Key Takeaways from the 2019 ANA Chicago Nonprofit Conference

SPC recently joined industry leaders and marketing experts in the nonprofit community gathered in Chicago August 26–28 for the Association of National Advertisers Chicago Nonprofit Conference. One of the key topics at the conference was solving today’s challenges around the acceleration of innovation, technology, and changes in consumer/donor behaviors. Here are some takeaways.

Big Picture: The Rate of Change in Technology and Innovation is Outpacing Adaptability

The speed at which technology and innovation is moving creates challenges for marketers when faced with selecting the best technology solutions and data strategies to make the transformational shifts necessary that translate into smarter, faster, and cheaper growth.

In the age of information acceleration, direct mail continues to be the main revenue driver for many nonprofit organizations.

  • Direct mail delivers stronger donor retention compared to acquiring donors through digital channels.
  • Direct mail has consistently proven to create a base of donors more likely to upgrade to major or planned gifts.
  • Using data-driven messaging and personalization increases response to direct mail and can enable a two-way dialog with your audience.

Advances in AI and Multi-Channel Strategy Are Driving Fundraising Growth

Expanding into new modeling approaches often results in big gains. AI is building more relevant models faster—moving from a finite number of variables to an infinite set of variables based on real-time activities and behaviors, thus dramatically increasing the precision and volume of high-value names to target.

Implementing this modeling approach also serves to inform channel and messaging preferences. For example, customer spending is three to four times higher when connecting in multi-channels versus a single channel. Plus, consumers who view a consistent message across multiple channels improve their perception of that brand by 68%.

A recent USOC case history revealed that direct mail and digital play together extremely well to achieve new levels of response. USOC sent emails either before or following direct mail kits’ arrival in home. The average response rate using single-channel direct mail was 6%. When direct mail was augmented with email, the response rate increased to 37%!

Looking Ahead

Leveraging technology and innovation to identify high-value audience segments and fundraising tactics is really just getting started. The goal is to keep programs in line with changing customer behaviors and preferences.

As a first step, consider the following approaches toward achieving new levels of success and growth:

  • Move beyond traditional donor status segmentation and begin listening to donor behavior.
  • Once models begin to identify new audience segments – resolve to rely closely on data to reveal both channels’ preferences and messaging content.
  • Consider blending direct mail, digital marketing and email to achieve 39% higher levels of attention than a single medium campaign. Direct mail with digital marketing yields up to 30% higher conversion rates.

SPC Supports the Cause

With SPCs personalization capabilities relating to audience behaviors, interests and past donating activity, the opportunities are endless. Nonprofits and other marketers can look to SPC to connect on deeper levels with audiences for greater success, making bigger impacts in people’s lives within their communities.


Gil Bathgate
Vice President, Loyalty

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