Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference a success

photoLast week was sure one to remember.

The 9th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference was an indisputable success – from empowering keynote speakers to an amazing educational program to networking opportunities to reconnect with old friends and make new industry connections.

Mal Warwick | Donordigital was thrilled to sponsor such an extraordinary conference.

Our week began at the 35th Annual Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW) MAXI Awards. Established in 1979, the MAXI Awards program recognizes and honors outstanding achievements in the field of direct marketing. We were honored to receive five separate awards for our work with our clients:

  • AIDS Project Los Angeles (Gold)
  • National Organization for Women (Gold)
  • Ocean Conservancy (Silver and Bronze)
  • Women for Women (Silver).

We were excited to have our clients join us to accept the awards and for a celebratory dinner afterwards.

To view samples of our winning campaigns, click here.

Thursday and Friday at the Gaylord National Harbor, brought session after session of direct marketing study, tactics and wisdom to share with our clients to enhance their fundraising programs. A few great nuggets our team heard over and over include:

  • Don’t try to upgrade the donors until you did everything you promised (premium offers, special invites, updates etc).
  • Donor testimonials strategically placed on a web page, in newsletters, etc, can help overcome monthly giving hurdles.
  • Optimize – do as much donation form optimization testing as possible and make sure that all donation forms and emails are mobile optimized!
  • Send regular/quarterly Sustainer upgrade emails to current Sustainers with multiple buttons for upgrade amounts: $2, $4, etc.

The week was also about fun and relaxation and one the highlights for me was hosting our clients, partners and friends for a happy hour on the water front. We talked fundraising strategy and industry gossip while watching the summer storm roll in over the Potomac and Capital Wheel. The storm gave way to a beautiful sunset captured by Greg Albright from Production Solutions.

So, save the date for the 10th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference to be held back at the beautiful National Harbor from July 7-9, 2015.

photo-thumbnail-daveDave Dogan is a Vice President at Mal Warwick | Donordigital.

Build a robust monthly giving program for long-term growth

Organizations with robust monthly giving programs fared much better during the recent economic downturn than those with stagnant programs.   The most profitable programs have specifically harnessed the online medium to recruit, cultivate, retain and upgrade their monthly donors.

My colleague Mwosi Swenson and I presented examples of robust monthly giving programs in July 2011 at the Direct Marketing Association of Washington-Association of Fundraising Professionals Bridge Conference at a session entitled “Anatomy of Hot Monthly Giving Programs,” as we were joined by colleagues from PETA and the Human Rights Campaign.

These two dynamic monthly donor programs incorporate some of the following techniques to keep growing their file:

  • Rolling online campaigns inviting recent donors and non-donor action takers to become sustainers.  The messages highlight the urgency of why sustainers are needed “for the long haul,” and why monthly giving is the best way to support a cause
  • Create month-long “campaigns” to recruit and upgrade
  • Monthly giving opt-in option on donation pages (especially renewal campaigns) and links from offline campaigns Monthly giving option on every donation page
  • Feature monthly giving button on the homepage (in addition to Donate Now button)
  • Use email to capture declined credit cards … making it easy for the donor to update information and fulfill the gift … using a Netflix-like declined credit card message.  Make it easy!
  • Use a hot premium to secure the upgrade from current sustainers

With year-end planning happening now, it’s important to not forget how monthly giving strategy plays in with these plans.  Even subtle opportunities to offer the monthly giving option can go far in building a robust program for long-term growth.

Dave Dogan is Vice President of Client Services at Mal Warwick Associates, Donordigital’s sister company.  Dave has two decades of experience directing the membership and fundraising programs of progressive nonprofit organizations from both the agency and the client side.