American Cancer Society Rethinks Legacy Direct Mail Acquisition, Conversion Efforts
For those of you thinking "the Society must have been having performance problems with its direct mail program" — you're wrong! In fact, in my interview with Lin MacMaster, the brand-new chief revenue and marketing officer at the American Cancer Society, she said, "Direct mail will still be used, yet it will work harder to optimize the marketing plan to drive broader engagement across many areas of the organization."
As you read this article, it is important for you to separate direct mail as a marketing technique from what many organizations have as direct mail programs. As many direct marketers will agree, the concept of acquiring, engaging and retaining is a top priority for any organization. The Society is no different and is committed more than ever to using all viable, effective and efficient techniques to achieve great fundraising results.
As a point of reference, here are a few statistics based on the donors who currently are cultivated in its direct mail program.
- Gross and net revenue have increased annually since 2009
- Average gift has increased annually since 2009
- Core donor retention is the highest in ten years
- Core donor average gift has increased annually since 2009
Additionally, over the last seven years the direct mail program has produced remarkable results compared with industry benchmark performances.
This is a bold move for one of the world's largest nonprofit organizations. But, in reality, this decision is about much more than just direct mail. It is rooted in the decision to change how it views donor dollars, the donor experience with its overall iconic brand, and perhaps most importantly, how it drives a greater sense of urgency around its mission.
The path to the decision
My first meeting with the Society's staff president and COO, Greg Bontrager, started with a discussion around how you can save the most lives the quickest — the desire that is at the heart of how the Society is transforming and refocusing its decision making and organization. The organization celebrates 100 years this year in the fight against cancer, and while it has an amazing history of progress and success — its leaders desperately want to be out of business as soon as possible. That is the goal, and everything they are doing looks through a lens of pursuing it.
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.