank. Most residents were aware of the cuts to federal funding that Food Bank had already faced.

The online channel provided almost half the total revenue for this matching gift campaign. Open rates on the email appeals averaged 9.6 percent — which is well above average for messages sent to the entire online supporter file. And the home page lightbox had the highest gift totals of all channels, with 574 gifts from that source alone. Overall, revenue for the month of December 2013 increased by nearly 150 percent over the previous year, and this animated and fun email appeal was a key source driving both online revenue and total growth for the month. 

We can all learn something from the ways in which Food Bank successfully appealed to both new and existing donors. While the city of New York rang in a new year, this organization reaped the rewards of a truly inspirational integrated campaign.

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Planning for Planned Giving: A Nonprofit Success Story
Posted by Meg Mader at Dec 18, 2014 07:02 AM CST

Do you know many charities with a thriving planned giving program? Probably not. But after reading the following story about World Animal Protection Canada (formerly known as WSPA Canada), you’ll be inspired by the organization’s integrated approach (with help from hjc) to a planned giving campaign — and understand why they received a nomination for the 2014 Integrated Marketing Advisory Board  (IMAB) Awards

Confronting animal cruelty around the world, World Animal Protection strives to combat the world’s most intense and large-scale animal welfare issues through education, commitment to animal-friendly practices, and influencing key decision makers to put animals on the global agenda. 

World Animal Protection had never promoted planned giving online — it was well-established only as an offline way of raising funds. But the organization wanted to explore a digital component to promote and grow the planned giving program.

Challenge Accepted

With every new venture comes at least one challenge — for World Animal Protection, the challenge was internal. Since planned giving was long embedded as an offline, often face-to-face means of fundraising, many people within the organization needed convincing in order to believe that online could be a successful channel to cultivate new planned giving donors. 

After the decision was made to launch an integrated planned giving campaign, World Animal Protection began with a six-question online survey, the goal of which was to identify major gift and planned giving prospects — and hopefully identify donors with confirmed legacy gifts. Supporters were asked their age range, marital status, and whether or not they have children, along with a few questions about their involvement with World Animal Protection. The responses were then scored into categories based of strength of the lead (good, very good, etc.). 

While the survey was only conducted online, World Animal Protection took a truly integrated approach with the survey results. They cultivated the newly confirmed legacy donors through a combination of personal phone calls, letters, emails, informational events, and even face-to-face visits. 

Leaving a Legacy

Sent to more than 66,000 supporters, the survey received 2,381 responses (a 4.3 percent response rate). Of the completed surveys, 186 supporters indicated they had already included World Animal Protection in their will (unbeknownst to World Animal Protection), 23.9 percent were identified as planned giving prospects, and the remaining 61.2 percent indicated they were interested in making a significant gift. 

The survey proved successful in a number of ways. It helped break down silos within the organization, proving to all departments that even older generations can be reached through digital channels. And those donors are “online savvy” and active through email and social media. Departments also worked together after the survey, taking a multi-channel approach to reach out to the planned giving prospects and continue to promote the program. World Animal Protection staff collaborated across departments to shepherd the new prospects with phone calls, letters, emails, events, and face-to-face visits.

Best of all, World Animal Protection not only learned they had a new group of confirmed legacy donors, but they also identified a previously unknown segment of planned giving prospects — totaling more than 85 percent of the survey responses. As fundraisers, we can all be inspired by this award-worthy campaign’s success in crossing the bridge from offline to online fundraising. And World Animal Protection can continue their innovative integration to steward the new prospects into confirmed legacy donors and truly grow their planned giving program.

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