A digital focus on monthly donors increases revenue

An “always on” approach to sustainer giving brought in:

239

new sustainers acquired in December and January

$12,491

in additional revenue attributed to new sustainers

5.8%

increase in overall total sustainers

THE CHALLENGE

Increase sustainer file

Having a monthly donor program is a great way to connect with a dedicated group of donors and establish a steady, reliable source of revenue. Because of this, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina was looking for a way to increase the number of sustainers on their file during a busy time of year without jeopardizing one-time revenue.

THE SOLUTION

“Always on” approach to monthly giving

The solution was to take an “always on” approach to a monthly giving ask, by adding more frequent touchpoints about monthly giving options. We began testing this in December by including monthly gift asks in many of the P.S.’s of emails. Although the primary focus was on one-time gifts, we saw early success in acquiring monthly donors through this method.

In January, instead of conducting their usual campaign centered around a direct mail package, we created a digital-exclusive “Partner Appreciation Month” campaign. The campaign focused on gratitude for donors after a particularly difficult 2020. After the first email went out, the full file received a second email with a P.S. featuring a $5,000 match for those who gave their first monthly gift. We then segmented the third email to include a monthly giving ask for those who had given 2 or more gifts since September.

breakthrough

Increase in monthly revenue

The push for sustainers paid off! In December and January, 239 sustainers committed to giving a monthly gift – a 5.8% increase in their total number of sustainers. Thanks to these monthly donors, The Food Bank will receive an additional $12,491 in revenue each month.

The push for sustainers paid off! In December and January, 239 sustainers committed to giving a monthly gift – a 5.8% increase in their total number of sustainers. Thanks to these monthly donors, The Food Bank will receive an additional $12,491 in revenue each month.

Omnichannel strategy leads to year-over-year program growth

RKD’s omnichannel strategy lead to YOY program results:

39%

increase in direct mail gross revenue

90%

lift in digital gross revenue

206%

rise in new digital donor counts

“As soon as our partnership began, RKD Group worked quickly and strategically to re-establish and stabilize our acquisition and retention efforts. In just the first six months, we saw tremendous growth in both direct mail and digital. We can’t wait to see what the next year has in store!”

Sara Beksinski, Director of Development, The Salvation Army, Northwest Division

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THE CHALLENGE

A program in decline

Prior to joining RKD Group, The Salvation Army Northwest Division was facing a decline in gross revenue. Direct mail was projected to be down by more than 2.8%, and their digital program was flat. Core donors – those who give two or more consecutive years and have the highest likelihood of becoming major donors – were also on the decline. The organization came to us looking for a way to turn this decline around.

THE SOLUTION

Omnichannel strategy focused on growth

RKD implemented an omnichannel strategy that combined data & analytics, creative, direct mail and digital strategies to generate growth. We worked with the organization to re-establish core donors, remain consistent in acquisition and stabilize retention.

In the midst of all this, COVID-19 hit. RKD and The Salvation Army Northwest Division immediately pivoted, shifting media spend to focus on COVID-19 response ads, creating a pandemic-focused email campaign, and expedited a new emergency mailing to highlight their efforts throughout the pandemic. We also worked together to implement a COVID-19 donor retention plan.

breakthrough

Major strides in record time

After just six months of partnership, The Salvation Army Northwest Division saw some pretty incredible results! Direct mail gross revenue was up 39% and digital gross revenue was up a whopping 90% year over year. The focus on digital acquisition also paid off, with a 206% increase in new digital donors.

After just six months of partnership, The Salvation Army Northwest Division saw some pretty incredible results! Direct mail gross revenue was up 39% and digital gross revenue was up a whopping 90% year over year. The focus on digital acquisition also paid off, with a 206% increase in new digital donors.

Transforming local events into a virtual experience delivers huge revenue lift

In response to the virtual event, NPH saw:

99

first-time donations

$213k

in revenue raised

600%

year-over-year increase in revenue

THE CHALLENGE

Cancellation of local U.S. events

With in-person events no longer an option during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) was forced to cancel its annual traveling regional event in the U.S. that raises money for St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Haiti. They needed a virtual solution that would appeal to their audience of medical professionals, help raise money to support St. Damien’s and increase membership of their collaborative.

THE SOLUTION

Immersive experience that transported attendees

RKD Group worked with NPH to transform their regional, in-person event into a national virtual event experience. Through some carefully crafted production and well-thought-out content, NPH immersed their attendees into Haiti’s culture.

The show included native music, pictures of Haiti and the children donors were helping, and a marquee speaker. This transportive experience gave audience members something to talk about in the chat during the event and well after. Because this event was virtual, NPH was able to expand their reach, opening up invites to donors across the nation and allowing people who may have missed the evening to view it at a later date.

We coached their staff to be intentional about how they engaged with all attendees. They reached out to everyone who was registered, sent copies of the marquee speaker’s book and positioned fundraising asks well before the event arrived.

breakthrough

Major lift in revenue, new donors

Going virtual was an incredible success! Not only were NPH able to expand attendance by more than 50%, the recording continues to be viewed weeks after the event’s conclusion. By focusing on production and creating an immersive experience, NPH welcomed 99 first-time donors to their cause. With more than $213,000 raised, revenue increased by 600% year-over-year.

Going virtual was an incredible success! Not only were NPH able to expand attendance by more than 50%, the recording continues to be viewed weeks after the event’s conclusion. By focusing on production and creating an immersive experience, NPH welcomed 99 first-time donors to their cause. With more than $213,000 raised, revenue increased by 600% year-over-year.

Acquisition is a year-round investment

Our Thanksgiving appeal resulted in:

34

days to break-even point

1,825

new and reactivated donors

$93,018

raised through breakeven date

“We are so appreciative of our partnership with RKD Group. Their strategic efforts toward acquisition have brought a much-needed influx of new donors. They even proved that acquisition can be net-positive!”

Lisa Notaro, Chief Development and Communications Officer, St. Mary’s Food Bank

"

THE CHALLENGE

Acquisition is an uphill climb

Like many other nonprofit organizations prior to the pandemic, St. Mary’s Food Bank was seeing acquisition get harder each year. Once COVID-19 hit the U.S., the food bank saw a record-breaking influx of donors who were looking for ways to support their community. Because they acquired so many donors in the spring, they were concerned that the fall would be another soft season for acquisition.

THE SOLUTION

Optimizing their Thanksgiving appeal

RKD recommended that the food bank continue to lean in on their acquisition efforts in the fall. We worked together to update their annual Thanksgiving appeal, adding pandemic language into the intro that explained the increased need this holiday season due to COVID-19. The P.S. was shifted to highlight their offer: $1 = 7 meals. To supplement this, St. Mary’s also ramped up their paid media efforts to build brand awareness throughout the community.

breakthrough

Breaking even in record time

The appeal was an instant success, breaking even 34 days after the first gift, which is unheard of for acquisition. Within six weeks of sending the appeal, new and reactivated donor counts reached 1,825. The appeal raised $93,018 and counting through the breakeven date.

The appeal was an instant success, breaking even 34 days after the first gift, which is unheard of for acquisition. Within six weeks of sending the appeal, new and reactivated donor counts reached 1,825. The appeal raised $93,018 and counting through the breakeven date.

Major donor model reveals key prospect

THE CHALLENGE

Finding donors with the potential for major giving

In the midst of a capital campaign, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay needed a way to expand their pool of major donors. They came to RKD Group for help identifying prospects with the potential for large gifts within their current donor pool.

THE SOLUTION

Using the major donor model

RKD Group used the major donor model to identify key targets from their file. Using historical data and machine learning, we were able to predict which of their donors were more likely to give major gifts. After running the analysis, we shared a list of donors that the Humane Society of Tampa Bay should add to their stewardship file for their capital campaign.

breakthrough

Developing major relationships

The major donor model identified a couple that had previously given a single gift of $60 at an event in 2017. After adding them to the capital campaign mailing, the couple came back with a gift of $50,000! The Humane Society of Tampa Bay continued to develop their relationship with the couple, seating them with other major donors at events and engaging with them throughout the year. In 2020, they made their second major gift of $19,000.

The major donor model identified a couple that had previously given a single gift of $60 at an event in 2017. After adding them to the capital campaign mailing, the couple came back with a gift of $50,000! The Humane Society of Tampa Bay continued to develop their relationship with the couple, seating them with other major donors at events and engaging with them throughout the year. In 2020, they made their second major gift of $19,000.

Reinvesting in acquisition pays off

By reinvesting in their acquisition strategy, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay saw:

18.7%

rise in overall revenue

21.7%

lift in active donors

37.9%

increase in new donors

THE CHALLENGE

Cutting acquisition efforts

In 2017, part of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s budget for acquisition was reallocated to other areas of the organization. Because of this, their active donor numbers and overall revenue began a multiyear decline. Two years later, they were looking for a way to turn this decline around.

THE SOLUTION

Reinvesting in an acquisition program

In 2019, RKD Group helped the Humane Society of Tampa Bay begin reinvesting in their direct mail acquisition strategy. An emphasis was put on targeting high-value donors who would stick around and support their organization for years to come.

breakthrough

Program-wide increases

Cuts to acquisition can take years to come back from, however the move to reinvest in their acquisition efforts paid off in more ways than one. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay saw an 18.7% rise in overall revenue. Their active donor file increased by 21.7%, and their new donor numbers rose by 37.9%. Like we always say – acquiring better donors leads to higher retention, and this case was no different. Overall retention numbers for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay increased by 6.4%.

Cuts to acquisition can take years to come back from, however the move to reinvest in their acquisition efforts paid off in more ways than one. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay saw an 18.7% rise in overall revenue. Their active donor file increased by 21.7%, and their new donor numbers rose by 37.9%. Like we always say – acquiring better donors leads to higher retention, and this case was no different. Overall retention numbers for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay increased by 6.4%.

Multichannel strategy shift results in all-time revenue highs

RKD’s multichannel strategy adjustments resulted in:

$12.8

million in net revenue

6%

increase in direct mail revenue

16%

increase in digital revenue

7%

lift in renewal rates

219

planned giving leads identified

“Our partnership with RKD Group has been critical, and we are thankful for their expertise in campaign development, audience targeting, media planning and placement.”

Jane McGrath, Senior Manager, Digital Giving

"

THE CHALLENGE

Budget cuts

American Bible Society had to make the difficult decision to scale back their budget. The budget cut coincided with the pandemic, creating an even more challenging Q3 and Q4. Despite the reduction, RKD and American Bible Society were still looking to meet their revenue goals for the year to help support their mission.

THE SOLUTION

Adjusting our multichannel strategy

RKD worked with American Bible Society to adjust their strategy across channels. For their digital program, we utilized engager targeting and personalization to better reach donors. For their direct mail program, we added special editions to their “Good News Newsletter,” including a Troops-focused edition and an Emergency COVID-focused edition. We also added triple-match offers to multiple appeals and tested a new package in one of their February slots. Finally, we shifted some of their remaining budget into acquisition to bring in new direct response donors.

breakthrough

Exceeding revenue goals

Our adjustments helped American Bible Society reach and exceed their revenue goals despite budget cuts! Net revenue totaled $12.8 million, a 15.21% increase over FY19 and an all-time high for the Community Giving Direct Response program. Direct mail raised $1.8 million more than the previous year, and digital raised $262,000 more. Their renewal rate increased by 7% year over year, renewing 6,500 more donors than in FY19. This increase in retention drove $630,000 in additional gross revenue. The Community Giving Direct Response program also generated 219 planned giving leads, with a potential value of $2.59 million.

Our adjustments helped American Bible Society reach and exceed their revenue goals despite budget cuts! Net revenue totaled $12.8 million, a 15.21% increase over FY19 and an all-time high for the Community Giving Direct Response program. Direct mail raised $1.8 million more than the previous year, and digital raised $262,000 more. Their renewal rate increased by 7% year over year, renewing 6,500 more donors than in FY19. This increase in retention drove $630,000 in additional gross revenue. The Community Giving Direct Response program also generated 219 planned giving leads, with a potential value of $2.59 million.

Virtual event engages major donors and expands reach

THE CHALLENGE

Cancellation of in-person events due to the pandemic

Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, City Rescue Mission was unable to host one of their annual fundraising events in person. Events are a major source of their revenue and the primary way they connect with major donors. They needed to find a solution that protected the health of their donors, provided an engaging and connected experience, honored their sponsorship contracts, made their board members proud and ultimately raised revenue to support their mission during a critical period.

THE SOLUTION

Shifting to a virtual event

City Rescue Mission formed a collaborative team with RKD Group and a local production company to develop an engaging virtual event. We worked together to create a top-notch virtual experience that paired engaging speakers and entertainment with sponsor shout-outs and fundraising asks.

To make this virtual event feel personal, City Rescue Mission was intentional about their attendee experience. Attendees received an event-experience box delivered to their home, with a program, pledge card and other mission-branded swag, and had the option to pick up meal kits to serve the night of the event. The 29 volunteers who would have hosted tables at the in-person event instead hosted watch parties for 10 of their friends.

The sponsors received even more engagement than they would have at an in-person event. They were featured in the programs and invitations, on the website, and had special call-outs within the event itself.

breakthrough

Matching revenue raised in years past

Yielding an ROI of 6 to 1, City Rescue Mission’s virtual event was a huge success! Raising just as much as in years past, the organization was able to successfully pull off an event that kept their major donors engaged while also acquiring new ones! A CEO of a major local company, who is a long-time corporate supporter, was invited to a watch party and ended up giving his first personal gift of $10,000.

Because of the strategic planning and programming, their sponsors received increased visibility, with views coming in weeks after the event ended. With more than 744 unique views, dozens of watch parties, and countless people tuning in to the same screen, City Rescue Mission was able to reach more than double the amount of people, across a wider geographic area, than their traditional in-person event would have.

Yielding an ROI of 6 to 1, City Rescue Mission’s virtual event was a huge success! Raising just as much as in years past, the organization was able to successfully pull off an event that kept their major donors engaged while also acquiring new ones! A CEO of a major local company, who is a long-time corporate supporter, was invited to a watch party and ended up giving his first personal gift of $10,000.

Because of the strategic planning and programming, their sponsors received increased visibility, with views coming in weeks after the event ended. With more than 744 unique views, dozens of watch parties, and countless people tuning in to the same screen, City Rescue Mission was able to reach more than double the amount of people, across a wider geographic area, than their traditional in-person event would have.

Digital disaster campaign meets match within 72 hours

RKD’s digital disaster campaign resulted in:

$23,941

in revenue from emails and lightbox

Match met

within 3 days of campaign launch

2x

higher email open rate

THE CHALLENGE

Derecho storm devastates community

In mid-August, a strong derecho storm devastated the communities across East Central Iowa. HACAP immediately responded, working nonstop to help those in need get food and emergency supplies as well as begin the path to recovery. They came to RKD to help create a quick digital campaign for disaster fundraising efforts.

THE SOLUTION

Simple, direct digital campaign

After a local company offered a $25,000 match, the RKD digital team quickly came up with a campaign to get the message out. We leaned on our experience with disaster response to create a simple but direct campaign that featured two emails and a lightbox on their homepage. The lightbox was launched, and the first email was sent out on a Friday, with a resend scheduled for the following Monday.

breakthrough

Match met in 3 days

This campaign helped meet the $25,000 match within three days! Fundraising from the emails and lightbox totaled more than $23,941, and offline gifts helped get HACAP the rest of the way there. The two emails had a 30% and 17% open rate respectively, double what their traditional open rates are during normal giving seasons.

This campaign helped meet the $25,000 match within three days! Fundraising from the emails and lightbox totaled more than $23,941, and offline gifts helped get HACAP the rest of the way there. The two emails had a 30% and 17% open rate respectively, double what their traditional open rates are during normal giving seasons.

Food bank raises revenue for pet pantry

RKD’s Pet Pantry-focused direct mail follow-up appeal resulted in:

$198,563

gross revenue raised

$87.98

average gift size

2,257

gifts dedicated to pet owners

THE CHALLENGE

Raising Donations for their Pet Pantry

In partnership with the Animal Relief Fund, Long Island Cares food bank created a pet pantry at their facility called Baxter’s Pet Pantry. In many cases, families in need of food assistance who also own pets are forced to put their pets up for adoption due to the added expenses of pet food, supplies and other services. The pantry makes free pet food and pet supplies available to pet-owning families in need. Families’ needs escalated even further during the pandemic. Long Island Cares wanted to raise funds from their current food bank donors specifically for their pet pantry.

THE SOLUTION

A Direct Mail Appeal Targeted at 2 Audiences

For the second year, RKD Group worked with the food bank to develop a direct mail appeal targeted at their food bank donors as well as those on their pet owner acquisition list. The messaging was a follow-up to last year’s appeal, explaining the unique ask and calling on the animal lovers’ emotions during this challenging time.

breakthrough

Food Bank Donors Turned Animal Lovers

Once again, the support from donors was huge, and the revenue from the follow-up mailing was three times the amount from the year before. Even though the appeal was sent to food bank donors, 2,257 gifts poured in to support pets in need. The average gift amount was $87.98 and was as high as most of their donor appeals. Gross revenue totaled $198,563.

Once again, the support from donors was huge, and the revenue from the follow-up mailing was three times the amount from the year before. Even though the appeal was sent to food bank donors, 2,257 gifts poured in to support pets in need. The average gift amount was $87.98 and was as high as most of their donor appeals. Gross revenue totaled $198,563.