The New Formula: R + M = IR2
This commitment involved understanding what was driving donor satisfaction, what experiences in donor services were strengthening the bonds with the charity and which ones needed improvement.
Upon learning about some of its processes that didn't consider the impact on the donor, the organization replaced or enhanced those processes. Due to feedback from constituents about expectations, Operation Smile now exceeds industry standards for timeliness of gift deposits, receipting and acknowledgments.
But it has not just focused on processes. It turned its attention to its marketing and communication strategies with the same philosophy. An example of building a stronger relationship through communication is how the organization transformed part of the way it thanked donors for giving. Donors respond to specific appeals — ideas or opportunities that resonate with them personally and make them want to be a part of making a difference. However, once they make gifts, many organizations use standard copy to thank these same individuals. At Operation Smile, staffers created a process where they ensured specific aspects of their acknowledgment program were tied to the actual stories and reasons for giving. In fact, as a part of its donor-first philosophy, Operation Smile ensures that custom acknowledgment copy is written at the same time as the copy for each appeal to ensure consistency in the giving experience.
Its efforts to evolve from being a traditional marketer to becoming a relationship marketer are paying off. The organization has seen a 25 percent improvement in retention of new donors and a 24 percent increase in revenue from those donors.
Schultz says, "Our efforts are constantly evolving. Our entire team and agency partners are always thinking like a donor and therefore always looking for additional improvements in our strategy and operations."
United Way improves lives by mobilizing communities around the world to advance the common good. Its goal is to create long-term change in the areas of education, income and health. With more than $5 billion raised annually, United Way is the type of organization where almost any change may feel like boiling the ocean due to the organization's size and complexity. When it began focusing on relationship management and marketing, it attacked the issue from every angle — culture, data, technology, operations and engagement. Through the last several years, United Way has worked in all of these areas to become more constituent-centric and build stronger individual relationships. However, its business model of workplace giving created a way of operating that was very successful but also limiting to a direct-to-constituent approach.
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.