Bridge Conference Round-Up

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August 18th, 2021

This summer’s Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference offered an abundance of  informative presentations. Several MarkeTeamers attended and were eager to share their favorite, most inspiring takeaways.

“Don’t take sustainer donors for granted. They deserve some attention.”

by Anna Shepherd: Sustainers

One of the most informative presentations (IMHO) focused on sustainer donors and confirmed what we’ve learned over years of fundraising for this important audience for Sierra Club, UNICEF USA, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and many of our other clients.

These proven strategies can help maximize sustainer giving and longevity:

  • Ask  sustainers  for additional gifts. They respond well to specific, tailored asks that show how they can have an even greater impact.
  • Strive to convert sustainers from credit cards to electronic funds transfers (EFTs), to prevent credit card expirations from interrupting donations. EFTs typically stay on the file 3 years longer than credit cards.
  • Remember to treat monthly givers as part of your team and to celebrate wins.  The biggest motivator for monthly donors is the emotional engagement they have with your organization. Let them feel part of your success!

“Ethics and Diversity are front and center.”

by Allison Williams: Diversity

Several conference presentations covered diversity and inclusion. In many of those discussions, these guiding principles emerged:

  • Don’t exploit suffering. It’s possible to build a story without highlighting human pain.
  • Be respectful of the subjects in images, if used. Animation, illustration, or icons are sometimes more appropriate.
  • Promote the dignity of those being helped.
  • Beware of “White Saviorism.” Be sensitive to and avoid perceived racial stereotypes.
  • Diversity in data goes beyond looking for and removing bias in your data, but also includes actively acquiring a diverse audience. Traditional lookalike models can inadvertently create less and less diversity in your donor file by targeting the majority.
  • To create a more diverse file, identify and target smaller clusters within your file using lookalike models to find more of them. This can help create ethnic as well as age diversity.
  • Creative that appeals to diverse clusters may be different from the “winners” to the overall file.
  • Acquisition and renewal creative should be tailored to the motivations of these groups.
  • The additional costs should yield stronger returns in giving — and in goodwill.

“Compelling campaigns lead to powerful results!”

by Deidra Wigfall: Donor Relationships

At the conference, I heard a lot of ideas for building strong donor relationships. Many we’ve already tested with MarkeTeam clients, with strong results. Here are five tips I found most helpful:

  • A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words (And the right photo is worth a ton of money): A strong photo can lift results dramatically. Dial up sensory copy describing the feeling of the photo that is being used.
  • Stop Asking So Often … And Start Thanking Donors More: Send a thank you appeal from those that are impacted by the donation. In a test for Covenant House, a thank you package test beat an ask appeal by 35%; plus, in the 9 months that followed, the thank you test donors gave 134% more than those who received the ask appeal.
  • When Letter Packages Aren’t Working … Try A Non-Letter: If a letter package is not working to your lapsed donors, try a different approach. One nonprofit tested an index card with membership information showing that the donor had not given recently. A short, personalized handwritten note asked the donor to renew their support. An invoice style mailing also performed well with lapsed donors.
  • We Are All Part of a Community: Create or use your Giving Society. Everyone likes to feel like they are a part of a group. Encourage and push a sense of a community and share the impact this community has on an organization’s mission.
  • Test Clear And Concise Emails: Fewer Words. More Pictures. Use Infographics to enhance your messaging and streamline creative and copy. Make giving effortless with multiple click buttons that are easy to locate.
  • And lastly, MarkeTeam always encourages testing — then you know for sure!

Anna Shepherd
Senior Account Executive

Allison Williams
Senior Director of Analytics

Deidra Wigfall
Senior Account Executive

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