Looking Back a Year: A Big Reminder on American Cancer Society's Bold Move
● Planned giving donors have long been linked to the direct mail audience for most charities. There are multiple views of this, but overall the industry data suggests that direct mail is a great lead generator for planned giving. It’s about the right message at the right time to the right audience. Plus, as that audience ages and begins to withdraw from other engagement opportunities such as events, direct mail is often their single connection with the brand. We have become used to looking for the “little old lady making $5 or $10 gifts” when we think of the link between direct mail and planned giving. Will leads be impacted? The Society does not know yet. But, as with the above areas, I hope to report back on how planned giving leads are (or are not) being affected with this decision over the next 18 months. The longer-term impact will probably never be known due to the 7- to 10-year timeline for a gift to be realized in this area. But, with all change comes opportunity, and perhaps new strategies will be developed to offset any impact.
● A similar situation is with online giving. In FY12, 56 percent of the Society’s unsolicited online revenue (representing about $1.7 million) can be attributed to direct mail donors. No one is going to easily pass up $1.7 million, but the question remains — did direct mail alone drive that revenue? If the answer is yes — or heck, let’s say it’s even maybe — the strategies should already be in the works to keep this revenue through a combination of other channels. Is it possible? No one knows right now — but it is something that will be monitored closely. We know from industry data (Dunham+Company and Campbell Rinker) that one in three donors who give online say that when they receive a direct mail appeal from a charity they use the charity’s website to give their donations. And, the higher the household income, the more likely the direct mail recipient was to donate online — again, raising the question on everyone’s mind: How critical is the direct mail appeal to that overall transaction that landed online?
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.