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Reflections of the DMAW Multi-Channel Mini-Con

by Richard Geiger, Senior Vice President, Data Axle Nonprofit

Wow! What an excellent experience and program at the inaugural Multi-Channel Mini-Con. Why? The assembly of forward thinking leadership and strategy sessions mixed with the frank and practical made this a gathering with actionable outcomes. Important to the experience was that the sessions, case studies, and discussions shared common threads almost on accident. It was comforting to watch heads nod in agreement with shared experiences and validation that we are moving in similar directions. What we learned and are looking to build upon had importance for agencies, clients served, nonprofit fundraising programs, and our entire sector in continuing to deliver more mission.

Lesson One: Metrics are key for omnichannel engagement and outcome measurement, but they have to be your organizational metrics and benchmarks. Direct mail is a mature channel with many years of history, experience, and established norms. Omnichannel engagement is newer and means different things to different organizations. When engaging and testing your omnichannel audiences establish your own starting point. Measuring your efforts against other organizations may help directionally, but aren’t as helpful – especially at first – by benchmarking against yourself. Timing, ad spend, creative, audience quality, channel selection are all variable and hard to compare across multiple industry campaigns. Shout out to Amy Braiterman @ Data Axle Nonprofit for this lesson.

Lesson Two: Email deliverability is key. With all the changes around how and what we can measure, deliverability is a quantitative measure that equates to shots on goal for engagement. And spending time attempting to move your message from promotions to primary may be better spent elsewhere. It’s not a bad thing to have your message match the tab – people tend to go to that tab to do read relevant content. Thank you Jay Schwedlson @ for getting this message across. Other great tips including time of day send (try 7:02 as opposed to 7:00) and making sure cadence is timely (30 days is too long to re-engage someone who has not opened your email.)

Lesson Three: Campaign measurement is not about final channel attribution. How you attribute the revenue and the expense in accounting continues to not be the measurement of choice for campaign metrics. Many lively discussions through all the sessions on traditional matchback for direct mail versus e a digital campaign versus multiple channels. What did we learn – organizations are not the boss of how constituents engage in the internet, which page they make their donations on, and how they get there. Tim Kachuriak @ NextAfter made one of the most interesting analogies that seemed to stick with the audience. Manage your campaigns like you would your mutual funds. Understanding each of the channels and how the perform is important, but more importantly it’s the compiled overall summary measurement that tells the story of did your mix perform to its potential and becomes a benchmark that we as industry can start sharing and using across our industry.

Looking forward to seeing how this conference seeds professional development, strategy, and sharing as we move into the 2024 learning cycle.

Written for DMAW by Richard Geiger, Senior Vice President, Data Axle Nonprofit
Richard Geiger, Senior Vice President, brings to Data Axle a wealth of experience as a sales and services professional with distinguished leadership roles in selling and delivering strategy, analytics, business process and technology to large complex nonprofit organizations. Working with the nonprofit group, Richard’s focus is on enabling organizations to drive more mission using the vast commercial, cooperative, and nonprofit data solutions across all of Data Axle.

As a trained urban and regional planner and fundraising analytics practitioner, Richard has deep experience with data, data collection and analysis, and using data to solve problems and tell stories. He has had the great fortune to work with organizations that include American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Feeding America, Humane Society of the United States, Heifer International, University of Arizona, Clemson, Furman, and West Virginia University Foundation. Engagements include work on providing leadership, strategy, and infrastructure and business process support for constituent engagement efforts.