Posts tagged nonprofit marketing

VDP, Changing the Design of Direct Marketing

153002732 250x250 VDP, Changing the Design of Direct MarketingThe evolution of variable data printing (VDP) has significantly changed the landscape for the designers of direct marketing pieces. No longer are they forced to craft pieces that will appeal to a broad range of potential clients and hope for the best. Instead, they can utilize data captured from emails, web pages, surveys, phone calls and in-person interviews to create individualized direct marketing pieces to more accurately target the needs of their clients.

The Market – At its core, variable data printing is still a direct marketing strategy. As such, it relies on having data on your clients and prospects. This data can be self-generated by your company or purchased from third-party vendors. Lists are available in a range of options and can be tailored to your exact needs. In short, VDP combined with the right data is an excellent marketing option for clients as diverse as charitable organizations and casinos to insurance agencies and college alumni departments.

Individualized Pieces – The secret to a variable data printed piece is in how the information and artwork is integrated. While the name and address are from one database, the customers stated preferences are also utilized so that the right copy and artwork is also included. This process allows the designer to incorporate pre-written copy and preselected pictures about the best choices of product for a customer.

For instance,  a casino might know that certain customers preferred “FREE Dinner” while others wanted their hotel room comped. With non-VDP, the designer is constrained into sending the same piece to both customers with an offer for a meal and/or a room. With VDP, the designer can send two or more meal offers to one customer and room offers to the other – complete with appropriate photos.

Increased Response – As you can imagine, this type of marketing better targets potential customers and produces a superior response rate. The most basic use of the process returns double the response rate while more sophisticated campaigns can yield a response 15-20 times greater than a static direct marketing campaign.

Lowered Costs – The vast majority of work in a variable data printing campaign is in the development of the text, graphics and images so that they align with the available data. In addition, the collection of data can be time consuming. However, once this effort has been made, a VDP campaign can be customized to fit any budget.

The campaign can affordably be run over and over again to a select group of clients or to new pools of prospects as they are generated. In addition, VDP allows a marketer to experiment on a small test group before committing resources to a larger campaign. Lastly, you can even build in “fail safes” to exclude customers who have never responded to a certain number of offers.

Customized Follow-Up Campaigns – Similarly, as more data is captured on responsive clients, further enhancements to the campaign can be made. More info can be sent on selected products or the piece can be modified to address what stage of the “buy-cycle” the customer is in.

The Bottom Line – As you can see, variable data printing can have a huge effect on the direct marketing campaign of a forward looking marketer. The technology is available and your company most likely already has all the data it needs. Now, you just need to a take that leap of faith and combine the two.


Nonprofit Social Media Superstars Put in the Time to Earn Followers

Social media is the marketing activity nonprofits say they need help with most, according to a free report from Constant Contact called the Nonprofit Pulse Report. More than 57% of the 307 respondents said they needed help with social media, followed by 36% with email marketing, and 35% with their nonprofit websites.

Not surprisingly, 88% of respondents said they found Facebook the most effective channel for their cause marketing followed dismally by 5% who preferred Twitter. For great Facebook fan page examples look at the American Red Cross with 511,000 fans and The Humane Society of the United States with 1.4 million fans.


puppy Nonprofit Social Media Superstars Put in the Time to Earn Followers


Read Up and Invest Time into Your Multi Channel Efforts

Nonprofits who have read Heather Mansfield’s How to Guide for Using Social Media for Social Good say it’s worth the $22. Heather gives 149 tools and resources, a case study of how a nonprofit book tour earned an organization $17,000, and other lessons she’s learned during her 15 years helping nonprofits and 15,000 hours using social media.

social Nonprofit Social Media Superstars Put in the Time to Earn Followers



The Nonprofit Pulse Report details that nonprofits are spending 36% of their time and 18% of their budgets on marketing. It doesn’t break out what amount of that time and money is spent on social media. However, another report, How Small Businesses and Nonprofits can Master Online Marketing, states that effective social media outreach takes at least 25 hours of staff time per week, according to company behind the report, Ditch Digital Dabbling. The survey also outlines the online marketing tactics that work best and highlights new revelations, including the fact that “Power Users” rate only five social media tools as very effective.

I think both Mansfield and Ditch Digital Dabbling’s staff would agree that Mark Hanis, the founder behind the Genocide Intervention Network, has put in the time and wisely leveraged social media.

Hanis’ Facebook campaign raised $250,000 in 2005, according to nonprofit blogger Beth Kanter. Kanter said that Hanis used Salesforce as its contact management system to track interactions and help land a very large donor. “The relationship starts online, but the “ask” happens offline, perhaps on the phone or face-to-face,” says Kanter.

How much time is your nonprofit spending on social media? If you need guidance, download the reports in this blog or contact us. The return is worth the work according to Social Media Today who says a charity can raise $100,000 or more on Facebook if they dedicate the budget and staff to the task. Imagine what lift you’d get adding variable printing to the integrated marketing mix, too.


Key Direct Marketing Trends for Nonprofits Revealed

Marketing, Trends, Data, variable, Ethan Boldt, Chief Content Officer of Direct Marketing IQ, the research division of publisher Target Marketing, surveyed and shared the results of direct marketing trends for nonprofits in 2011 with glimmers of trends in 2012. In case you missed his direct marketing trend video post, here is what Boldt shared.

  • Personalization, including Variable Data Printing (VDP) has grown by 6% in all sectors.
  • Freemiums slipped by 14% because of rising postage costs. In 2011 labels were the No. 1 freemiums; stickers were the No. 2 freemium and notepads were the No. 3 freemium.
  • Premiums shifted ranks with the tote bag no longer being the No. 1 giveaway by nonprofits. Now books are No. 1; totes No. 2; and DVDs are No. 3.

Variable Data and Other Nonprofit Marketing Trends in 2012

According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), social media and mobile giving continue to influence campaigns. The AFP shared these additional 2012 fundraising trends for marketers to build the most effective campaigns on and offline.

  • Online and new media channels continue to expand. Online fundraising is up 40% in 2012.
  • Peer-to-peer engagement is vital. Nonprofits should tap into their most vocal supporters who are most likely to influence the giving of their sphere, associations and friends.
  • Donor fatigue is building. Tailored communications directed right at a donor is imperative as information overload builds in the land of social media.
  • Integrated marketing will rise to new heights. Strategic communications harnessing the power of multi-channel marketing is the fuel that makes future fundraising campaigns take flight.
  • Personalization is a must. As Boldt noted, one size fits all approaches are so 80s. Personalized newsletters, direct mail that taps digital printing and emails show supporters you know them.  By showing that you know their preferences in giving and you are able to better ensure your message won’t be deleted or thrown in the trash. See a great personalized nonprofit solicitation below where one fraternity uses the alumni’s name twice as well as pulls in photos that include the alumni.

Personalization, nonprofit, variable data, vdp, donations, fundraising, donor receipts

  • Quality data should take front and center of any nonprofit campaign. He who gathers, scrubs, segments and keeps his data current, meets the fundraising mission fastest, according to Karen Zapp of – a nonprofit copywriter. This includes targeting groups on social media, using social analytics, and executing micro campaigns

Want more insights? Click here to read how Mail Print helped one nonprofit clients achieve outstanding ROI for their fundraising campaigns.


A few more points from Boldt

An analysis of 40 months of data, from January 2009 through October 2011, demonstrates the growth of personalization/VDP in the direct marketing and mailing process*:

  • In 2009, 28% of direct mail pieces were personalized.
  • In 2010, the number of personalized mail pieces increased to 34% — a 21% increase from the prior year.
  • In 2011, seven of the 10 months recorded saw even higher VDP usage – another 21% increase from the prior year and a 46% jump from the 2009 levels.

*Source: Target Marketing, Nuts & Bolts – Trends: 2011 Direct Mail Trend of the Year: VDP, March 2012.


Study Shows Direct Mail Triggers 3-to-1 Donations Compared to Email

Donations, mail, direct mail, giving, charity, nonprofit, donor receiptsDonors are more than three times as likely to give an online gift in response to a direct mail appeal than an “e-ppeal,” according to a national study conducted by research firm Campbell Rinker for the non-profit advising firm Dunham+Company.

The study revealed that 17% of donors who gave on a charity website in 2011 said they were motivated to give by a direct mail letter as opposed to the 5% who said they gave because of an email. In other words, direct mail outperformed email in persuading a person to donate by nearly 3-to-1.

“Finding that direct mail has actually grown as a driver to online donations and the online efforts were not really moving the needle was a bit of a shock,” says Rick Dunham, President/CEO of Dunham+Company who conducted the study because it wanted to see if direct mail was diminishing as a source for online donations.

According to results from Campbell Rinker’s DonorPulse™ International study conducted in October and November 2011, direct mail is still the champ of generating donations: 43% of donors to International causes say they have given in the past 12 months because of a letter they received. Email comes in second at 28%, and fundraising events are third at 23%.


Additional Findings from the Study

  1. Donors are receptive to direct mail appeals – 50% of donors surveyed in 2012 said they prefer to give online when they receive a letter in the mail from a charity.
  2. Key donor age groups are giving more when triggered by direct mail. Donors ages 40-59 who said they gave an online gift in response to a direct mail appeal rose to 38% from 35% two years prior.
  3. Among donors age 60 or older, online giving prompted by a direct mail appeal rose to 30% from 18% in the past two years.
  4. Wealthy women respond well to direct mail. Nearly 53% of donors in households with incomes of $75,000 or more preferred to respond with an online gift when they received a direct-mail appeal.
  5. Websites lost ground in driving giving. Only 11% of donors say seeing a charity’s website motivates a gift.
  6. Email-stimulated giving is down. Only 5% of study respondents say they gave an online gift because of receiving an email.

Other study findings were social media is an important component to any nonprofit fundraising effort. Social media influences donors under the age of 40 with 30% of respondents saying they gave online because of information posted on social media. The social media influence increased 6% from two years ago during the last donor study in 2010.

Visit Campbell Rinker for more information on the DonorPulse Study and to participate in the new study that begins March 2013. For more donor campaign ideas, check out how Harvesters Food Bank pulled in more than $600,000 with its donor receipt program.


Nonprofits Use QR Codes® to Get People to Act

Nonprofits don’t have the budget of Nike so they can’t spend $300 million pushing a campaign centered on a swoosh or statement like Just Do It.

So the nonprofits that are continuing to ask, “How can we squeeze out more results on the same budget,” are turning to technology, multi-channel campaigns, and QR Codes® for additional lift.

Organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network are piloting QR Codes® to see if they can achieve better life or market penetration without adding costs. Statistics from Netwit Thinktank say these nonprofits are wise to do so:

  • In aggregate, online-acquired donors have much higher cumulative value over the long term than traditional mail-acquired donors.
  • Online giving was up 13% in 2011
  • It has become increasingly common for new donors to give their first gift online.
  • The largest amount given online in 2011 was $260,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters Embrace QR Codes in Marketing

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Kansas City is the top matching agency in the country yet they face the same challenge faced by each state – finding enough men to mentor boys. Currently there are more than 600 boys on the Kansas City wait list for a big brother.

To recruit more big brothers it bought “Real Men Mentor” print ads and billboard space included a QR Code® that led to information and an online volunteer application.

To BBBS’s credit, the billboards did not include a QR symbol that someone driving couldn’t scan safely any way.  In the first six weeks of the campaign, Big Brothers Big Sisters received 196 clickthroughs to its application page, according to Kristi Hutchison, BBBS Chief Marketing Officer.

Unfortunately because this is the first time they’ve used QR Codes®, whether the clickthroughs came from emails or QR scans is unknown. Hutchison says call-to-action sources will be closely tracked in the next campaign.

QR Codes and nonprofit marketingPancreatic Cancer Action Network

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN) used an event awareness night at a L.A. Kings game in California as an opportunity to beta test QR effectiveness. So the “Be a Hero” flyer the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network distributed that night included two new calls to action (1) a mobile opt-in via text messaging and (2) a QR Code®.

The PCAN was wise to include some basic scanning instructions on its flyer since only 5% of Americans are using QR Codes®.

The results were about 30 people out of a 1000 opted in via text message, which was a typical response rate. However, the QR Code was scanned more than 200 times – out pulling text messaging. The QR Code® led the curious attendees to a simple page that showed them how to learn more, how to get involved, and how to find a local event they could attend.

Want to see how other nonprofits are using this technology to increase their numbers. Check out How Nonprofits Can Use QR Codes.