Special event
Nov 15
12PM - 2PM

$55 Members
$70 Non-members

SEIU Conference Center
1800 Massachusetts Ave
Washington, DC 20036
View map


Lunch and Learn: Digital First: Why Translating DM Content Just Won’t Cut It

Every fundraiser knows the value of direct mail. Tried and true, it puts your mission right in your supporters’ hands. Direct mail is reliable, and most nonprofits have had direct mail programs, well, forever! So when it comes to building a digital program, it’s tempting to cut and paste the best of your direct mail content and strategy right into digital. It’s a solution, but here’s the cold, hard truth: It’s not a solution that works.

An organization’s digital program needs to be designed with digital in mind, first. Organizations can’t cut and paste and expect to see success — in doing so, they miss out on the opportunity to leverage many of the creative approaches and tactics that make digital so effective for fundraising.

In this session, we’ll dive into the digital-direct mail divide, explore what makes a good digital program and how organizations can produce inspiring creative content made to succeed on digital platforms. Here’s what that looks like:

  • Get creative — for digital. We’ll consider why organizations need fresh, innovative, digital-first creative to pair with their digital program and examine that creative looks like using examples from Covenant House and Partners In Health’s own journeys towards a digital-first approach to their online fundraising. This also means unpacking the many ways in which digital creative differs from direct mail creative — and how user expectations vary across channels.
  • Getting personal. We’ll explore how a unique digital strategy allows organizations to be more personalized in their communications — and why that’s beneficial. In a world where users increasingly expect a 1:1, personalized experience when they engage with the institutions and brands they love, we’ll discuss specific tactics and tools organizations can use to make their digital communications ever-more personal and relevant for users.
  • Rapid response. When disaster strikes, when the president tweets, when the unpredictable occurs — those are the moments that you want to be in-market because that’s when your supporters are most excited to act. We’ll examine how a digital-first strategy allows organizations to take advantage of the news cycle and other external events to convert users quickly.
  • More impact, less time. Because digital is highly efficient, organizations don’t need to carefully calibrate the number of sends per year, or sacrifice engagement and stewardship for fundraising. We’ll cover the ways digital communications allow organizations to cultivate donors and display impact through an array of engagements that won’t break the bank — from petition sign-ons to quizzes to social shares and beautiful, visual storytelling.
  • Always learning. The volume and efficiency of digital allows organizations to test and learn at an impressive scale. We’ll dig into the ways a digital-first strategy leads to learnings that make programs more powerful and effective. Throughout the discussion, we’ll leverage real-life campaigns and creative examples to inspire attendees in their day-to-day work. Our hope is that attendees will leave this discussion full of ideas they can immediately implement to pivot their digital fundraising towards a strategy that is digital-first, not direct-mail first.

Learning Outcomes:

  • How (and why) to create powerful digitally-specific content that drives dollars and relationships. – A nuanced take on the different user expectations for experiences online and off, and what that means for digital content – Specific visual examples: get
  • How to leverage everything digital has to offer: – How to deliver personalized, tailored user experiences – How to weave in creative cultivations and actions that engage your donors even during non-fundraising moments – How to respond quickly yet powerful
  • What a good digital program means for your long-term fundraising program online and offline – How digital’s efficiencies have changed the number of touches you can deliver a donor – How a great digital program can help you optimize your fundraising program.

SHARE:Email to someoneShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Our event sponsors

  • logo



Kaitlin Juleus, Senior Communications Strategist, Blue State Digital

As a Senior Strategist in Blue State Digital’s New York office, Kaitlin leads the communications strategy and copywriting for nonprofit clients including UNICEF USA, Covenant House, March of Dimes and Partners in Health. In her time developing their digital programs, Kaitlin has helped drive 7-figure growth in revenue, year-over-year, for BSD's largest nonprofit clients.

Prior to joining BSD, Kaitlin managed communications and digital fundraising for Sanctuary for Families, New York’s leading service and advocacy organization for survivors of domestic violence. Kaitlin graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a BA in History and Women’s and Gender Studies, and recently completed her MS in Nonprofit Management at The New School.


Sarah Dunlap, Senior Manager of Digital Fundraising, Partners in Health

Sarah joined Partners In Health (PIH) in 2013 as a copywriter on the development team, working on all manner of donor communications across media and giving level. She later shifted to focus on digital projects and today specializes on email fundraising: developing a strategic calendar of digital campaigns, crafting messages, and tailoring them to specific segments of PIH’s email list.

Prior to joining PIH, Sarah did communications work for a federation of environmental groups based in Boston. Sarah graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in Government and a minor in English literature.


Orwin Evenson, Associate Director of Digital Marketing, International Rescue Committee

Orwin leads the email and paid media teams at the IRC. With a background in analytics and strategy, he is responsible for the development and execution of a comprehensive digital program for supporter acquisition, retention, cultivation, and reactivation. Immediately prior to joining the IRC, Orwin lead digital strategy and analytics for clients like UNICEF USA, Partners In Health, March of Dimes, and Team USA through his work at Blue State Digital. He is a proud native of the Inland Northwest and currently lives in Brooklyn.


More events you might be interested in

June 04

Digital Day Forum

June 12

Webinar: Mail Plans—Are they really just for direct mail and do I really need one?

June 20

Lunch and Learn: Breaking Integration Myths

July 10

14th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference