Innovator Spotlight: NPWF | npENGAGE

Innovator Spotlight: NPWF

By on Oct 10, 2011 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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The following post is by Andrew Magnuson. Andrew is a Senior Consultant on the Convio Strategy Team, who has been working to help make Convio clients successful for the past seven years. 

I wanted to take a moment to recognize one of the recent winners of Convio’s Innovator Awards – the National Partnership for Women and Families.  Not only are they a great organization with a great campaign success story under their belt, but they are a perfect example of what integrated marketing looks like when done right.

“Integrated marketing” is an ill-defined term that often has many interpretations. It’s a bit like world peace, in that everyone agrees it’s a good thing, but nobody really knows what it looks like. Although any organization might have several different interpretations of what this can be (and indeed there is no single methodology for success), I wanted to point out the specific, replicable things that make this campaign great and that any organization can use despite staff size, budget, or sophistication.

First, a bit of background on the campaign. Betty Dukes was a Wal-Mart employee who in 2000 filed the largest class-action civil rights lawsuit in U.S. history, charging Wal-Mart with discriminating against women in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By last summer the case was in the Supreme Court.

The National Partnership for Women and Families saw a great opportunity to not only show public support for Betty, but to use this high-profile case to promote awareness and support for the Paycheck Fairness Act.  To this end, NPWF kicked off a four-month campaign to do just that.

Here’s where it gets interesting. In addition to sending out advocacy emails, they also used advanced segmentation to identify individuals on their housefile who would be their most likely supporters.  On top of this, they applied passive interest tagging on their donation forms, action alerts, and surveys to “listen” for the folks who were motivated by this issue, then provided those individuals with further, deeper actions they could take.

Next, they offered supporters to submit a personal message of support to Betty, which they promised would be printed, bound, and delivered in person.  This provided supporters with an easy, tangible means of making an impact, which further strengthens their relationship with the organization and providing an even deeper connection with this issue.

In addition to rallies held at the capital, they provided other ways for Non-D.C. residents to participate.  They created a Facebook fan page and solicited rally banner slogans.  They offered pins with the “Right Over Might” slogan for people to purchase and wear.

Finally, they taped the emotional delivery of the book of messages of support, and turned it into a YouTube video that was sent to supporters so that they could see the direct impact of their contribution (in a terrifically savvy maneuver, the video was posted above a donation form before being distributed to supporters).  All of this was done within a context of heavy social media use, which helped to keep supporters up to date and “in the fight” for the duration of the campaign.

Pretty nice, right?  Now for the takeways – here are the things we learned about what we can all do to make our campaigns more effective:

  • Find a narrative, and stick with it.  This is pretty cliché advice by now, but it’s pretty easy to fire off a one-off email appeal or action alert, then never follow up with supporters to keep them in the loop about the progress and impact they’re enabling.  This can take discipline in a fast-paced multi-narrative world, but the pay off from supporters can be substantial in the form of retention rates.
  • Leverage your data set.  Using Convio’s Interest group functionality, they were able to do smarter, more effective segmentation, thus working smarter (not harder) to find the target audience for whom this campaign would have the greatest relevance.  Do you have any past campaigns you could apply an interest to in order to yield a better target audience for an upcoming campaign with a similar interest or affinity?  I’m willing to bet you do.
  • Create a tangible connection between your constituents and The Goal.  By printing and binding a book with the messages of support for Betty, NPWF wasn’t just doing something nice for their champion – they were creating a positive feedback loop with their supporters by allowing them a visible, tangible connection with the individual they were working to support.
  • Invite feedback.  Soliciting rally slogans, in addition to soliciting messages of support, was an incredibly deft maneuver.  Not only did it allow a free, fun, and engaging way to leverage the enthusiasm of their supporter base, but it allowed the supporters to “put skin in the game” by participating without needing to live near where the rallies were taking place.
  • Extend your megaphone.  Although NPWF was using social media heavily, they realized the they didn’t exactly have the biggest social media footprint.  However, because they included social sharing tools on every page where any kind of action was promoted, they were able to “extend their megaphone” by leveraging the enthusiasm of their action-takers.  This meant they were able to get their message out to a significantly larger group of people.

Overall, this was a deftly managed campaign, and well worthy of Best Online Campaign Innovator Award. And lucky for us, it also demonstrates tactics we can all use and learn from, even if the way they are used will certainly differ between our varying organizations and causes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

From time to time, a guest blogger will appear on npENGAGE. Guest bloggers are industry experts contributing useful, relevant content to the conversation on npENGAGE. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, contact the editor.

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