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In part 2 of our special 3-part series with Rebecca Gregory Segovia of Pursuant, we discuss how to develop an effective multi-channel fundraising strategy.

Full Transcript:

Steven: Hey there, thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of Bloomerang TV. Thanks for being here. This is part two of a special three-part series that we are doing with Rebecca Gregory Segovia. She is the executive vice president of client strategy over at Pursuant. She’s going to hang out with us talking about some really cool things, some innovative things in fundraising, Rebecca, thanks for joining us again. How’s it going?

Rebecca: Great. Thanks for having me back. It’s my pleasure to be here.

Steven: Yeah, definitely. If you’re watching this, this is part two. You should keep watching this because Rebecca is going to say some really insightful things, but after you’re done check out part one and part three, some other really great content there. Rebecca, before I get into it can you tell folks a little bit about Pursuant for those who aren’t yet familiar with your organization?

Rebecca: Sure. Pursuant is a full service fundraising agency located in Dallas, Texas and our goal is really to come alongside the nonprofit sector and help great organizations raise dollars so that they can achieve their mission and impact lives. And what’s unique about Pursuant is that we really take a holistic approach to the fundraising pyramid and we want to look at how organizations are actively driving people up the donor pyramid, if you will, in their relationship. And so what are they doing at the annual fund level through social media, digital fundraising, mail, phone, even face-to-face and events into the middle of it? How are you taking constituents there and then driving them into the mid-level of a relationship where essentially they’re giving at a more significant level or a more frequently? And then what does that look like to really drive people into a major donor relationship or a transformational relationship? We really take a look at how do you take people from a transactional relationship with an organization into that transformational one.

Steven: Love it. You guys do a lot of great work. You put out a lot of great content. Your blog is one that I read all the time. And I do read a lot of fundraising blogs and one term that I come across a lot is this idea of multi-channel fundraising. And there’s a lot of buzz wordy type things out there and I know that term can be a little bit scary to perhaps some smaller to medium sized nonprofits. Could you talk about what those words mean? Multi-channel, cross channel, omni channel is one I see a lot. Could you maybe define those terms, here once and for all, so they’re no longer scary for people?

Rebecca: Sure. And that’s a question that we ask and answer here as well and spend a lot of time talking about. A cross channel is when you are taking an idea in one channel and we’ll just say mail and you’re asking people to jump channels, cross channels into another, like digital.

Steven: Makes sense.

Rebecca: Multi-channel is, and that has been a buzzword as of late, is actually having application, if you will, in multiple channels. But they’re not necessarily coordinated.

Steven: Right.

Rebecca: Yes, I’ve got a social media presence, I’m on Facebook and Twitter and all that. Yes, I’m sending email, yes I’m sending mail, yes I’m having events, yes I’m doing face to face visits, but none of that is coordinate, and so that’s what omni channel steps in. That’s when you actually take a campaign or an idea and you look at how do you communicate that in a real and relevant way in each of those channels. Right message, right time, right channel, if you will. So omni channel is actually where you can get the most bang for your buck and you can really coordinate the donor experience in all of those channels. And we’ve seen that with several campaigns that we’ve done with our clients and I look forward to talking about that more.

Steven: Yeah. I’d love to learn more because you say omni is your best bang for your buck. Can you maybe lay out an example of an omni channel campaign that maybe you’ve done for clients or just kind of seen out there that you thought was just kind of cool or effective?

Rebecca: Sure. So actually I’ve got a couple of examples but the one I’ll zero in on right now is a client, Moody Bible Institute, Moody Radio. And they’re based out of Chicago and a couple years ago we did a campaign called the Midi Marathon. We were really playing off the idea of the Chicago Marathon, that was something their listeners on the radio could relate to and we knew the demographics of their audience would actually respond to something like that.

And so we created really a social game and what that looked like is a lot of pre-buzz before the launch of the game where people could go in and they could sign up to run this virtual marathon, if you will, and the way that we invited people in, we used mail, so postcards that included a personalized URL. We used email to do that. We did recruiting on Facebook at a later date but we did leverage that social channel.

The other thing that we had going for us is that we had partnership so some earned media and then we also had the megaphone, if you will, of a radio station to really push the idea. And so we were really able to rally the troops, if you will, to do this virtual marathon which became a three week experiment, if you will, or experience for their constituents and then new names off into the file. And what these constituents got to do is engage with Moody Radio and understand the broader vision and mission of the organization and then at the end we had a prize, so you were running the race. Each week you were rewarded, and based on where you were on your leader board, if you will, and then at the end of the race the person that had recruited the most people and earned the most points for daily interaction on the website and through the radio interaction, then they actually won a trip to Israel, which is a prize that would be relevant to that particular constituency.

Steven: Yeah.

Rebecca: And what is fascinating about that particular program, and let me pull the numbers here really quick because I don’t want to misspeak, we raised, we had 35,000 participants engaged; 70% of them were brand new email addresses to the class.

Steven: Wow.

Rebecca: So that’s an incredible number. Ninety days after the race had ended, we had a 40% lift in reactivated donors. So these were people who had been familiar with the organization and had fallen off and now, because of this engagement, they’re back on. Then they had a 12% lift in existing donors average gift. We basically reengaged 6,800 lapsed donors and had that 40% average increase in their average gift. So what we saw was not only do we bring new people on through this engagement, but then we also brought an incremental lift to the file because people actually understood the organization and what they were doing and the why behind the what, if you will.

Steven: Right.

Rebecca: They wanted to partner and give more. So we had been watching this for this particular group of constituents for this file now for two years and we’re just seeing that level of engagement grow deeper and deeper.

Steven: What I like about the omni channel is you’re taking disparate types of channels and they’re all kind of working together in ways that, most people don’t think that a direct mail campaign could boost a digital, that kind of makes sense. People think these are separate things to separate audiences but you’re kind of bringing them all together and they’re all kind of helping each other out for the one campaign. What are some practical ways that even a small nonprofit could take advantage of this type of strategy marrying all the types of things they’re doing in one coordinated approach?

Rebecca: Great question. I’m going to steal a habit from Steven, habit number two begin with the end in mind. So I would encourage you to get your team together, so pull in someone from marketing, pull in someone from web dev, or IT team, pull in your creative team, and figure out what that plan is going to be. What’s that big idea? What’s the campaign that you want to take to market? And oftentimes with organizations, we look for key milestones. So are you coming up on an anniversary year, or is there a specific date inside your organization that is important? And then what can you do that’s relevant to that date? And really rally people if that was the idea you were going to push for.

Steven: Yeah.

Rebecca: We quickly talked about in the last session about Barbara Bush what was important to them was literacy. There wasn’t a date. It was just how do we start raising awareness on that?

Steven: Right.

Rebecca: So you can take a big idea around that and say okay, what does the very specific experience we want our constituents have and how does that play out in the social channels, in the digital channels, in the mail, potentially in face-to-face and phone conversations. Who knows how large you want to take it. Or there partnerships that you could leverage, earned media or paid media? So you need to ask and answer all those questions and leverage relationships that maybe you have through those partnerships, and then see if you can carve out whether it’s three weeks or six weeks or 90 days the campaign you’re going to push for, and then see if you can get all of the channels working on all cylinders for you. One thing to keep in mind is though is it’s not that you put the message out let’s say in the mail and then you just replicate that online. You have to have a different inventory.

Steven: Right.

Rebecca: So I kind of steal from Paul Harvey, the rest of the story. So you may tease people in a mail channel and then drive them online to engage and then tell even more story in the social. Or tease it in social and then tell more of the story in a landing page. So you really need to look at how you want to push the story forward. Then the other thing I would say to keep in mind is as you’re setting the plan in place don’t be afraid to fail forward, don’t be afraid to test. Is this really driving the conversion I’m looking for? Would this story be better? So ask and answer those questions throughout, so the flexibility is also important.

Steven: Yeah, you read my mind when you said don’t just duplicate efforts across channels. That’s not really what you’re talking about. You’re talking about doing different things on each channel but they all work towards a common goal. Is that a fair summary?

Rebecca: Yes, very.

Steven: It seems people are kind of siloed. There’s the direct mail and the direct mail is doing what the direct mail does and the social is doing what the social does. But I love this because they’re all kind of working together rather than working separately. If you were to talk to someone who kind of gets the idea about this, they’re excited about it, they want to get started, what advice would you have for someone who wants to kick off a multi or an omni channel approach to a campaign?

Rebecca: Do it.

Steven: Yeah.

Rebecca: That’s the short story. It’s worth the effort. It is a Herculean effort sometimes to get all of the people inside of the organization to work together to drive towards this campaign. I’m a big fan of what you help create you promote. So see if you can get those people in the room to just say hey, I’ve got this idea and I’m wondering what it would look like if we were to all work together and just try it and try. Just test your way into it and then if you are actually seeing the results we hope you’re going to see, then hopefully you’ll get by across the board and be able to do something a little bit on a larger scale next time. So maybe the first step is trying to coordinate social and email, and then maybe you add in mail next time that you fill it out. Maybe there you roll in partnerships. How do you eat the elephant? One bite at a time. So what can you do right now and then get a small win and then how do you then invite people in to see if you can get a larger win.

Steven: Love it. So try it, don’t be afraid. The worst thing that could happen is it doesn’t work. You try something else, right?

Rebecca: Exactly. Don’t be afraid.

Steven: Rebecca, great advice as always. We’re going to have you back for one more episode, so if this is the first one you’re watching check out the other two. Rebecca is going to join us one more time. We’re going to talk about stewardship and retention. Always hot topics. But Rebecca, thanks for joining us for this little segment. We’re going to talk to you real soon and thank you all for taking the time out of your day to hang out with us and listen to us. We will catch you next week with another great episode of Bloomerang TV. See you next time.

Rebecca: Thanks.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.