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Data-driven Direct Mail for Nonprofits Featured

Data-driven Direct Mail for Nonprofits Brett Jordan

Navigating a global pandemic wasn't in anyone's 2020 marketing plan. Business hasn't been proceeding 'as usual,' particularly for nonprofit organizations. It’s been a struggle to find the right balance within a marketing mix, especially when budgets are shrinking. Nonprofits that are having success are those creating personalized connections with the communities they serve and the donors they rely on. Leveraging data for creative and effective engagement is the key to their success.

We're all spending a lot more time online. The result is that our audiences are suffering through a lot of digital noise. Making a meaningful connection is harder today than ever before.

Recently, PFL published a report revealing multichannel campaigns that include direct mail have an 18% higher return on investment than those without direct mail. An overwhelming 84 percent of respondents indicated direct mail improves multichannel campaign performance. A multichannel approach is a must! But, many nonprofits still view, and operate, without combining digital and physical channels. 

Tactile Marketing Automation (TMA) delivers direct mail as part of a marketing campaign by orchestrating the delivery of tangible assets with an organization’s digital marketing efforts. TMA provides an opportunity unlike any other for nonprofits, especially those who have recently invested in CRM or Marketing Automation Platforms. Automating direct mail creates timely connections with donors, and less work for a nonprofit’s communications team. But, how should they go about implementing TMA into their marketing efforts?

Using versatile channels

Nonprofits need to prioritize the most effective marketing channel, direct mail, to create engaging campaigns for their audience. The best way to showcase a nonprofit’s mission is to tell stories, and the best way to tell stories is to create a connection with the audience. When nonprofits incorporate direct mail in their storytelling, it allows them to harness the moment of undivided attention the medium creates and maximize impact. TMA provides the connection nonprofits are looking for to cut through the digital noise keeping current and potential donors distracted today.

With physical experiences, nonprofits can connect with stakeholders on a more personal level — especially when face-to-face interactions can't happen this year. A transactional activity, like sending donation receipts and awareness collateral, can be made more effective thanks to the versatility of the channel allowing for more creativity. For example, nonprofits can send more immersive, “VIP” direct mail experiences. A kit can be created to help donors see their gift in action, include relevant information about a nonprofit and encourage donations or simply thank people for their contributions.

Increasing personalization

Personalization is key for nonprofit marketers as it encourages donations and increases mission awareness. Many nonprofits who insist they’re utilizing personalization best practices aren’t. Changing the first name on a piece of collateral isn’t personalization — not with the technology solutions available today.

By combining direct mail with a CRM/donor database, nonprofit direct mail campaigns instantly become more personalized. Tactile Marketing Automation leverages the CRM data and digital intent signals of donors to inform the content and timing of direct mail pieces. Leverage data representing how much donors have previously given, the result of their donation, event attendance, and website engagement history to build messaging that creates a more powerful, experience-driven touchpoint.

Deploying trigger-driven campaigns

Personalization isn’t just limited to the actual marketing collateral. Timing is critical when trying to garner donations. Many nonprofit marketing teams formulate big year-end or once-a-year plans to make a big splash within a short period of time. But, what if a donor isn’t ready to give at that exact moment? What if teams understood when a donor wants to give and provide that opportunity at the right time. Because, with giving, timing is everything.

When incorporating TMA and direct mail into multichannel campaigns, marketers don’t have to be limited or confined to a specific timeframe. Timing is personalized by using intent data and triggered direct mail initiatives. For example, if a potential donor has engaged with an email, or visited the nonprofit’s website, but not donated within three days, a piece of direct mail can be triggered and sent in order to re-target that one specific individual.

Open Doors USA has seen success when incorporating TMA into triggered re-targeting campaigns.

“One of our most successful direct mail use cases has been the implementation within our monthly donor retention journey,” said Zack Keahey, director of digital marketing for Open Doors USA. “We use a variety of emails and phone calls along with programmatic direct mail pieces to notify our monthly donors when their credit card has expired. We’ve seen amazing results with monthly donors updating their card on file resulting in increased donor retention.”

Tactile marketing automation allows nonprofit marketers to break through the digital clutter everyone’s experiencing now. Stakeholders can be easily engaged within campaigns because of the versatility, personalization-driven strategy and intent-focused tactics direct mail offers. Nonprofits can and need to harness those advantageous capabilities to garner donations and increase mission awareness — the goal of every nonprofit marketing team. Every nonprofit should incorporate tactile marketing automation into its marketing mix.  

Nick Runyon is an accomplished executive with experience developing and implementing marketing strategies that drive fast and scalable growth. As CMO of PFL, he helps marketers achieve unmatched results through direct mail orchestrated with digital marketing and sales.

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