November 14, 2019
Nonprofits Can Boost Their Marketing Power with Technology Tools

By Peter Lowy

Technology offers one of the most cost-effective ways by which nonprofits can improve their ability to communicate with critical audiences and raise funds, to achieve their overall mission.

Blackbaud, a software and services company that works with nonprofits, at its recent Conference for Nonprofits awarded Nonprofit Impact Awards to seven organizations for using technology to make a positive impact on their mission, constituents, and society.

Here are highlights of several winners.

Best Use of Interactive Marketing

Heifer International, which provides livestock and agricultural training to impoverished families, wanting to stand out among the large number of causes competing for donations during the 2012 holiday season, partnered with 90octane to create an interactive campaign.

Heifer collected and analyzed data from a variety of sources and was able to employ dynamic ad text and build specific landing pages for trending searches such as “gifts under $20” and “gifts under $100” to capitalize on the potential of individual donors. Heifer International was also able to look at the median amounts of donations and adjust its donation options to maximize conversions from potential donors.

The result: Heifer International met its donation goal and increased donations from search engine marketing by 28% with a cost per dollar donated of $0.07 after services, far exceeding the targeted 24% with a maximum cost per dollar donated of $0.50.

Best Use of Integrated Marketing

American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), which aims to improve the well-being of refugees and poor families across the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Jordan, need to raise funds quickly to respond to the increased need for essential supplies due to the influx of new refugees from Syria to Lebanon’s refugee camps.

ANERA launched a multichannel communications campaign that had one message: “Help deliver basic supplies to people in need.” The organization, using a variety of technology services, employed powerful photos and consistent branding in communications, including email campaigns, social media, media relations, and direct mail.

The result: ANERA raised more than $130,000, setting a new fundraising record that more than doubled the amount raised during its previous end-of-fiscal year campaign. It also generated 56 first-time donors and was able to deliver supplies to refugee camps in Lebanon, including $5 million worth of donated medicines and health care supplies.

Best Use of Peer-to-Peer/Special Events

Central Park Conservancy, a civic group dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the famed New York City park, wanted to increase its base of support among residents living adjacent and close to Central Park. In August 2012, only 15% of residents living in buildings adjacent or close to Central Park were considered current supporters.

The Conservancy engaged in a grass roots campaign which encouraged residents to host cocktail parties and other events in buildings adjacent to Central Park. The Conservancy supplied hosts with online registration tools and event attendees were able to make donations on the spot while getting exposed to the Conservancy’s mission.

The result: The initial event engaged 80 hosts who served as Conservancy “Ambassadors” and attracted more than 1,500 individuals; registered about 750 people online; raised more than $260,000, with more than $108,000 online; and engaged more than 470 donors.

Best Use of Use of Analytics

Saint Joseph’s Indian School, which helps children from the Lakota, or Sioux, Tribe escape extreme poverty through education and personal development, wanted to more efficiently solicit donations from repeat donors and needed to determine which audiences they should target for renewals, reactivation, sustainership, and major gifts.

The organization analyzed historic and current giving trends across all channels to create optimal targets. Several models were developed that would help St. Joseph’s determine the long-term value of donors, including those to identify and reactivate lapsed donors most likely to renew, and identify and retain multi-year donors who are likely to lapse. Multi-channel (card, call, email) tests were conducted and evaluated to determine impact to donor sustainment. A cluster model determined optimal segments that would produce the highest ROI and long-term value by campaign.

The result: St. Joseph’s increased active donor retention by nearly 4.75% and increased recently lapsed donor reactivation by 4.37%. The School also was able to decrease renewal mailing solicitations by 2%, increase the number of transactions by 6% and actualize a 7% increase in net revenue. Overall, the School increased its net revenue for reactivation and renewal campaigns by more than $1 million in 2013.

Peter Lowy is publisher of Email him at or call 617-734-9980.

October 2013

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