B2E Data Blog

How a Community Nonprofit Used Data Marketing to Achieve Record-Setting Donations

Jun 20, 2023 10:30:05 PM / by Keith Snow


What’s a nonprofit to do when it’s ready to take its mission of connecting donors to causes they care about to another level? That’s the question B2E client The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines found itself asking in 2022, as it considered strategies to increase its charitable giving. 


“We are privileged to see the incredible generosity of our community in action every day as donors engage the Community Foundation to maximize their giving and support causes they care about,” said Addie Olson, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Community Foundation. “Partnering with B2E allowed us to reach even more Iowans looking to amplify their charitable giving and make an impact on the causes and communities they love. 


If you don’t mind spoilers, the Community Foundation did, in fact, find a way to make its biggest impact ever. With an assist from a data-driven marketing campaign that earned a first-place NOVA award from the American Marketing Association Iowa chapter, the Foundation received a record-setting amount of gifts in 2022. Here’s what it did. 


Uncovering Ideal Donors


Every organization can benefit from understanding the characteristics, preferences, and needs of its “ideal customers.” Based on the organization and its goals, ideal customers might represent the segments that are the most loyal, the most profitable, or most likely to refer new customers. In the Community Foundation’s case, it was looking to better understand the characteristics of people most likely to give, in order to effectively target potential new donors who share those attributes. 


B2E analyzed the Foundation’s database of current fundholders. A detailed donor persona was developed by appending the existing database information with additional sources of top-tier third-party data from MotusAudiences, B2E’s in-house national consumer database. MotusAudiences contains information on 95% of the U.S. population, including demographic, psychographic, lifestyle, financial insights, decision-making styles, and media preferences.  


The donor persona was overlayed against the Foundation’s target market. This precisely identified the prospective new members with the highest propensity for giving, based on matching characteristics. It was determined that the majority of Community Foundation donors fell into segments representing less than 10% of the target population. The profile comprising its largest segment of donors represented only 1.29% of the area population. Without hyper-targeting, the Foundation risked spending marketing resources inefficiently.



The Data Marketing Campaign


The intelligence gathered during the donor persona creation enabled the Community Foundation to craft a marketing campaign, outlined below, that aligned with anticipated donor preferences. All tactics were implemented following SOC 2 data security best practices


  • Data intelligence had revealed that most prospects were brand loyalists. The design and message of marketing materials were tailored to emphasize the strength and reputation of the Community Foundation brand, prominently featuring the Foundation logo, colors, and member testimonials.

  • Equipped with information about exactly who to target, a direct mail postcard was sent to the homes of prospective “ideal donors.” It was timed to reach households in the fall before the holidays, when audience research indicated they were likely to travel away from home.

  • In conjunction with direct mail, engaging animated digital ads were displayed on devices connected to prospective donors’ home IP networks

  • Data analysis showed a high proportion of the target audience trusted full-service financial advisors to manage their money and provide financial guidance. Therefore, professional financial advisors were also targeted with direct mail and digital advertising about charitable giving to the Foundation. In the age of increased remote work, B2E used its Executive at Home program to send marketing communications to professional advisors at their homes, significantly increasing the likelihood the message would reach the intended targets.


A New High for Charitable Gifts, More Data Insights for the Future


In 2022, the Community Foundation received a record-setting $108 million in gifts. At the end of the year, its assets under administration were more than $815 million, with 145 new charitable giving funds established.


Its highly-targeted and fine-tuned approach drove higher audience engagement. The click-through-rate from the prospective fundholder digital campaign was three times the industry average, and the click-through-rate from the professional advisor digital campaign was more than five times the industry average.


What’s more, the Community Foundation now has a detailed donor persona to inform every marketing effort to ensure the alignment of its marketing strategy, message, and design against data intelligence.


“Engaging B2E gave us unique insight into our fundholders that will continue to shape our marketing efforts into the future as we work to promote charitable giving in Greater Des Moines,” Olson said. “Greater insight translates into greater impact on our community as donors partner with the Community Foundation to maximize their giving.”

If you’d like more information about data-driven marketing campaigns that get results, reach out to set-up a conversation


Keith Snow

Written by Keith Snow

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