The New Formula: R + M = IR2
Perhaps the biggest challenge for the nonprofit industry is the complexity of the issue — what is it? And, even once everyone understands what relationship marketing and fundraising is for a particular organization, what it means for that organization and how to accomplish it can become even more complex.
So, let's demystify this thing and then get busy changing our industry and advancing our missions.
Breaking it down
Relationship marketing and fundraising is about taking the best of what we know from the years and years of transactional marketing and then saying, "but there is more to the picture." For the majority of us, we have a foundation in direct-marketing technique and strategy that is predominantly focused on the giving transaction. RFM has driven segmentation for many, many years, and even our modeling to find a better segmentation strategy has used transactions as the primary driver and input.
Relationship marketing is about looking at behavior/transactions as a critical part of the formula, but it actually puts a higher value on constituent retention and long-term value. And it doesn't just stop at a retention rate or a financial value for long-term relationships. Retention and "value" are not simply defined and understood through the lens of how donors behave — they're viewed through the lens of how someone feels about the brand.
In other words, the level of commitment someone has to the organization and its mission is what influences his or her behavior. Yet, for years we've been simply trying to "create behavior" without understanding why someone actually "behaves."
Relationship marketing pays homage to the behavior and transactions, but only because they reflect the outcome we want. But behavior is driven by the level of commitment a donor has and the satisfaction of the experience with the brand. It's about using our marketing, offers, messaging, channels, donor service and much more to create commitment because once strong commitment is attained, the best behavior is the natural outcome.
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.