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Coast to Coast Growth Mindset

Production Solutions

At PS (Production Solutions) we are always looking for ways to sharpen the tools in our toolbox in the age of acceleration, and that means keeping abreast of industry trends while also staying on top of the fundamentals. In that spirit, members of the team were on both coasts last week as they took part in DMAW’s Direct Mail 101 training event this past Wednesday, March 13th in Washington, DC as well as the NTEN (Nonprofit Technology) Conference in Portland, Oregon held March 13th – 15th.  

DMAW’s Direct Mail 101 Seminar

DMAW’s DM 101 was a terrific full-day seminar that provided a broad overview of the direct marketing process from soup to nuts in the format of following a campaign from start to finish. The information-packed day taught by industry leaders included topics such as: Creative, List Procurement and Management, Data Hygiene & Processing, Production Services, Data Capture & Caging, Database Analytics, Online Marketing as well as Telemarketing/SMS.

The sessions were well presented and attendees asked plenty of questions throughout, making for an interactive and engaging format!  A few highlights were:

  • Lists:  Hosted by Tom Fleming of ALC was packed with details around donor files, list hygiene, list acquisition and the various methods with which lists transactions take place. Great insights were offered on maximizing list performance and also the relationship between the attrition rate of a list and an acquisition plan to maintain the long term health of a direct mail program.  
  • Data Capture and Caging: This session was facilitated by Robb Wanner of Direct Mail Processors and covered the fulfillment process of a fundraising direct mail campaign. This felt like a topic that isn’t traditionally top of mind for most folks, so it was fascinating to review the complex workflows for processing the return mail, receiving donations, facilitating the deposit of the funds, capturing the data and using that data to strengthen relationships with donors. A smooth caging and data process allows your organization to quickly, effectively, and authentically communicate with your donors and nurture the relationship.
  • Telefundraising and SMS:  Mark Mitchell of SD&A Teleservices and Chrissy Hyre of CCAH provided an overview of how to make the most impact with a tele-campaign, and emphasized the importance of not allowing an initial “no” from the prospective donor to be discouraging to your efforts. In fact, you should expect that exact response, and be fully prepared for how to navigate the conversation after hearing that initial “no” – a vital lesson that applies to more than just the topic of fundraising!

DMAW also offers a follow-up training event, DM 201: Beyond the Basics, in Philadelphia, PA on May 22nd.  This follow up builds on the foundation of the 101 seminar by taking a deeper dive into metrics, modeling, retention, multi-channel marketing and more.

NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference

The NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference, was an amazing experience for the team. NTEN goes out of their way to accommodate and make all feel welcome.  There were educational tracks focused on Programs, IT, Leadership, Marketing/Communications, Fundraising (applicable for CFRE accreditation and renewal credit) – which the team definitely took advantage of!

A few favorite sessions that addressed recurring fundraising themes:

  • Finders Keepers:  The Art of Donor Retention – This session recapped the challenging year, specifically year end, that nonprofits faced in 2018, recommended fiscal year campaign timing and many other do’s and don’ts regarding how to treat your donors so they remain loyal to your mission.  (Acknowledgements, use of good data, use of good technology (automation), language (investment instead of donation), suppressions, and more.
  • Supporters First:  Building Customized Constituent Journeys – This session emphasized the importance of understanding your donors (collecting data and analyzing it), giving the donor what she/he wants and when, on the right channels, making it easy for her/him and acknowledging their commitment, generosity, and investment.
  • The Largest Group of Untapped Charitable Givers:  Small Dollar Donors – The key takeaways for this session were:  don’t apologize for fundraising, instead own that you will be asking for donations and announce the upcoming ask in your copy then follow up with the compelling reason why. Seek to motivate instead of persuade.  If they are a donor or supporter, don’t waste time re-explaining what your organization does – be inclusive and empowering because the donor is a part of a collective movement!

The conference also brought back their innovative format called “Ignites”, in lieu of a single keynote speaker on Day 2.  The format allows for six individual short and fast-paced speakers – each speaker had five minutes and a twenty slide maximum that automatically advanced every 15 seconds whether the speaker is ready or not! A standout were the personal and professional talks on this year’s theme, “How I used the internet to change the world” were inspiring and thought provoking.

The PS team is committed to a growth mindset and attending conferences and training events such as these throughout the year helps us stay on top of our game to provide our clients with best-in-class service experiences.  We’d love to connect with you to share our insights, so be sure to reach out to us today to schedule a time to connect and learn more about how we can help with your direct mail program.