Cover Story: All for One
"I work closely with peers at other Federations across the country sharing our analyses and experiences with growing the donor base. At a meeting with my fellow federation marketing directors, I presented the idea of launching a 'cooperative database' where federations could swap names of people moving from our federation or another area," Sussman says. "It's much less expensive to reactivate a donor, even if they come from another area, than to acquire a new one. There's definitely a limited pool of potential new donors, particularly when you're working with a very targeted market like we are. It's very hard to find these people to begin with, and then once you find them, you have to convince them to become donors. Anyone who's given to a federation is more likely to give the next time."
Sussman came up with a systematic plan for her federation to implement locally, as well as things that could be done at a continental level to start turning around the trend of attrition. She worked with Smolyar to develop a major direct-marketing initiative that they called New Move, designed to allow and encourage member federations to share information about donors who have moved from one territory to another. The goal was to get the most accurate, up-to-date information into the hands of all the federations and ultimately turn around the trend of the declining donor bases.
To get buy-in for New Move from other federations within the system, Sussman and Galperin attacked key decision-making levels: Sussman worked her marketing colleagues at other federations, while Galperin worked to get leadership buy-in at federations across the nation. They quickly realized that a key to getting federations on board with the idea was demonstrating its value, so they set up a pilot program to test it with the Washington, D.C., federation and seven other of the larger federations last fall.