Case StudyASPCA + Springboard

$46.5 Million raised online
in 3.5 years

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) uses Springboard to power its digital fundraising, advocacy, events, and marketing.

Springboard helps the ASPCA publish their creative content and campaigns, access detailed data on supporter behavior, experiment and optimize their communications, and keep pace with the rapid proliferation of new channels.

Background

By 2008, the ASPCA felt limited by its all-in-one CRM and CMS software. Seeking more control over their digital engagement programs, the organization chose to implement a collection of custom-built software solutions. For the next five years, each key function—advocacy, fundraising, supporter database, email, and peer-to-peer fundraising—was powered by a different software platform. Although all of their tools were powerful independently, the need to cobble them together with “bubblegum and shoelaces,” as one digital team member reported, required considerable effort and led to untapped opportunities. Staff became consumed with troubleshooting integrations and performing manual data manipulation, and missed having a multi-channel view of supporter engagement.

The Solution

In 2012, the ASPCA sought a comprehensive software platform that would help them become a Digital-First organization, which offers supporters a unified experience regardless of channel. This vision led the ASPCA to select Springboard for digital engagement, Salesforce as its CRM, and IBM Marketing Cloud as an email service provider. All three systems are natively integrated to provide one real-time, comprehensive view of data. Springboard’s openness, flexibility, and scalability made it an obvious choice. The ASPCA liked that Springboard prioritizes results with creative campaigns and insightful data, building on the power of Salesforce and a corporate-scale email tool. The organization also appreciated the ability to easily customize the software and to benefit from other nonprofits’ marketing ideas, which are how the Springboard platform evolves.

Once we saw Springboard, we knew Jackson River was the right partner for us. Ayumi StubbsSenior Director of Digital Marketing, ASPCA

The ASPCA smartly pursued a phased approach to rolling out their new technology. In 2013, they launched Springboard Fundraising and Marketing functionality, IBM Marketing Cloud for Email, and a brand new ASPCA.org website, built in Drupal by Jackson River. The ASPCA team then partnered with Jackson River to expand Springboard’s Peer-to-Peer Fundraising offerings, which were implemented to power both DIY and athletic events. Next, they launched additional Springboard Events functionality for ticketed events, followed by Advocacy in 2016 for both federal and state policy campaigns.

It has been great with Springboard because we have—one-by-one—brought all of those worlds back under one umbrella with integrated reporting. Sam RichDirector of Digital Marketing, ASPCA

The Transformation

Creative Campaigns & Testing

To the ASPCA, one of Springboard’s strongest selling points was the ability to create unlimited, fully customizable forms. The ASPCA team is always experimenting with new ideas for campaign approaches and content presentation—but they are also fundamentally committed to testing and optimizing based on what they learn. Springboard has allowed them to experiment with one-step and multi-step forms using an endless array of layouts and form approaches; test the performance of special form elements like recent donor and recent advocate lists and creative form goals; and run list-building campaigns such as pet photo contests and surveys. For example, when they added a recent donor list to one of their donation forms, the ASPCA team saw a slight decrease in conversion, but an impressive 10% uptick in average gift amount, making the donor list a core component to integrate in future form tests and designs. They also found through rigorous testing that multi-step forms consistently outperform single-step forms for larger screen sizes, so the organization now uses multi-step forms for most desktop and tablet fundraising but single-step, mobile-responsive forms for smaller screens.

Overall, we love that we can make a billion forms and make a gajillion customizations per form. The ability to add new fields, access to go into Salesforce and free map a field, those are the kinds of things we’ve never dreamed of being able to do on our own. Ayumi StubbsSenior Director of Digital Marketing, ASPCA
The ASPCA.org's donation forms are multi-step, mobile responsive, and offer both one-time and monthly gifts.

The ASPCA uses Optimizely for its content and creative tests, which works hand-in-hand with Springboard as a multivariate testing tool. This year, they will also introduce heatmap analytics to collect more precise form-specific performance data.

Coordination

When the ASPCA’s fundraising and advocacy lists lived in separate systems, internal teams struggled with coordinating communications and asks. It was also impossible to achieve a holistic view of each supporter, which prevented the organization from targeting messages based on specific interaction criteria. With comprehensive supporter data in Salesforce, the ASPCA can now pursue an integrated fundraising and advocacy strategy. The team tracks supporter engagement and behavioral trends to avoid over-messaging across all channels—including multiple email newsletter streams, action opportunities, and fundraising asks—and to micro-target supporters based on past behavior.

We can now ensure that everything works together in a coordinated way using the same messaging. This has been an effective way to stay on the radar of supporters and engage them, without having them feel inundated with different messages. Sam RichDirector of Digital Marketing, ASPCA

Customizations

With its previous custom-built software, the ASPCA had to allocate extensive budget and staff time to code all new functionality from scratch. This resource-drain prevented the team from tailoring campaign assets to their diverse audiences, forcing them to use a more bulk, ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing. With Springboard, ASPCA staff now extensively personalize their form functionality and database mappings. Personalized donation forms based on supporter profile and behavioral data have boosted conversion rates and saved time and resources, which are now being used to create new marketing campaigns.

The freedom to make so many custom forms has enabled us to increase spending on digital acquisition and commercials. Ayumi StubbsSenior Director of Digital Marketing, ASPCA

In addition, the ASPCA team consistently partners with Jackson River to develop new Springboard features. Some, such as a custom Amazon Payments transaction flow and specific peer-to-peer registration process, are unique to the ASPCA’s strategy. Other features, including the ability to offer multiple ask amount strings within one donation form and a recent-donors list component, held potential value for all Springboard users, and so have become core functionality available to all organizations using the platform.

The TeamASPCA peer-to-peer fundraising program features group events, DIY supporter fundraising efforts, and custom campaigns.

Targeting & Segmentation

The ASPCA’s previous systems lacked sophisticated targeting and segmentation capabilities, meaning that staff had no choice but to send the same donation appeals and action requests to their whole list, rather than tailoring the messaging and approach by audience. With their new behavioral and interest-based segmentation capabilities, the ASPCA now targets campaigns and messages based on past behavior, such as detailed donation history data, geolocation data, and social share and referral data. Using marketing-automation best practices, the ASPCA’s email campaigns are both personalized and tailored to behavioral triggers, including email series to orient and engage supporters based on how a constituent first interacted with the organization and their recent activity.

For example, supporters who take action on an advocacy campaign are assigned interest flags for issues such as farm-animal welfare, which we then use to promote topically-related engagement opportunities. Sam RichDirector of Digital Marketing, ASPCA

Tracking & Market Source Data

While their previous systems lacked in-depth tracking mechanisms, particularly across channels and systems, the ASPCA can now follow supporter behavior across multiple touchpoints and activities.

Tracking that gets picked up by Springboard and put into Salesforce has been a huge benefit. There is market source tracking for everything. Ayumi StubbsSenior Director of Digital Marketing, ASPCA

ASPCA’s marketing strategy relies on market source data for all visitor interactions. For example, the digital team uses market source to track the placement of a donation ask or banner on the website, with behavioral data then feeding into Salesforce. This data is then used to optimize the website and engagement forms to promote higher conversion rates. Additionally, based on comprehensive reporting on their overall email effectiveness, the ASPCA is also making significant improvements to their overarching email strategy, consolidating multiple stand-alone emails into holistic campaigns with a coordinated, time-sensitive narrative arc and supporting asks.

A #GetTough on Dog Fighting campaign email educates supporters on the issue and offers campaign-specific asks and next steps.

Performance

Before implementing Springboard, the ASPCA had experienced repeated performance issues, including consecutive days of fundraising downtime and significantly-delayed email sends during year-end fundraising. These persistent problems negatively impacted the ASPCA’s revenue and supporter experience, as well as wasting dollars spent on paid advertising across channels. Since moving to Springboard, performance has been reliable and predictable. The infrastructure successfully scales to handle spikes in transaction volume associated with record giving and action windows, such as Giving Tuesday and the last week of the year. Being able to trust Springboard’s performance allows ASPCA staff to focus on constituents and results, and ensures advertising dollars are always put to good use.

We no longer have to worry about the back-end, hosting, and everything else that happens behind the scenes, because we just know that it’s being taken care of by people we trust. Ayumi StubbsSenior Director of Digital Marketing, ASPCA

Partnership with Jackson River

The ASPCA has developed a collaborative, long-term relationship with Jackson River, utilizing this strong partnership for everything from plotting new campaign ideas and associated functionality to ongoing Springboard and Salesforce support.

Our contacts at Jackson River are like honorary members of our Web team. They know and understand our organization, goals, and processes through and through. Our Account Manager is always coming up with new and better ways to approach issues and requests from a big picture perspective. Ayumi StubbsSenior Director of Digital Marketing, ASPCA

The Results

The ASPCA’s impressive results with supporter engagement reflect the organization’s strong strategy and increasing sophistication with segmentation, targeting, testing, & coordinated messaging using Springboard.

Since launching on Springboard in 2013, the ASPCA has achieved:

more than
$46.5 million
raised online in 3.5 years
year-over-year
online fundraising
increases of as much as
25%
Steady increases in sustaining donors, now compromising
25%
of their donor base
330,000+
petition signatures & letters to representatives from supporters in the ASPCA's first year using Springboard Advocacy

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