Harvest The Voice of the Donor - Case Study DMANF August 2008


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How do you leverage your donor services functions in a way that is more than a cost center? Utilize the contact with your constituents to harvest the voice of the donor, gather useable marketing information in a timely way and translate it to increase donor loyalty and long term value.

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  • DMANF Presentation – Harvesting the Voice of the DonorAugust 2008Case Study – Jann SchultzOverview: How do you leverage your donor services functions in a way that is more than a cost center? Utilize the contact with your constituents to harvest the voice of the donor, gather useable marketing information in a timely way and translate it to increase donor loyalty and long term value.Presentation objectives:Tips for closing the loop with donorsIdeas for making your donor services functions more than a cost center – including ROI numbersGet usable marketing information in a timely way, and translate it to increased donor loyalty<Transition – Heather introduce Jann>Thank you Heather!I have the privilege of working for Operation Smile as the Director of Donor Relations. My areas of responsibility include our Donor Relations Team, Donor Database & Gift Processing, the Resource Development Center which supports our Major Gift Team and Direct Response Marketing. While I wear many hats – all these areas touch or interact with our donors.I look forward to sharing with you today how Operation Smile has Harvested the Voice of the Donor.
  • Let me introduce you to Operation Smile. Now in our 26th year, Operation Smile has been providing free reconstructive surgery to children around the world - suffering from the physical and emotional distress, caused by cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities.During our 25 year history, we have transformed the lives of over 120,000 children.This care is delivered by Volunteers – international medical professionals – who come together and travel to areas around the world where this population is underserved.
  • At Operation Smile, the use of Direct Response marketing has expanded over the past 5 years.These efforts have dramatically increased response and revenue. At the same time, the organization noticed a rising level of “background noise” from - donors, volunteers and advocates - coming from a variety of channels.A little less than 2 years ago, we recognized the opportunity to better serve our constituents and the potential for revenue growth through harvesting the voice of our donors. So, how did we do that?
  • You know how when you arrive at an event - you stand in the doorway and all you hear is noise. <pause> A babble of voices, <pause> with no distinct personality? It can be overwhelming and difficult to hear an individual voice. For Operation Smile, we had to take that background noise and translate it into the voice of our donor. To do that, we have utilized the Operation Smile Donor First Philosophy. It is our way of turning noise into individual donor voices that we can understand, respond to, and cultivate.
  • This is our Donor First Philosophy. <Pause, allow time for reading>As you can see, our goal is to enhance engagement and make our donor’s experience as exceptional as the services we provide to children around the world.It is through this lens, putting the Donor First, that we have been able to harvest the voice of the donor - and take action based on what we have heard. This is how we got started…
  • To get the “background noise” under control, we had to gather data and review what was working and what was not – then put a plan in place to deal with what we heard.We started with all the various touch points with our donors – from who answered the phone, to our acknowledgements, and more. Then we asked these questions: is this touch point effective in communicating with the donor? And do we have a method for capturing those communications and responses?It required unraveling convoluted legacy workflows – I’m sure you know the ones - they have been around forever, and continue because it is “easy” for the organization, not necessarily what is best for the donor. <I have a doozy for you…we had an exception mail process that bounced a donor letter & donation back and forth between our former gift processing vendor and HQ 3 times and took up to 3 weeks before someone actually responded to the request. Yes – you have to review your workflows!>We also took a look at our current tool set – the materials we had available for our staff and what we had to share with our donors.We reviewed our technology – what was working, what was not effective and what was simply missing.Staffing – we had to identify not only if we had enough staff to effectively focus on the donor - but did we have the RIGHT people, who understood our objectives and had the right skill set?Changing an organizations culture is not easy and certainly not something that happens quickly. Education, information and training has helped to launch our Operation Smile Donor First Philosophy – understanding that we would not be able to transform the lives of more than 120,000 children, without the support of our generous donors and volunteers.
  • During the data gathering process, we recognized that our donor database was the common denominator across all touch points - which led us to concentrate on the database as our first step.Some examples of what wasn’t working well…(please let me know if these sound familiar??)Our database “team” consisted of one personThe database was under utilized by development staffMultiple information silo’s weren’t connected to the databaseData entry wasn’t standardized and there was a lack of a quality assurance processAnd our previous gift processing vendor provided data that was incompatible with Postal Service standards - the data required extensive manipulation prior to importIt became clear that if we could address these issues, the database would be our most important support mechanism for capturing the voice of the donor.So a Database Quality Initiative was launched. Our Donor Database Manager, Rebecca Gelinas, <WAVE> has addressed these issues and continues to work on additional enhancements.This means we have a central location for capturing high quality information from all our touch points and communication channels – and as a result - the ability to harvest the voice of the donor.
  • So let’s talk about these various touch points and channels - two literally have us speaking with the donor.Our primary acquisition channel is DRTV. For a first time caller, their phone call to the DRTV Call Center may be the only personal interaction they have with Operation Smile. Based on donor feedback, we did not have a partner that was meeting our needs. To insure these interactions meet the expectation of “Donor First” we recently changed call center vendors to improve our donor experience. I personally provide training at the call centers to establish my expectations of the “Operation Smile Donor First Philosophy”. To handle the growing number of “customer service” type phone calls, a Donor Relations team was first outsourced, and when that was not effective, a small call center was established 2 years ago at headquarters. Over the past 18 months, through the “Donor First” focus, we have changed and enhanced the role of the Donor Relations team. Donor Relations is now the primary contact and resource for the voice of the donor. Their use and documentation of ALL interactions with donors in the database has resulted in a wealth of information that we have been able to report on and use to determine future actions.
  • There are other key points – which both Angel and Heather have touched on this morning…One area that was a critical issue was our direct mail gift processing. I conducted an RFP process last year that resulted in the selection of a new gift processing vendor. Operation Smile and our vendor implementation team identified specific areas that could have substantial impact on the donor first experience. Internally, a new while mail process was implemented for both audit purposes & improved donor experience that included onsite direct deposit, scanning of all materials as well as prompt identification of comment mail for response. Our online communication with donors has been very basic. The website has primarily been a comprehensive billboard of information online, and we could take donations. As the Donor Relations team expanded their role to be the focal point for e-communications with donors we had an increasing number of requests for expanded online capabilities. To more effectively interact and communicate with donors, we created or revised many of our workflows. One that we created was our Donor Lead Strategy <next slide>
  • This workflow is to insure the voice of the donor is heard and responded to by the appropriate member of the development team. I’ve provided a simplified form here. By utilizing the expanded capabilities of our Donor Relations team to qualify donor requests, we’re better able to link our donors with team members who can best serve them.
  • So – did all this work reap any rewards? Absolutely yes.The Donor Relations Team, previously considered a cost center - now has a comprehensive Donor Loyalty & Engagement program. This includes:Our Smile Partner SAVES Program - resulting in the retention of more than 1000 donors for over $400,000 in annual revenue.They focus on Grassroots Fundraising - events raising under $2500 – This program included the creation of materials to assist our supporters in their efforts – which has brought in over $140,000 in the first half of 2008.And based on donor requests, new revenue opportunities have been identified – from our Smile Store, in lieu of gift cards and more…Again, listening to the donors, last year we launched a beta version viral marketing site - Onesmile.org - which has had a positive response from our donors. One of our student club members raised more than $25,000 on his page.And, while this may be uncomfortable for service providers in the room – we have been able to identify cost savings by eliminating unnecessary or duplicate vendor services as we better understand our workflows and processes.
  • So - based on what the donor was saying to us across all these communication channels and touch points - and that we were now able to hear because we could capture and review the information in our database - we needed to make some changes. This is where the really hard work occurred…We had to make staffing adjustments. This included moving people to teams that could better utilize their talents or growing teams that needed additional support. The goal is always to improve our ability to communicate with and respond to the donor.A Donor First Philosophy requires ongoing training. This includes training for our global development team, our vendor partners and has expanded to include our Mission Program Coordinator Academy – a true bridging of “Donor First” across the organization! Training is critical, as it leads to creating a consistent experience for the donor across all communication channels. With confidence in the data, we now have wider utilization of the Donor Database – and we continue to work on improved integration and use of The Raiser’s Edge.Fully utilizing our database has resulted in a tighter focus on DM campaigns – Rebecca, through her efforts on the database quality initiative - has effectively doubled our house file, by inclusion of underserved donors previously overlooked for direct response efforts.As mentioned a moment ago, our donors were calling for expanded online capabilities. As a result, we have tested several new services this year. In addition, utilizing ideas that we got last year, right here at the DMA conference, we formed a cross-functional integrated direct response working group - that has tested various multi-channel campaigns that have had a very positive response from our donors. And critical to our success has been collaboration with our vendor partners to continue to increase our ability to listen to and properly communicate with our donors.
  • How else has harvesting the voice of the donor been successful?We have improved our efficiency & response time for our donors - From a 48 hour lag time to Same Day Deposits – both internally and with our gift processing vendor partnerUsing 100% scanning and the implementation of ImageViewer, we’ve seen an 86% reduction in response time to donor concernsWe’ve realized an 80% improvement in Time to Acknowledge…which has directly impacted an improved revenue stream…4% of our Direct Mail revenue is now coming from our Acknowledgement Program utilizing timely second, third and fourth asks…Improved capabilities with our new call center partner, we can now capture comments & feedback from donors and we have workflows at HQ to respond to these requests. Plus, anecdotally, our Donor Relations team can tell there has been a reduction in donor concerns since our switch to our new call center.
  • As we look ahead, we continue to capture and evaluate the feedback from our donors and volunteers – constantly looking for ways to enhance services.This will be most evident in the commitment our Board of Directors has made to invest in the expansion of web services. We are adding staff to the Online and Interactive Team. The team has transitioned from the Communications Department to become an integrated part of our Development Group – recognizing the importance of online fundraising to our overall development strategy & fundraising mix.Our next big step forward will be the launch of a new online web platform supporting enhanced viral marketing and donor engagement strategies – coming this fall!We continue to explore global fundraising opportunities – for instance, we are currently creating a Canadian prospect list in our database, from donors responding to our DRTV show.And one of the most exciting changes I see across the organization is the cultural shift – demonstrated by the creation of a special team to serve our Medical Volunteers, modeled on the Donor Relations team.
  • I have a story to share with you from Bonnie, a member of the Donor Relations Team. Bonnie said: I had a great conversation with one of my grassroots fundraisers last week.  Her name is Kerry and she and her sister Loretta are doing an ongoing effort in honor of their nephew, who was born with a cleft. In the course of our conversation she said that she had done fundraising for four other national and international charities. <Relay for Life, the Boy Scouts, Make a Wish Foundation and The American Red Cross “Heroes” campaign.>Kerry said that all the other organizations she had worked with just sort of said ‘Do what you want – and send us the check.’ If she called them, no one knew who she was. Kerry shared that Operation Smile was the only organization that she had ever raised funds for, where she felt like if she had a question, she could pick up the phone and call. And when she called, she could talk to somebody who knew what she was doing and she did not have to start at the beginning with every call. Kerry said –“My sister asked a question and I didn’t know the answer, so I said I’ll call Bonnie!” I hope you all have a Bonnie on your team… As I wrap up, I have some questions for you…Are you listening to - or are you ignoring the ‘background’ noise? Are you finding a method – your own “Donor First Philosophy” - to translate the noise into the voice of the donor? And once you have listened, what are you doing to harvest the voice of the donor – so your organization can reap the rewards?I hope all of you can plant, cultivate and harvest with success - the voices of your donors!Please enjoy your Mr. Potato Head as a reminder to Harvest the Voice of Your Donor - Thank you!
  • What issues led to the RFP for keying and caging?Poor data quality, account management lack of responsiveness, length of time to receive assistance with a donor concern.Give an example of staffing changes you made to be more effective?Primary changes were moving skill sets to different teams for better alignment (the politically correct way of saying they were not a fit for their current role.) The hiring people with the right skills into the positions.What steps have you taken to adjust roles?We have established across the teams clearer roles, responsibilities and key performance indicators (KPI’s)How do you standardize your training for consistency?Materials have been developed with scripting of content. I then deliver the training with the trainers observing, and the trainer then delivers training with me watching. This can be scary – but it allows for feedback, correction and adjustment for accuracy of the message. All job aides and handouts come from Operation Smile, and I review all scripting before implementation.How has your team grown as a result of these efforts?The Database Team has grown from 1 person, to our Manager and three team members.The Donor Relations team has grown from 2.5 - 2 full time, plus one part time - to five full time including a Supervisor.What unnecessary vendor services were eliminated?We dropped some of our unused modules from Raisers Edge and duplicate online services from Blackbaud and our current web provider. For example we had a $15000 API we were maintaining, yet not using. With the implementation of 100% image scanning at Merkle Response, we were able to drop various keying services we had been doing for audit purposes.
  • Harvest The Voice of the Donor - Case Study DMANF August 2008

    1. 1. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Harvesting the Voice of the Donor Case Study Jann Schultz, Director of Donor Relations
    2. 2. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 • Founded in 1982 • Served more than 120,000 children & young adults • Free surgery provided by volunteer medical teams around the world
    3. 3. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Growth of Direct Response • Direct Mail, DRTV, Web • Noticed rising level of “background noise” of donor response across several channels • Recognized potential for revenue growth by “harvesting” these voices
    4. 4. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Background Noise into Donor Voice • Operation Smile Donor First Philosophy • Our way of translating background noise into individual voices that we can understand, respond to, and cultivate
    5. 5. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Donor First Philosophy • Examining every touch-point of the donor from their perspective, to enhance their engagement and make their experience as exceptional as the services we provide to children and families served by Operation Smile around the world
    6. 6. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Laying the Ground Work • Data gathering – ID touch points, workflows, current tools & technology – Review successes and challenges • Staffing and training • Overcoming biggest internal challenge: changing organizational culture from a single focus on the children and expand to include the donor
    7. 7. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Common Denominator? Donor Database • Under utilized • Information silos Result: • Database Quality Initiative
    8. 8. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Implementation Action Plan Planting & Sowing the Seeds Key Touch Points: • Direct Response TV Call Center • Donor Relations Call Center – HQ
    9. 9. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Implementation Action Plan Planting and Sowing the Seeds Key Touch Points: • Direct Mail Processing • HQ White Mail • Online Strategy • Workflows
    10. 10. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Operation Smile - Donor Lead Strategy Resource Development Center Regional Development Team Volunteer Chapters Student Programs Community Relations Donor Relations Team Donor Services / Information / Individual donors / Fundraising events <$2,500 Foundations and Corporations Planned Giving Fundraising Events $2501-9999 Fundraising Events >$10,000 Other Inquiries Cause Related Marketing Follow Up Process Follow Up Process Follow Up Process Follow Up Process Gift Processing & Recording, Receipts and Acknowledgements, Tributes – In Honor/Memory Donor Database Team Operation Smile Inc.
    11. 11. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Was it effective? Reaping the Rewards • Donor Loyalty & Engagement – SAVES Program – Grassroots Fundraising – New revenue opportunities • Viral Marketing Site: onesmile.org • Cost Savings - eliminated unnecessary vendor services
    12. 12. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 The next step – Cultivation • Staffing adjustments • Training • Creating a consistent donor experience • Wider utilization of Donor Database • Tighter focus on Direct Response • Expanded Online capabilities • Collaboration with vendors
    13. 13. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Was it effective? Reaping the Rewards • Improved efficiency & response – Same Day Deposits – 80% Improvement in Time to Acknowledge – 4% DM Revenue from Second Ask Acknowledgement Program – 86% Improvement in Problem Solving Response Time • Reduction in Donor Concerns
    14. 14. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Planting for Future Harvests • Enhanced donor services • New online platform – Engagement paths & segmentation based on donor requests – Improved viral fundraising program • Expanded global fundraising • Medical Missions Team using Donor Relations model for cultivation of medical volunteers
    15. 15. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Harvesting the Voice of the Donor
    16. 16. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Jann Schultz, Director of Donor Relations jann.schultz@operationsmile.org 757.321.7645 +1 757.593.6560 Twitter: jannschultz LinkedIn: Jann Schultz
    17. 17. 2008 NY Nonprofit Conference August 14-15 Questions