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A Deeper Dive into Donor Advised Fund Marketing

December 11

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One of the biggest challenges we face as an industry is the consolidation of billions of philanthropic dollars into Donor Advised Funds. This has been heightened by the 2018 tax reform. For instance, have you ever used a deadline on your Donor Advised Fund marketing for your year-end campaign? I certainly hadn’t. After all, the purpose of Donor Advised Funds is to give donors the flexibility to receive their tax refund immediately, and then take their time deciding how to grant the money. That last aspect creates a problem for us as fundraisers: how to instill a sense of urgency with the donor concerning year-end giving, now that the donor’s year-end tax break has become moot. How to surmount that difficulty became ...Read more


Your Guide to a Clean Bill of Copy Health – Learnings from DMAW’s Copy Clinic

November 19

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Fundraising copy is a tricky beast to master. Breaking through the clutter—we encounter 5,000 brand and ad messages a day!—is a necessary but arduous task faced by fundraising professionals around the world. Thankfully, copywriting experts and accompanying prescriptions are available to treat symptoms like copy fatigue, feverish wordiness and information overload. Similar to the way several “copy doctors” tag teamed the presentation at DMAW’s Copywriting Workshop, we’ve collaborated to share our reflections on the session. Presenters Kathy Swayze, of Impact Communications, and Barry Cox, copywriter and creative consultant, offered a comprehensive lesson in effective fundraising copy, beginning with the top mistakes that ...Read more


Getting Started with Text Messaging: Part II

October 18

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Everyone seems to be talking about text messaging these days! With 95% of Americans owning a mobile phone, more of us are “meeting people where they are” by using mobile (SMS) as a vital component of an organization or campaign’s communications, fundraising, advocacy and field strategies. More and more nonprofit organizations and campaigns are realizing they need to include mobile (SMS) text messaging in their digital and campaign strategies.  There are two types of mass texting that can be utilized by your organization. Here are some important differences to consider when deciding between peer-to-peer vs. broadcast text messaging platforms. Capacity (i.e. How and Who) As explained under the platform section, one of ...Read more


Getting Started with Text Messaging

October 11

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Everyone seems to be talking about text messaging these days! With 95% of Americans owning a mobile phone, more of us are “meeting people where they are” by using mobile (SMS) as a vital component of an organization or campaign’s communications, fundraising, advocacy and field strategies. More and more nonprofit organizations and campaigns are realizing they need to include mobile (SMS) text messaging in their digital and campaign strategies.  There are two types of mass texting that can be utilized by your organization. Broadcast SMS has been around for 10+ years but didn’t begin to be utilized by major organizations and campaigns until after 2012. Whereas Peer-to-Peer SMS made its first appearance during the 2016 ...Read more


Breaking Integration Myths

July 31

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When it comes to food, people have long worked at breaking integration myths. Take the myth that oils and waters can’t mix. It’s a myth that can be easily broken when you add an emulsifier (egg yolk), force (whisking), and technique (slowly pouring melted butter into lemon juice and water) to create a hollandaise sauce that never separates. Or take a simpler example. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Who can forget the classic ad campaign “Two great tastes that taste great together” that changed the entire world’s perception that chocolate and peanut butter can’t be paired together. At this June’s DMAW Lunch and Learn, 40 marketing professionals gathered to eat and learn about the integration myths affecting ...Read more


Mail Plans – Are They Really Just for Direct Mail and Do I Really Need One?

July 19

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No and Yes, according to Jessica Harrington of the Harrington Agency during her recent DMAW webinar. She is also a planner at heart as the detailed webinar revealed. When you take a trip, a GPS-enabled device is a must, but you might also print or download a map. In other words, you bring tools to help find the way. That’s the job of a “mail plan” - to provide the map for your organization’s complete donor/constituent journey. It can be used and supplemented by all teams and usually is developed with assistance from partner-vendors. Today’s multiple channels, data sources, segments and modeling tools along with creative testing ideas and budget goals, means the “donor journey” is nuanced and requires a ...Read more


How to Prioritize and Maximize Your Testing

June 19

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Direct marketers love testing. It’s how we establish causality and know with certainty that results can be repeated across campaigns. It’s how we mitigate risk across our programs before rolling out with new ideas. It’s how we gain insights about donor and customer behavior that allow us to build effective communication strategies that yield results. The list goes on and on. And while most of us are likely in agreement that testing is “the bee’s knees,” it’s easy to fall into a trap where we are testing just to test, and we aren’t always planning our testing in a thoughtful way that will consistently allow us to maximize results across our programs. Testing is far too valuable to be an afterthought. Planning ...Read more


Digital Day 2019: Expecting the Unexpected

June 12

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Going into DMAW’s Digital Day for the second year in a row, I knew I’d be leaving with a wealth of new knowledge in the digital space, but little did I know that the lessons learned would be both inside and outside of the sessions. Digital Day taught me more than just the latest digital trends, email deliverability, and data segmentation, it also taught me the most important rule of all: to always expect the unexpected. The day began with a delicious breakfast and eager ears ready for a day full of learning. At 9:00 a.m. sharp the impressive panel prepared to kick off How to Cut Through the Noise in 2020 at the front of the room when—despite the routine check ups and multiple tests only moments before—none of the ...Read more


The Carrier’s Curse: Questioning, Testing, and Why Everything Plain Is Exciting Again

Raise your hand if you’ve been here: you’re mailing a package with a heartwarming case for support, copy that hits all your marks in two pages or less, all in a gorgeous, full bleed, four-color carrier. The package is great, the message is strong, and your lists are ready to go. You’re so proud of this piece, you even stick the carrier up on your office wall like your kid’s A+ science test on the fridge. In short, you think it is going to be your best campaign ever—until you get results. Cue removal of package from wall, into recycling bin (or, if this is really not your week, the fireplace). If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. At this year’s DM201 in Philly (and if I didn’t see you there this year, you’d ...Read more


DM 201: Stop Getting Comfortable and Start Innovating

April 24

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DM 201 is an intermediate-level course that’s perfect for anyone who already has some direct marketing experience under their belt—whether at an agency, nonprofit, list broker, production company, or analytics firm—and wants to go beyond the basics. Somewhere between being a total newbie and seasoned vet things start to fall into place. We get comfortable with what we’re doing, the day-to-day tasks become second nature, and our instincts sharpen. It’s also when complacency can sneak in. Armed with experience and best practices, it’s tempting to run on autopilot rather than continually challenging our assumptions. This session challenged that tendency and pushed us to break out of our routines and find new ways to be ...Read more