Volunteers of America: Getting Results | npENGAGE

Volunteers of America: Getting Results

By on May 27, 2011

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Guest blog alert: Donna from Charity Dynamics (a Convio Solution Provider) is sharing an real-life example of how integrated marketing and fundraising helped a nonprofit increase online revenue by more than 100%. Wow! If ever there was a doubt in your mind about the multichannel approach, this will dispel it. Thanks Donna for contributing this excellent example of multichannel success!

A couple of weeks ago I shared some insights on integrating online and offline fundraising channels for strong results. While that’s all well and good, there’s nothing like seeing an organization put these tips into practice and learning from their example.

In 2009 Volunteers of America looked to get more out of their online fundraising program by tapping into the power of integrated online and offline fundraising.  As a result, online revenue originating from direct mail integration increased from 12% to 28% from 2009 to 2010!

How’d they do it?

  • Strategic Plan: Charity Dynamics worked with Volunteers of America to create an online strategic plan inclusive of engagement and fundraising campaigns, benchmarks and online fundraising goals for twelve months. Key issues of integration included:
  • Keep a consistent message in front of donors. In online and offline messaging we presented similar design elements, including images, colors and stories. (Check out the graphic, that’s an example of an email we sent as part of an integrated campaign.)
  • Introduce online landing pages in the direct mail pieces to encourage donations be made through an additional channel.
  • Provide shorter, more direct asks in online appeals.
  • Varying online appeal messaging to either notify donors of an impending arrival (“you’ll soon be receiving”) or as a follow up (“you recently received”) of a direct mail piece.
  • Online Fundraising Calendar: Volunteers of America’s online fundraising campaign closely reflected the annual direct mail plan. Though not all campaigns were replicated online, major testing was replicated.
  • Opportunistic: Despite the prescriptive nature of the online fundraising calendar, Volunteers of America adjusted the appeals calendar in response to natural events that captured local and national news coverage.
  • Segmentation & Testing: With assistance from Charity Dynamics, Volunteers of America is increasingly utilizing list segmentation and testing to improve response rates across campaigns. Testing considerations include subject line, message content, and text versus graphic links.  The opportunity to text-to-give has been introduced to supporters of $10 or less to test the introduction of an additional channel. The initial test doubled the number of text gifts to the organization. Local messaging has been introduced to test impact on number of gifts and gift size.

What were the results?

  • Online revenue from 2009 to 2010 increased 148%
  • Year-end online revenue, the most active in terms of number of gifts and revenue, increased 146% from 2009 to 2010
  • Online revenue resulting from direct mail integration as the source increased from 12% to 28% from 2009 to 2011.

See more of our work with Volunteers of America.

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