How direct mail measured up
If you're thinking, "The American Cancer Society must really dislike direct mail" — you are wrong again! Its leaders are as committed today as they were in past years to direct marketing as a way to reach consumers with their critical messages. In fact, when interviewing executives across the marketing, fundraising and constituent experience areas, it is clear they view direct mail as a channel to be used in a truly integrated marketing and brand strategy.
In other words, what they’ve said to me is they are not giving up on direct mail as an important fundraising technique but are moving away from high-cost, single-channel programs that do not meet their requirements. As an example, in 2012 the Society piloted a fully integrated marketing campaign around its breast cancer special event, Making Strides Against Breast CancerTM. This campaign included DRTV, direct mail, online and social media. Guess what? The direct mail component of that campaign performed very well and had a positive impact overall on the program. The Society celebrates and welcomes those results and the learnings they bring.
MacMaster said the organization is “moving from a broad-based approach to a laser-focused, segmented approach.” In the end, the Society has decided to stop acquisition and conversion mail — for now. Where it is taking a stand is that it’s not interested in generating any new direct mail donors to the organization who do not further advance the mission through broad engagement. Some of the most important elements of this decision making process are ...
As the Society continues to look at its opportunities through the lens of “high cost - low yield,” it’s no surprise that direct mail has continued to put pressure on the organization’s view of acceptable CPDR metrics. Over the years, the cost of doing direct mail has continued to rise, and while the Society has achieved good performance, the overall ratio of revenue to cost fell into a range that was not comfortable. This was especially true as it looks to drive an even greater percentage of revenues going to directly support mission vs. fundraising and management. Currently the Society allocates 72 percent of its revenues to program, and its leaders have committed to improving that percentage over the next several years. The organization has taken a progressive position with respect to good stewardship. Needless to say, therefore, any program with a high CPDR is under review.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.