Direct Response and American Cancer Society

angie_mooreFor those of you who know me, direct response and online fundraising is not my expertise – but I think we can learn from the fundraising sector and our colleagues. This article by Angie Moore on the American Cancer Society’s decision to step away from direct mail and online one year later is informative.  Angie Moore is Vice President, Strategy & Development at Eleventy Marketing Group. Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing.

One year ago, she wrote an article that detailed what may be one of the boldest moves by a top brand in the nonprofit industry. In a move that took the fundraising and direct mail industry by surprise, the American Cancer Society (ACS)Opens in a new window made the following decisions in late 2012 with immediate action in 2013:

  1. Stop all direct mail acquisition to generate new direct mail donors for the organization.
  2. Stop all direct mail conversion to offer non-direct mail Society donors (online donors, event-participants/donors, information seekers, etc.) an opportunity to give a direct mail gift.
  3. Remove the American Cancer Society direct mail donors from all exchange universes.

With the new omni-channel program, “the purpose of a new, direct mail donor now is that the entire value chain will be leveraged,” says Lin MacMaster, chief revenue and marketing officer. The Society is still focused on acquiring and engaging, but the key is to retain donors across the entire organization as a priority — not simply to keep them active in one channel or one program. Yes, there are certain audiences who will only be responsive to direct mail, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Yet, a key metric of success for direct mail acquisition will be the ability to optimize the relationships across a multi-channel process and engagement across multiple areas.

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