Innovation + Integration = Impact
Tom Harrison: Many people talk about integrated marketing or multichannel marketing, but when you dig deeper you find out they mean direct mail and outbound telemarketing.
Kyla Shawyer: There was a time when Operation Smile was using very few channels to communicate with our donors. We had to acknowledge that people wanted diversity and demanded choices. The more ways we communicated with them, the more likely they were to receive our message and respond.
Tom: We believe that successful nonprofits need a truly diversified fundraising program. Two reasons: (1) Just as we all need a diversified investment strategy for our retirement, nonprofits shouldn't put all their eggs into one fundraising basket, and (2) a strong, diversified fundraising program is one in which various channels will actually strengthen each other. The results are larger than the sum of the parts.
Kyla: At least that's what we all believed … and so we set about to prove it in the marketplace. Operation Smile and Russ Reid had already developed a strong acquisition and cultivation program, a robust monthly giving program, and a brand refresh. We were working across [various] channels such as digital, television, mail, phone and events.
In five years, our new marketing partnership and strategies helped Operation Smile revenue grow by 1,000 percent, and we were honored to be named Nonprofit of the Year by the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation. But there's a difference between using a full array of tools and true integration. We had momentum going for us — with senior management and our board. With everything working — despite the economy — now was the time to invest new marketing dollars to test what would happen if we truly integrated the efforts through consistent messaging and a layered approach to media.
Tom: We responded by proposing a strategy called a City Campaign that Russ Reid had pioneered for World Vision in Canada. We thought a version of the City Campaign could work for Operation Smile in the U.S.