Announcing the 2014 IMAB Integrated Marketing Award winners

On Friday, March 14 at NTEN’s 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference, the Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB) announced the winners of its third annual Integrated Marketing Awards. The Integrated Marketing Awards recognize nonprofit organizations showing exemplary leadership in the area of integrated marketing. We congratulate this year’s winners, who exemplify the sector’s successful use of integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns or programs.


This year’s winners by category:

The Donor

Montgomery Area Food Bank, won in the category of The Donor for demonstrating how an integrated marketing campaign or program had an impact on donor satisfaction and the donor experience. The organization focuses on programs as part of its marketing plan to encourage donor engagement and overall support of its programs.

The Organization

league-of-women-voters-usThe League of Women Voters of the United States, a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, won in the category of The Organization, demonstrating how an effort across the organization aligned strategy, structure, culture, or skills to impact the organization’s ability to integrate its marketing efforts. The organizations created a successful broad-based marketing campaign involving all departments within the organization.

The Practice

the-redwood-logoThe Redwood, a Toronto-based shelter for women and children who have fled abusive situations, won in the category of The Practice for sharing its real world case study highlighting best practices in the field of integrated marketing. The organization used a variety of technologies and promoted its Safe Haven Store across multiple channels for stellar results.

The IMAB is privileged to honor these organizations that are demonstrating best practices in integrated marketing. We’ll feature case studies from these organizations in future posts, so stay tuned to the IMAB blog for more details!

photo-thumbnail-ericEric Overman is the Vice President for Digital Strategy and Integrated Services at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

Integrated Fundraising: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

secret-shopper-cover-largeWe’re thrilled to announce the publication of our newest white paper: Integrated Fundraising: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly.

At Mal Warwick | Donordigital, we implement direct response programs that focus on integrated donor solicitation, cultivation and stewardship across multiple channels.

In an effort to learn more about what others are doing, we studied sixteen major nonprofit organizations to give us a snapshot of what some of today’s leading charities are doing.

For six months in 2013, we tracked all interactions with these organizations through direct mail, online and telephone. Our goal was to observe how some of America’s most notable charities are integrating their donor communications across multiple channels.

Most organizations we studied did integrate new online donors into other channels—most notably direct mail. Although we received contacts through multiple channels, the communications rarely appeared to be integrated. And for some organizations, the cross-channel conversion efforts took shockingly long.

Download the white paper >>

Online tax receipt portal scores for AmeriCares

AMC Tax Portal Receipt PageThe AmeriCares Online Tax Receipt Portal was a multichannel donor-centric campaign, anchored by a custom tax receipt microsite designed to engage donors by allowing easy and free access to their tax receipts for their online and offline donations.

The campaign was launched in December 2013, with an email to donors to notify them that they could download their year-end tax receipt. The email contained their login information and a link to the tax receipt portal. AmeriCares provided this value-added service to their donors to make getting the tax benefits from their support as easy as possible.  Donors log in to access their printable donation receipt(s).  Once inside the Tax Receipt Portal, they are also shown the impact of their gift and the ability to make an additional donation.

Once the donor enters the portal, they are greeted with a “Thank You for Donating” message which includes three main accomplishments that AmeriCares achieved in 2013 thanks to their support, coupled with a donate button which spurred additional year-end giving.

The campaign is designed to increase donor engagement, and improve both retention and the long-term value of the donor to AmeriCares.  Rating systems on sites that use this tool have revealed that donors truly view this  as a value added service.

At Donordigital, we encourage all our organizational clients to deploy an online tax receipt portal to improve their year-round fundraising performance.

photo-thumbnail-nick-garciaNick Garcia is an Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

Top 10 Planned Giving Marketing ‘To Dos’ for 2014

Editor’s Note: We are delighted to have planned giving expert Phyllis Freedman join us as a new regular contributor to the Mal Warwick Donordigital blog.  Her expertise has been invaluable on many client engagements, and we’re glad to share her insights with a wider audience. You can learn more about her and read her blog at

Happy new year! I hope you had a successful year-end and that you’re as optimistic as I am about 2014. I’m back from my sabbatical, re-charged and looking forward to continuing our conversation. I thought I would start the year with my top 10 list. When you set your goals for the year, I hope you will consider these activities (if they aren’t already in place). They are not in order of importance because each is important. There are many more good ideas than just these ten. I welcome yours.

  1. Create a written, multi-channel, audience-specific planned giving marketing and stewardship plan. I regularly encounter organizations that have not yet done this most basic step. It should be a given.
  2. Go multi-channel. It’s past time now to fully integrate mail and online planned giving marketing and stewardship. If you haven’t started, get started. If you are underway, take it to the next level.
  3. Create conversion oriented landing pages to use in conjunction with your digital strategy. Instead of sending interested donors to static landing pages, ensure congruence between your e-offer and the landing page and give the donors who go there a next action to take that moves them along the continuum from curious to committed.
  4. Clean up your data. Personalized communication with prospects and with legacy society members will enhance your results. But when it comes to databases, garbage in = garbage out. It defeats the purpose of personalizing if the output is in error. It may not be possible to clean up your entire database but you can and should focus on your top audiences—legacy society members, planned giving inquirers, affinity audiences and so on for as far as you have the resources to go.
  5. Attempt personal contact with every legacy society member. There is nothing more important than making sure you have personal contact with your legacy society. Many organizations do a good job of mailing legacy society donors stewardship pieces. It’s the personal touch that’s often missing. It’s not possible to visit every donor (nor do all legacy society members want a visit) but there is no excuse for not calling each member at least once a year. There are a variety of ways of accomplishing this in-house or through out-sourcing. Even if you don’t reach the donor, leaving a message saying thank you is more than worth doing.
  6. Start or deepen your collaboration with your major gifts team. Ensure that they are asking their donors to make legacy commitments and that they are expanding your reach by stewarding legacy society donors.
  7. Set up a process for tracking and measuring results. Even though most planned giving marketing results are not statistically significant because of low response rates, results data can provide important direction to your program. The answer to “how did that mailing do?” should be quantitative, not qualitative. A corollary to this is to ensure that you have a good system of flags so you can mark the kind of response you are getting, e.g., the donor returned a survey, said she intended to include you, requested a specific kind of gift information.
  8. Create a conversion series—a set of touches with a specific cadence and message—to move inquirers to commitments. Donors who raise a hand by requesting more info or otherwise indicating an interest in planning are your hot prospects. Special treatment of these folks will yield results.
  9. Make time to read industry periodicals and to attend local planned giving council and national conferences. I have learned so much from generous presenters and from new and familiar colleagues. Though it sometimes seems like there is no time, you can’t afford not to go.
  10. Take a risk, go out on a limb, try something new. If you press the envelope and step outside your comfort zone you will realize outsize gains.

Phyllis-profilephotoPhyllis Freedman is an independent fundraising consultant specializing in gift planning marketing and the intersection of gift planning and direct marketing. During her 30-year career in nonprofit fundraising, Phyllis has consulted on gift planning, direct marketing and strategic fundraising for organizations large and small, national and local.  Learn more about Phyllis and read her blog at

Children’s Hospital Oakland goes mobile-friendly

Donordigital has been thrilled to work with Children’s Hospital Oakland and the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Foundation during the past six months on a number of online projects, including improving the organization’s donation forms, email templates, and email signup experience, as well as integrating its online and offline communications.

Our first project with Children’s Hospital Oakland was to create mobile-optimized email templates in Convio for email appeals and e-newsletters, thus assuring the best possible reader and donor experience.  We streamlined the design with a focus on call-to-action, images of kids, and organizational branding.  We determined the best design based on organizational needs, and ensured those could be delivered in a mobile-friendly format.

Here’s how they went from a non-mobile-friendly e-newsletter format to a mobile-friendly format (click to enlarge either screenshot):

old-enews    new-enews

And here’s how they went from a non-mobile-friendly email appeal format to a mobile-friendly format  (click to enlarge either screenshot):

old-eappeal     new-eappeal

Children’s Hospital Oakland is now employing these new mobile-friendly templates for their year-end fundraising campaign.

Please sign up for Children’s Oakland’s e-mail list today and see them for yourself!

WendyPhotoWendy Marinaccio Husman is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company. 

Five challenges to effective integrated marketing for nonprofits

Integration is not only a common buzzword these days, but also a goal of many nonprofit direct response and development plans. And, while many organizations work in multiple channels, many are still working to integrate their entire program. Also, there are many challenges to building and maintaining an integrated program, including five common ones I’ll introduce below.

But first, let me give a loose definition of what I mean by “integration”. Specifically, these challenges address building a direct response program (even if you start with just one campaign) with the goal of enhancing donor engagement and driving conversion with messaging and planned timing across multiple touch points. In other words, ensuring communications are centered on the donor’s experience with your organization as she consumes information — and responds — in what has become a very multi-channel way. But, admittedly, this isn’t always easy.

Here are five common challenges along with some hints at what you can do to make sure you are up to the task of meeting them. (And, the good news is that it is usually worth the effort!)

Challenge #1:  Where to Start?
Maybe you are firing on all cylinders when it comes to building an integrated program. But if not, determining where start, or make your next investment, can be challenging.

Is your organization crawling, walking, or running when it comes to integrated marketing and donor communications? And be honest, because knowing what level of complexity is realistic at the start will help build a stronger program faster in the long run.

Remember, no matter where you start, integrated marketing requires some level of increased complexity and activity. The question is how much. If you are just starting, don’t get overly complex. Pick your biggest segments/program areas/campaigns and start there. And if you run into an obstacle, which you likely will, get as far as you can. Next time, you’ll go further!

A great program area to consider for your next integration project is a Sustainer/Monthly Giving program. A good Sustainer program can become a cornerstone of your direct response program (if it’s not already), and multi-channel efforts have proven particularly effective in converting donors to sustainers. Plus, many organizations prefer their sustainers be driven online or converted by phone to encourage the use of credit cards instead of checks.

On the campaign side, the biggest direct response campaigns should be the first targets for building out or improving your integrated efforts. Year-End or your highest performing campaigns are a good place to start because your return will be higher by optimizing what is already successful.
What you can do:

  • Identify and accept your organization’s life cycle stage and plan accordingly.
  • Pick a recommended campaign/program area/segment and start planning 4 – 6 months in advance.

Challenge #2:  Messaging & Content

As mentioned previously, it’s not good enough to be just working in multiple channels. It’s important to integrate your messaging across channels and platforms so that you can provide a donor-centric experience. That doesn’t mean using exactly the same words, but the theme and feel should be consistent across communications, all the way through the end of the desired action (i.e., donation/conversion). This also means additional planning — possibly working with multiple internal departments, as well as possible development of additional content and stories highlighting the impact the donors have through your organization.
What you can do:

  • Plot out Messaging and Content Strategy at beginning.
  • Take stock of resources (tech, staff, photos, budgets) early.

Challenge #3:  Data & Tracking

This can be a big one. While using and looking at data by channel may be familiar, more complex integration requires that our data provide a “holistic view” of what the donor has received and what actions she has taken. It is this information upon which many integration plans are built.

Might sound easy enough, but as many of us know too well, data often exists in different silos and platforms. Even for those systems that sync, the information flow must be understood to make sure we are getting the right message to the right donor at the right time. The same can be said about looking at the results: Make sure you look not just at the channel by itself, but also by the segments of what they received.

What you can do:

  • Diagram existing data flow across channels, and look for where work-arounds would need to be built to sync the data or modify plans accordingly.
  • Plan out results tracking procedures in advance.
  • Don’t despair, just work within the constraints you currently have and try to fix them over time.

Challenge #4: Organization Buy-In & Participation

As if you are not working hard enough making this all happen, whether walking or running, you probably have to “sell” others in your organization on this concept as well. You may need more resources and time from others in your organization to start pushing out or increasing integrated campaigns. And, the more complex both your organization and your program are, the more that involvement is needed from across your organization. And often, this means proving that it’s worth it. Fortunately, the benefits of integrating marketing are well documented.

What you can do:

  • Start Cross-Departmental Communications and Planning well in advance
  • Be prepared.  Here are some good resources:
    • Integrated Multi-Channel Marketing by Convio and Edge Research
    • Mobile Matters, Artez Interactive
    • eNonprofit Benchmark Study, NTEN/M&R Strategic Services
    • 2012 Charitable Giving Report, Blackbaud

Challenge #5:  Increased Complexity & Activity

The first four challenges all add up to our fifth challenge: the increased complexity and activity that can come with an integrated program. So, make sure you plan for this fact. You’ll need to dedicate more time (and likely resources), and so will others within your organization.
What you can do:

  • Build an organization-wide communication calendar (view a sample basic multi-channel calendar).
  • Start planning well in advance.
  • Look for easy-win “value adds” to fold in (ecards, print gift cards, sustainer upgrades, thank you videos, ecommerce).

The good news is that integrated marketing frequently pays back returns. Not to mention, and largely in part because, it helps you drive an experience where your donor feels more aligned with your mission and impact.

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission from the Integrated Marketing Advisory Board.

Eric Overman is the Vice President for Digital Strategy and Integrated Services at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

2013 Marketing Awards for eXcellence & Innovation

Wednesday night (July 31, 2013) at the annual Direct Marketing Association of Washington conference, Mal Warwick | Donordigital and our clients were recognized for our marketing and fundraising excellence.  Together we walked away with a five awards.  We won awards in the acquisition, renewal, special appeal, and telephone fundraising categories!

We are honored to share these awards with the Human Rights Campaign, PETA, Ocean Conservancy, Brady Campaign, and Project Bread.  For these current and past clients we received the following honors:

Human Rights Campaign – Nonprofit Renewal – HRC Renewal Zero – Silver
PETA – Nonprofit Acquisition – PETA Postcard Acquisition – Silver
Ocean Conservancy – Nonprofit Special Appeal – Guardians Year End – Bronze
Brady Campaign – Nonprofit Appeal TM – TM Conversion Campaign – Silver
Project Bread –  Nonprofit Special Appeal – Thanksgiving Appeal – Bronze

Established in 1979, the MAXI (Marketing Award for eXcellence & Innovation) Awards program recognizes and honors outstanding achievements in the field of direct marketing. The criteria for MAXIs illustrate the difference between a MAXI and other contests in that a campaign’s results will carry more weight than any of the other scored criteria. All entries are judged on the following six criteria: results, strategy, copy, design/format, production, and innovation.

Congratulations to everyone for this well deserved recognition and great results!

Dan Doyle is the President and CEO of Mal Warwick | Donordigital

Facebook rolling out changes to its Advertising services

At Donordigital, we manage Facebook Advertising projects for several of our clients. In early June 2013, Facebook announced plans to streamline the number of advertising units from 27 to fewer than half of that, and they’ll be rolling out these changes over the next five months. Let’s look at the current landscape of Facebook Advertising, while touching on anticipated changes, and how it might impact nonprofits using Facebook.

Currently, Facebook Advertising belongs to one of two categories: Ads or Sponsored stories.

Ads – Voice of the organization

For Facebook ads in this category, you as a nonprofit advertiser are in full control of all creative elements of the ad. This means you control the title of the ad, the imagery and any text that goes with it. The two most common distinct formats for ads are:

  • Standard ads: A standard ad is the traditional Facebook ad you find on the right hand side across the site on dedicated ad placements on Facebook. That means the right-hand side of the Facebook homepage, events, pages, user profiles, apps and next to photos in photo albums. Standard ads pointing to Facebook Pages are also eligible to show in the News feed on desktop and mobile devices.
  • Page post ads: Page post ads are Facebook page posts that are promoted in order to increase their reach. Due to their nature, they are eligible to show on all Facebook placements. This includes the News Feed on both mobile and desktop. Turning a page post into a page post ad by promoting it doesn’t change the original post in terms of appearance – only in terms of distribution. This means that Facebook users interact with a page post ad the same way they would with an unsponsored page post.

Sponsored stories – Voice of a friend

With sponsored stories, each time someone interacts with one of your Facebook entities a story is created. The content of the story can be that someone likes your page or one of our page posts, uses your app or is going to your event – to name a few. You could say a person’s action becomes a recommendation rather than an ad. For nonprofits, sponsored stories can be a powerful marketing message, since it shows a friend interacting with your content, which can be a big influencer. One big change expected in the next few months: sponsored stories will essentially disappear as a separate ad unit. Instead, these social context elements will be rolled into Ads, such as page post ads.

Custom Audiences

Another recent addition to Facebook Advertising is the introduction of Custom Audiences. This service allows you to target your ads at people for whom you have email addresses. The Custom Audience tool will match up people on your list to their Facebook profiles based on email address, Facebook user ID or phone number; however, email address will most likely be the record information you will be using for the match. We’ve seen this used very effectively in multi-channel campaigns, whereby nonprofits can target people on Facebook that have received solicitations in the mail, assuming you have their email address in their constituent record. The Custom Audiences tool is accessed through the Power Editor, which is found in the Facebook Ads Manager. List files need to be the CSV or TXT format. Once uploaded, this list will be saved and can be used as a target audience for your next Facebook ad campaign (or can even be used as an exclusion audience!).

Laura Domingo is an Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

Into Focus: A Benchmark Guide to Effective Nonprofit Video and a Guide for Creators

More than half of online content today is video. See3, YouTube and Edelman recently collaborated on a study of how nonprofits are taking advantage of that trend, called Into Focus: A Benchmark Guide to Effective Nonprofit Video. Here are some of our favorite take-aways from the report:

Metrics: Ensure you have a clear goal for what you would like to achieve using video. It’s likely that you should focus on some sort of action or conversion goal rather than simply the number of video hits. Answer these questions: Why are you making the video? What are you trying to say? Who is your audience? What do you want them to do?

Integration: Incorporating the video and its message into multiple channels will multiply its impact.

Social sharing: Start by distributing your video to your most engaged supporters, rather than promoting it to people who are less connected with your mission. They will help you share it further.

Cultivate prospects and steward donors: Video can be used to push potential donors up the ladder of engagement, and thank donors in a special and meaningful way when they give.

Download the Into Focus report

Wendy Marinaccio is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.  Contact:

Join Donordigital’s session at 8th Annual Bridge Conference

Donordigital is pleased to present a session with two innovative clients at this year’s 8th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference, which takes place July 31 to August 2, 2013 at the Gaylord National Hotel & Conference Center in Washington, DC.

The session we are presenting is part of the Digital Track on Friday, August 2, 2013 from 8:15 to 9:20 am, and is entitled:

Are You Ready for Year-End? Case Studies of Winning December Fundraising Strategies.

It’s no secret that the last few months of the year represent major dollars for fundraising programs. But what are the best strategies and techniques to stay in front of your audience, across channels, while not overdoing it? Join us for a review of several programs with successful 2012 results, along with tips for ramping up your program.

Session speakers:

  • Eric Overman, Vice President of Digital Strategy, Donordigital
  • Katharine Vuille, Associate Director of Direct Response Marketing, AmeriCares
  • Joan Wadkins, Senior Director, Giving Programs, Be The Match Foundation