08.10.23 3 min

5 key takeaways from Bridge 2023

Data Axle Staff

The 2023 Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference exuded a sense of optimism and anticipation for what lies ahead. The best and brightest in the industry came together to discuss best practices in fundraising excellence, technological advancements, and hash-out industry challenges. Featuring captivating talks, a vibrant exhibition hall, and spirited networking occasions, it’s safe to say that this conference encompassed a rich tapestry of experiences and knowledge. Whether you were fortunate enough to attend this year’s event or had to sit it out, we’ve compiled the key overarching themes below so you don’t miss a beat.

1. A positive outlook for the remainder of 2023

Many nonprofits saw strong results in their July 2023 metrics. For many in the industry, the first half of 2023 wasn’t what they hoped. But from the buzz we heard, the industry is starting to level-up and improve. Both acquisition and renewals are strong. While that might not affect budgets for 2023, it might have an impact on 2024.

Overall, our clients have seen results over the industry average. For hard numbers, including cost-to-acquire and income-per-piece mailed, read more here.

2. Omnichannel storytelling is more important than ever

Claire Quinn from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation delivered a case study that made a splash with attendees. Her story of how MCSF used both direct mail and digital to surround prospective donors with a cohesive story, captivated the audience and encapsulated the attitude of the industry right now. Many nonprofit organizations have the intentions of crafting a donor-centric marketing campaign and in order to do so, they need to get their omnichannel strategy in order.

Direct mail has long been siloed, but it can be paired with digital in order to reach donors and see fundraising campaigns reach new heights of success. We’ve seen the proof of this from our own clients, who have achieved their goals by using our omnichannel cooperatives, Apogee and DonorBase, fueled by participant omnichannel transactions, gift data, and precise donation emails.

Want to know more about the MCSF story? Subscribe to our newsletter. The full case study will be released in September of this year.

3. The effects of postage & paper prices

Direct mail is the backbone of the nonprofit marketing machine. The recent 5% increase in postage took center stage at the event, with many reckoning with how to incorporate this into their budgets and how it will affect their overall marketing program.

We recommend taking a strategic approach to direct mail to keep costs down while stretching your marketing dollars. Informed segmentation allows you to take your audience universe and slice and dice it into smaller targeted audiences to create more compelling messaging with informed ask arrays and personalized communications. For example, a data-driven segmented campaign can allow you to target donors who have previously responded to direct mail campaigns, indicating they will be more receptive to communications over this channel.

When it comes to paper prices, many in the industry aren’t afraid to negotiate with their suppliers to keep costs down. Even if you are a smaller nonprofit, take the opportunity to negotiate a better deal – it may be advantageous to team up with others in the same boat.

Our Richard Geiger shares his insight regarding the impact of supply chain issues on direct mail in the August issue of The NonProfit Times.

4. The importance of testing…don’t be afraid to take risks

Strategic testing allows you to uncover new opportunities and amplify impact. At Data Axle, testing is in our DNA. We firmly believe in the power of experimentation, from minor adjustments like tweaking a call-to-action or playing with colors, to major leaps such as interactive elements or premium mailers. For nonprofits, discovering the most effective avenues to deliver sought-after donor information is crucial. Testing serves as the compass that guides conversion rates upward by pinpointing conversion hurdles. By dismantling these barriers, the potential rewards are boundless.

The nonprofit industry tends to be risk-averse. But someone must be the first person to wade into uncharted waters. A nonprofit marketers dream is having the budget that allows you to fail fast and learn quickly. Investing in high-quality, comprehensive data will help you innovate and lead the pack.

Curious about testing? Download this case study for real-world testing results.

5. Attribution: the continuous challenge

Everyone is struggling with attribution. When it comes to acquisition models, digital acquisition is leading the way by providing marketers enough data to understand the donor journey. But attribution should be a proving ground, not a battleground. We want to make things easier for you, not harder. Our Amy Braiterman and Richard Geiger are going to be speaking on this topic at the October DMAW conference. Will you be there?

Want to chat about Bridge or any of these key themes? Contact us.