Cultivating Donors & Sustainers
AWF believes that a healthy sustainer program is the lifeblood of a healthy online fundraising program. It invests in lifelong donors, with a clear path for supporters to move from low-commitment to ever-higher-commitment actions. Springboard’s focus on strong donor experiences and sustainer conversion has been beneficial to AWF’s strategy.
In AWF’s fundraising campaigns, existing supporters receive a very specific ask, or dynamic gift string, that directly relates to their individual giving history. Creative, personalized donation forms also include sustainer conversion tactics, such as a modal window that offers one-time donors the chance to make their gift monthly, or an invitation for sustaining donors to upgrade their monthly gifts beyond their current gift level, which has resulted in increased gift amounts. AWF can also proactively prevent lapsed donations for donors with upcoming expiring cards and and run campaigns to easily reactivate lapsed sustainers.
Springboard supports a variety of sustainer solutions enabling us to implement new strategies and tactics to grow the program. By closely monitoring constituent behavior and needs through the product, AWF can treat sustainers accordingly, sending them a very specific ask that is directly related to each individual’s history with us. The resulting sustainer giving throughout the year is support we can now rely on in service of our mission.David OñateDirector of Marketing, AWF
Creative, Multi-channel Campaigns
Intentional, staged supporter cultivation is the keystone of AWF’s engagement program. In addition to offering their supporters targeted journeys across the lifecycle, AWF runs fundraising campaigns that begin with an awareness-building communication, which then ties to a series of follow-up actions. For example, when the 2016 elephant census revealed shockingly low numbers of African elephants remaining, AWF ran multi-channel campaigns educating supporters both on elephant issues and on the organization’s unique response to the challenge. AWF then offered stage-specific ways to engage, from taking action to making a gift to raising funds through a related peer-to-peer campaign.
Close integration across channels is also a critical element in AWF’s strategy, facilitated by Springboard and Salesforce. Across direct mail, website and microsites, email, and social, consistent visuals and messaging are used to reinforce core themes, and supporters are targeted in the channels that best fit their past behavior. Because AWF knows exactly which supporters are active in which channels, they carefully target messaging by channel to promote cross-channel interactions. The organization has consistently seen that the more channels a supporter is active in, the more likely that person is to ultimately convert.
For many organizations, technology is too often a barrier to building one-on-one relationships at scale and achieving goals. In our case, with Springboard, technology has gone from being a barrier to reaching our objectives to empowering us to realize the creative ideas, strategies, and campaigns we develop in collaboration with our partners at Sanky.David OñateDirector of Marketing, AWF
AWF chose to add Springboard’s Advocacy capabilities in late 2015 for both international and domestic policy work, reinforcing its Digital-First engagement strategy. When AWF began to experiment with its first digital advocacy campaign, the organization was hoping for a few thousand signatures and perhaps a few gifts.
The AWF team reports that signing petitions and sending letters to decision-makers have given supporters more ways to initially engage and to deepen their commitment to the issues, which has fed back into fundraising results. Advocacy has also offered AWF additional ways to easily identify the most engaged supporters, which then impacts its targeting and segmentation strategy.
Digital advocacy has become a key component of AWF’s overall digital marketing program and a great engagement activity for prospects and donors. Often, constituents are committing to AWF financially, but now they’re also able to commit their voice to critical issues like wildlife trafficking and climate change. That’s been made possible to us by the technology platform provided by Springboard.David OñateDirector of Marketing, AWF
Tracking & Market Source Data
AWF uses a combination of market source codes and Google UTM tracking codes to gather extensive data—such as the source of a gift and of a constituent—across channels and devices. The results are actively used for measuring and reporting on the success of each campaign as it unfolds in real-time, allowing for rapid improvements and optimization. Future campaigns are designed based on the ROI of past efforts, reinforcing AWF’s commitment to making decisions that are driven by hard data.
Knowing how a constituent got into our database, and being able to track how effectively a specific campaign is working has been incredibly helpful. We now have a million ways to slice and dice the data.David OñateDirector of Marketing, AWF
When AWF chose a new digital platform, automation was the organization’s top priority. AWF’s strategy involves a high volume of acquisition, so in order to make the most of each chance to convert new prospects, they needed to automate messages based on individual interests and behaviors.
As AWF has been empowered to build ever more complex supporter journeys, it has moved beyond best-practice triggered messaging such as welcome series to offer more sophisticated behavior-dependent sequences, such as follow-up emails after donation-form abandonment and interim cultivation pieces like a spirit animal quiz with a follow-up email offering more details on the real-life animal. In addition to ongoing cultivation, AWF’s journeys include stage-specific communication matched with a specific time of year. For example, awareness-building campaigns communicating impact ramp up over the course of the fall in tandem with other asks, which prime supporters before year-end fundraising begins.
Segmentation & Personalization
AWF’s internal team now uses the extensive data that Springboard collects to code individual supporters by interaction with the organization. Coding supporters gives the marketing team a clear picture of who their sustainers are, versus major donors, prospects, advocates, and other profiles, allowing them to easily see overlap between populations and likely sequences for future interactions.
Now we can know each person on our list and understand, big picture, their relationship with our organization.David OñateDirector of Marketing, AWF
Because personalization is only as good as the data that lies behind it, AWF can now use its comprehensive online and offline data to perform sophisticated segmentation of its list. From direct-mail only donors to online donors to individuals who have set up their own fundraising campaign, the organization is able to be thoughtful and strategic about which constituents receive what from AWF and when. In concert with their strategy for lifelong donor relationships, the marketing team now works with the mid-level major-gifts team to identify and cultivate sustainers into even higher-level donors.
“Springboard also allows us to act on all of the valuable data we collect. For example, we’ve been able to deploy dynamic ask strings, supported by strong back-end data, that have helped to increase conversion rates for prospects because the ask is an appropriate amount. This personalized approach has helped significantly with retention as well, while also motivating many donors to become sustainers.Laura ColeAssociate Director of Account Services, Sanky