Cloud for Good Direct Response Services are designed to empower your direct response campaigns, parse the most effective fundraising strategies relative to targeted segments, and then follow through on your direct mail campaigns. As an extension of your fundraising team, Cloud for Good’s Direct Response Services staff provides your fundraising program protection from momentary setbacks, like attrition or absences within your team. When your organization’s most critical fundraising facilitator is weakened or operating at less-than-optimal efficiency, Cloud for Good Direct Response Services are available to strengthen your efforts.
What Does Direct Response Consist Of?
Direct response is comprised of four distinct, yet interconnected, components: ETL support, campaign execution, data augmentation, and data visualization.
ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) support refers to moving data from one location to another as the basis of an integrated service. Since many organizations running direct response campaigns deal with large amounts of data, there is a high likelihood that data is being stored outside an organization’s CRM in a data warehouse, data lake, or operational data store. Cloud for Good supports clients in getting the data from the CRM and into a data warehouse, as well as inserting data back into the CRM. In doing so, organizations will have the right information, in the right place, at the right time for end users.
Next comes the campaign execution, including campaign strategy design, the development of metrics, costs, forecasting, and coding. This is one of the most important aspects of Direct Response Services, as the execution is predicated on segmenting donors who need to be solicited for each unique campaign. These segmentations can become quite complex when factoring in the various types of information gathered on donors, such as location, interests, and propensity to give. Cloud for Good’s Direct Response Services team works to help dissect this data, identify the correct donors, and then assign those donors to the correct campaigns.
Data Augmentation + Data Visualization
How exactly is this donor information being gathered? Through both data augmentation and data visualization. Augmentation uses existing data to produce metrics that help easily identify donors. Complex data aggregation and data processes flag constituents in a particular manner that allows for logic to be created according to specific treatments of specifically-identified donors. Data visualization is then built and maintained using various data visualization environments, like Tableau. From here, ongoing user support is enabled for more advanced data visualization needs as Direct Response provides a one-stop source of truth across all data environments across an organization.
Direct Response Solution Stack
When considering direct response fundraising, it’s important to consider the solution stack necessary for success. First and foremost is the CRM, which helps fundraising teams get a more complete picture of donors. Cloud for Good helps these organizations change the way CRMs are used so that teams get the information they need in a deliberate way. This may mean that not all data will be stored in a CRM. It may not be important for an organization to see the date of every gift, or from what channel it was derived, but organizations must always seek a roll-up of lifetime giving. This is where the data warehouse comes into play to process large amounts of data, calculate complex metrics, and then serve as an enterprise data repository. Cloud for Good then helps connect these solutions together with client-provided integration tools, syncs them up, and provides a platform for automation through regularly-run reports.
Direct Response Services Use Cases
Simply put, Direct Response Services amplify fundraising strategies and we’ve seen organizations raise billions of dollars every year through the practice. The clients we serve span a wide variety of sectors, including health, social services, and international development. We work with some of the largest nonprofits in the world to execute direct response programs, several of which raise billions of dollars as a result of Cloud for Good’s technical campaign execution.
Successful fundraising is a delicate balancing act. You want to make sure you are targeting the right people, at the right time, while using the right method of communication. This may translate to a combination of mail, telemarking, and email campaigns being used. Cloud for Good Direct Response Services typically encompasses both mail and telemarketing services. However, by extending the ETL tool, and integrating digital platforms with data warehouses, it is now possible to create an omnichannel marketing experience. For many of our clients, direct response fundraising means a complex campaign logic to identify the right treatment for each donor – be it channel, ask amount, or what package they get.
When you’re segmenting donors, budgeting can be a major factor. In those cases, the client can make in-flight changes to the mail plan either by limiting the count in a particular segment and moving them into another or removing people altogether that are less likely to respond. Another key component of Direct Response Campaigns is tracking. This may include address updates after a mail house performed a National Change of Address verification or the outcome of a telemarketing outreach, tracking that the donor didn’t answer or the donor seemed engaged. Ultimately this information is pushed back into your data warehouse and stored so we can better identify that donor’s preferred channels and have a better chance of reaching them moving forward.
Another component of direct response campaigns is acknowledgments. Sometimes these acknowledgments are a federal requirement for many of the gifts you receive but, more importantly, they are a great way to steward a donor relationship. Saying “thank you” for donor support shows them that they are making an impact on the mission. That said, most organizations do not have a one-size-fits-all acknowledgment.
Each gift is unique and important to your organization. In the time of cryptocurrency, stocks, tribute gifts, PayPal, etc., you may be looking to thank your donors in different ways. Are you sending these acknowledgments electronically or via traditional mail? In some cases, you may also need to support fair market value if a thank-you gift is associated with the donation. Overall, the ability to customize your acknowledgments helps personalize the “thank you” and recognition of your donors choosing to support your mission.
A service many of our clients utilize is called caging. Clients use caging vendors to manage incoming lockbox mail, and this important service saves clients significant time and resources in gift processing. Caging vendors collect donations on behalf of an organization and are responsible for providing a digital output of those gifts to be uploaded into a CRM. These vendors manage an incoming lockbox and produce a file of all gifts received on the previous day as well as a control file so that the expected number of gifts is validated against the actual number of gifts in the file.
What these vendors won’t do, however, is input those files back into your CRM. That’s where cloud for Good can help. Our Direct Response Services obtain incoming files from the caging vendor, read the file, and then compare the aggregated totals to the control file. Once everything has been validated, the file is uploaded into Salesforce using the batch upload object and processed using that same tool along with the built-in error reconciliation. As an example, we are processing thousands of gifts per day for one of our clients with limited client intervention. This is helping save expenses in gift management, leaving them more time to focus on donor stewardship.
If you’re curious about what Cloud for Good Direct Response Services can do for your organization, contact us at [email protected] today.