Aggressive testing approach sees big lifts in net revenue

RKD’s aggressive testing methods resulted in:

33

winning tests in FY21

12

tests generated more than a 20% lift in net revenue

7

tests generated more than a 40% lift in net revenue

3

generated more than a 94% lift in net revenue

THE CHALLENGE

Optimizing their direct mail program for the future

After having tested into an almost entirely new lineup of control packages over the course of two years, Los Angeles Mission was looking for ways to build upon their past success and continue to optimize their direct mail program for the future.

THE SOLUTION

Aggressive testing strategy

Our creative team worked with Los Angeles Mission to apply learnings from past creative breakthroughs. We wove in principles and techniques derived from our experience with other campaigns and clients. Additionally, we tested lists, models, OE stamps and much more to find areas for further optimizations.

breakthrough

33 winning tests

Our testing and optimization strategies saw big results. In FY21 we had 33 winning tests. 12 of those tests generated more than a 20% lift in net revenue. 7 tests generated more than a 40% lift in net revenue. And 3 of those tests generated an impressive 94% lift in net revenue. But our work isn’t done – over the next year, we’ll apply these learnings and maintain an aggressive testing strategy for creative, lists, models and more.

Our testing and optimization strategies saw big results. In FY21 we had 33 winning tests. 12 of those tests generated more than a 20% lift in net revenue. 7 tests generated more than a 40% lift in net revenue. And 3 of those tests generated an impressive 94% lift in net revenue. But our work isn’t done – over the next year, we’ll apply these learnings and maintain an aggressive testing strategy for creative, lists, models and more.

Dynamic omnichannel strategy results in program turnaround

Our strategic omnichannel plan resulted in:

115%

lift in new and reactivated donors

44%

increase in average gift size

6,500

new donors

“RKD Group has over-delivered on every level. The team brought new strategy, hit every drop-date, and beat every projection. And not only did they make it easy, they made it fun.”

Mike Deckon, Director of Marketing, Portland Rescue Mission

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THE CHALLENGE

Stale strategy

When Portland Rescue Mission came to RKD, they were suffering from a host of challenges, including a stale strategy, lack of a strong digital plan, and poor-quality execution of print campaigns. This caused a dramatic decrease in new donors, shrinking their overall donor file. In addition, net revenue had been in decline for several years. They needed an immediate shift in direction to turn this decline around.

THE SOLUTION

Dynamic omnichannel strategy

RKD crafted a new dynamic, omnichannel strategy that implemented relevant and urgent messages, CTAs and engagement opportunities across digital media and direct mail. We focused on targeting and re-targeting the right audiences to build brand awareness and ultimately increase their donor file. We also ensured they were getting 100% accuracy in mail dates so there were no missed opportunities to reach donors.

breakthrough

Complete program turnaround

The omnichannel approach, leveraging COVID-19 generosity and solid best practices, resulted in a 115% lift in new and reactivated donors and a 44% increase in average gift size over the previous year. With more than 6,500 new supporters, Portland Rescue Mission is back on track!

The omnichannel approach, leveraging COVID-19 generosity and solid best practices, resulted in a 115% lift in new and reactivated donors and a 44% increase in average gift size over the previous year. With more than 6,500 new supporters, Portland Rescue Mission is back on track!

Using a multi-buyer strategy to acquire new donors

Our multi-buyer strategy resulted in:

337%

YOY lift in new donors

49%

giving second gift within 6 months

62%

of new donors being acquired online

THE CHALLENGE

Meeting the rising need in their community

Like many other food banks during the pandemic, Weld Food Bank needed a way to acquire new donors so they could meet the rising need in their community. They came to RKD Group for help developing a strategy they could add on to their already planned appeals for March and June 2020.

THE SOLUTION

Adding a multi-buyer strategy

In an effort to reach some of the most philanthropic prospects in the organization’s community, we added a multi-buyer strategy into the mix. This focused on high-value donors who appeared on multiple acquisition lists and have shown a strong history of philanthropic support. Second drops were added to each prospect mailing, and the volume was increased to mail more available multi-buyers so that the food bank could acquire more donors and meet the need caused by the pandemic.

breakthrough

Welcoming newly acquired donors to the cause

This one-county food bank acquired 1,293 new donors between March and August, a 337% lift over the same time frame in the previous fiscal year. Most importantly, 49% of newly acquired donors made a second gift to the food bank within a six-month timeframe.

This one-county food bank acquired 1,293 new donors between March and August, a 337% lift over the same time frame in the previous fiscal year. Most importantly, 49% of newly acquired donors made a second gift to the food bank within a six-month timeframe.

Anniversary appeal retains COVID donors

RKD’s One-Year Anniversary package resulted in:

13.2%

response rate

$198.71

average gift

“I was intrigued when my RKD team discussed a COVID-19 One-Year Anniversary piece. I thought it could resonate with our donors and share how their support really got us through the darkest days but kept my expectations low because of donor and COVID fatigue. I was blown away by the results of this campaign and grateful for the guidance and support from my amazing RKD team.”

Marijo Martinec, CEO

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THE CHALLENGE

Retaining COVID donors

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Food Bank of Northern Indiana welcomed an influx of new, reactivating and upgrading donors. The food bank was looking for a way to retain these new donors and thank them for stepping up in the midst of a pandemic.

THE SOLUTION

Creating an anniversary appeal

A year after the start of the pandemic, we decided to send an anniversary appeal that focused on the good that donors had made happen in such a devastating year. The piece included a letter from the CEO and an impact report that shared high-level stats since the pandemic hit and individual stories of the people their donations had helped. The package was sent to their 0-24 month $10+ audience, including all new COVID donors.

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Sharing impact drives response rate

The anniversary package appealed to donors’ emotions, resulting in an overall response rate of 13.2%. With a high average gift of $198.71, this package brought in approximately three times what any other appeal had historically brought in during that time.

The anniversary package appealed to donors’ emotions, resulting in an overall response rate of 13.2%. With a high average gift of $198.71, this package brought in approximately three times what any other appeal had historically brought in during that time.

New website prioritizes user experience to drive engagement and giving

A new website delivered:

258.2%

increase in conversion rate

179.9%

lift in mobile revenue

65.5%

increase in overall revenue

“Our new website is a huge improvement in user experience, making it easy for those who want to get involved to find ways to connect. RKD’s work has played an enormous role in deepening donor connections and helping our ministry shine as a light of hope in our city.”

 

Barb Vanderburgh, Vice President of Advancement, Milwaukee Rescue Mission

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THE CHALLENGE

Outdated website needed a refresh

Milwaukee Rescue Mission had an outdated website that needed an update ahead of the crucial holiday fundraising season. They knew they needed a partner who could leverage creativity and collaboration with best practices and new insights. Their website needed to serve multiple audiences. Website visitors could be wanting to help with a donation or to volunteer. And some visitors could be needing help, recovery, education or a night’s shelter. With such a short time frame, we knew there wasn’t room for errors or adjustments.

THE SOLUTION

A focus on user experience and storytelling

We know that success is measured in fundraising revenue, so RKD worked with the mission to build a website that has both a fundraising focus and reflects the true authenticity of the organization’s brand. We prioritized SEO, user experience and mobile responsiveness, providing donors with clear calls to action that drive donations. In addition, we added functionality to support a newsletters page, a brand-new blog and form integration with their email marketing tool.

Throughout it all we weaved in their story, which is crucial to who they are as an organization. This elevated level of storytelling gave visitors a true look at the impact the mission has on the individuals they serve every day.

Most importantly, we ensured that the Milwaukee Rescue Mission team had the knowledge and tools they needed to maintain their website in-house once our work was done. Our team provided their staff with extensive training and support on the platform and all the ins and outs of their new website.

breakthrough

Driving conversion

Milwaukee Rescue Mission’s new website not only gave them the new look and feel they were needing, but it also increased donation conversion rate by 258.2%. By prioritizing mobile responsive pages and overall user experience, the mission saw a 179.9% lift in mobile revenue and a 65.6% increase in overall revenue.

Milwaukee Rescue Mission’s new website not only gave them the new look and feel they were needing, but it also increased donation conversion rate by 258.2%. By prioritizing mobile responsive pages and overall user experience, the mission saw a 179.9% lift in mobile revenue and a 65.6% increase in overall revenue.

Audience targeting, innovative content promote lead generation

RKD’s digital media strategy resulted in:

$1.86

overall cost per acquisition

35,000+

leads generated

THE CHALLENGE

Expanding lead generation efforts

Prior to partnering with RKD Group, Save the Children ran a digital lead generation program that was used to fuel donor and sponsor acquisition. They came to RKD with the request to help them develop a new media campaign so they could boost email address lead generation even further, increasing file engagement and revenue raised.

THE SOLUTION

Using quizzes to generate leads

RKD developed a creative campaign that engaged prospects and aligned with Save the Children’s mission. The media-driven campaign centered around three short quizzes based on key programs and initiatives – child trafficking, child safety and USA statistics. We then used three different targeted Facebook Ads that drove potential leads to the quizzes. In order to receive their results, prospects had to provide their email address to Save the Children. We also tested match incentive messaging within the Facebook Ad copy to create urgency.

breakthrough

Reduction in CPA

RKD’s campaign and media placement strategy was a quick success, with the overall average cost per acquisition coming in at $1.86! So far, the lead generation campaign has brought in more than 35,000 email addresses to Save the Children’s file.

RKD’s campaign and media placement strategy was a quick success, with the overall average cost per acquisition coming in at $1.86! So far, the lead generation campaign has brought in more than 35,000 email addresses to Save the Children’s file.

Virtual event promotes engagement, lifts revenue

This engaging virtual experience resulted in:

$204,000

in revenue raised

188

screens engaged throughout event

93

min average viewing time

THE CHALLENGE

Switching to virtual during a pandemic

Due to COVID-19’s continued impact on in-person events across the country, the Cleveland Animal Protective League had to make the difficult decision to take its annual Fur Ball virtual. Because this channel was completely new to them, they asked RKD Group for assistance in planning an engaging event that also promoted fundraising.

THE SOLUTION

Developing an experience that appeals to donors

We worked with Cleveland Animal Protective League to develop an engaging event that would help them raise revenue. Because auctions were a large source of event funds, we helped them convert their in-person auctions to online and developed communication materials so that attendees knew how to access the auction portion of the event.

In addition to researching the platform options and helping them create a social experience online, we wanted to bring the event experience into the donors’ homes. We worked together to develop party boxes to lift engagement and excitement surrounding the event. Boxes were delivered to the donors’ homes by local volunteers, and included bandanas, branded swag and even a drink recipe to enjoy during the fundraiser.

breakthrough

Engaged donors and expanded reach

The virtual experience left such an impression on the Cleveland Animal Protective League that they said they’d never host an event without a virtual component again – and it’s easy to see why!

Raising more than $204,000, the Cleveland Animal Protection League was able to deliver an event that allowed their loyal supporters to continue to engage with their favorite cause and socialize at the same time. The run of show was so engaging that 188 screens were actively engaged throughout the event, with the average viewing time totaling 93 minutes. During the event, attendees were extremely chatty! The stage chat feature was popular, with 46 chat messages posted. 131 votes were cast in the pre-event polls that appeared onscreen. More than 250 messages were exchanged between participants during the event. And on the audience expansion front, because the event was virtual, the organization was able to reach donors who didn’t really care to attend large and crowded in-person events.

The virtual experience left such an impression on the Cleveland Animal Protective League that they said they’d never host an event without a virtual component again – and it’s easy to see why!

Raising more than $204,000, the Cleveland Animal Protection League was able to deliver an event that allowed their loyal supporters to continue to engage with their favorite cause and socialize at the same time. The run of show was so engaging that 188 screens were actively engaged throughout the event, with the average viewing time totaling 93 minutes. During the event, attendees were extremely chatty! The stage chat feature was popular, with 46 chat messages posted. 131 votes were cast in the pre-event polls that appeared onscreen. More than 250 messages were exchanged between participants during the event. And on the audience expansion front, because the event was virtual, the organization was able to reach donors who didn’t really care to attend large and crowded in-person events.

Forming deeper connections with thank-you calls, handwritten notes

Through RKD Connect, City Rescue Mission was able to reach:

6,833

donors through connected calls

3,371

donors through handwritten cards

THE CHALLENGE

Thanking and stewarding donors at scale

Like many human service organizations, City Rescue Mission saw a large influx of gifts from new and reactivated donors in the fall of 2020. They needed to find a way to thank these donors and invite them into the organization without taxing existing staff resources.

THE SOLUTION

Thank-you calls and handwritten notes through RKD Connect

RKD Connect is a solution that allows our partners to outsource thank-you calls and handwritten cards to ensure that every donor feels welcomed, thanked and affirmed. Beginning in November, City Rescue Mission began utilizing RKD Connect to conduct weekly thank you call campaigns to cultivation responders, new and reactivated donors who gave gifts under $250.

In addition, we set aside budget for handwritten thank-you cards from CEO Erin Goodin to be sent to all new donors. Also, handwritten thank-you notes were sent to any new, reactivated or current donors who gave between $100-250 and did not receive a call connection.

breakthrough

Thanking donors in a meaningful way

The positive response was immediate! With more than 6,800 connected calls and 3,300 handwritten cards, donors received a warm welcome into the organization. RKD Connect callers were trained on how to act like staff and volunteers, engage with donors and even pray with them. Thanks to this solution, City Rescue Mission staff was freed up to focus more on engagement with major donors. Key donors identified through this process were also noted as opportunities for staff to follow up with down the road.

One donor even sent back a handwritten note of her own, saying, “It was so refreshing & heartwarming to get a ‘real’ thank you note from the CEO of a nonprofit! Normally I receive another request for more money. I know people in our city NEED so much right now. I can’t give much, but I want to add to my donation. Peace be with you.”

The positive response was immediate! With more than 6,800 connected calls and 3,300 handwritten cards, donors received a warm welcome into the organization. RKD Connect callers were trained on how to act like staff and volunteers, engage with donors and even pray with them. Thanks to this solution, City Rescue Mission staff was freed up to focus more on engagement with major donors. Key donors identified through this process were also noted as opportunities for staff to follow up with down the road.

One donor even sent back a handwritten note of her own, saying, “It was so refreshing & heartwarming to get a ‘real’ thank you note from the CEO of a nonprofit! Normally I receive another request for more money. I know people in our city NEED so much right now. I can’t give much, but I want to add to my donation. Peace be with you.”

Major donor model lifts revenue in just three months

After three months of using RKD’s major donor model, Atlanta Humane Society saw:

57

donors upgrade to Guardians Circle

10%

increase in revenue YOY

81%

of the $500+ donors increase their YOY gifts

THE CHALLENGE

Growing major donor society

When the Atlanta Humane Society partnered with RKD Group, they were looking for a way to grow their Guardians Circle, a society of major donors who give $1,000 or more each year in support of the various programs the organization offers.

THE SOLUTION

Using the major donor model

Working together, we adapted our major donor model to fit their needs by profiling their donors and identifying 5,000 mid-level donors who were most likely to upgrade to $1,000 or more. From there, we segmented the list up into deciles, ranking their likelihood to give from highest to lowest.

Once these donors were categorized, Atlanta Humane Society began to upgrade messaging and strategically communicate with this special group through targeted wellness calls, emails, virtual event invites, direct mail packages and acknowledgement postcards.

postcard featuring puppy

breakthrough

Hard work pays off

After just three months of using the major donor model, their hard work quickly paid off with a 10% increase in revenue year over year! Thanks to the targeted messaging and strategic communications, Atlanta Humane Society saw 57 donors upgrade to their Guardians Circle. In addition, 81% of the $500+ donors they communicated with increased their YOY gifts.

After just three months of using the major donor model, their hard work quickly paid off with a 10% increase in revenue year over year! Thanks to the targeted messaging and strategic communications, Atlanta Humane Society saw 57 donors upgrade to their Guardians Circle. In addition, 81% of the $500+ donors they communicated with increased their YOY gifts.

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.