Public Media, Analytics & Insights, Digital Marketing, Direct Mail

Learn how you can blaze your own trail and experience improvements in your fundraising program. Hear how four stations found success by stepping off the traditional path and…

  1. Reframed their program offering and leveraged their uniqueness in the market to connect with donors and prospects.
  2. Increased acquisition response rates by more than 50%.
  3. Broke new ground using an innovative fundraising technology that yielded 130% ROI the first time out of the gate!
  4. Timed each effort of a campaign to generate a BIG revenue increase.

Slide Deck Download


Brett: Hello, I’m Brett Jones with the Allegiance Group. Welcome to Blaze Your Own Trail. I hope you all have enjoyed the conference as much as I have. Before we get started, I would like to ask you. If you have any questions at any time during the presentation to please put them in the chat box. I’d like to begin by introducing our speakers today. Shari Bernsen, the Director of Development at PBS12 and my colleagues from the Allegiance Group, Leanne Barkley, Amy Houke, and JC Bouvier.

Today, you’re going to hear stories about how four public media stations succeeded in customizing their fundraising programs by leveraging what makes them unique in their market, by getting their file pull criteria right, introducing a new digital channel, and implementing email file maintenance. First today you’ll hear from Shari and JC.

Shari: Thanks so much, Brett. I’m Shari Bernsen with PBS12 in Denver, Colorado, and it’s really great to be here and see some folks there in the side of the screen and hoping to see people next year. PBS12 has a 40-year history and is a PDP station in an overlap market with RMPBS.

So that means that we have access to 25% of the NPS schedule. So the station has always been open to other programming opportunities. And music has been a part of PBS12’s very lifeblood since the beginning. Some of the station’s first productions involved shooting local bands, and the station was able to acquire music videos from the music industry free of charge starting six months before MTV signed on and produced two music video series that ran almost 20 years.

And currently we have two great local shows in our schedule that really focus on local talent, music and comedy talent. So the station has been promoting events since the beginning as well. And in 2004, we started promoting concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater. And this has grown into a lineup of annual concerts featuring Brit Floyd, 1964 and other tribute acts.

And of course, music is one of our most popular pledge genres. And given our roots, the station has been leveraging tickets for membership really, just about since the beginning. So we had ticket buyers and then we had ticket pledgers. And so we had never really mingled the two together. And then we really had to look at how are we really going to create a true integrated approach, especially since we were starting to move into the digital space.

So at the same time that the PDP stations in the system gained access to Passport, PBS12 changed CRMs and quickly began this move into digital. And we rebranded the station as PBS12 to really help us leverage the PBS brand. So, then I was able to connect with the Allegiance Fundraising Team and they just really got us.

They got our differentiation, they got our different opportunities, including the music genre and also the other unique services that we bring to the Colorado market. And they also brought an expertise and technology to the table that really helped us create this more integrative approach to tap into digital opportunities while also revamping our mail program and our on-air messaging.

To tell you more, here’s my colleague JC.

JC: Yes. Thank you, Shari. And thanks to the PMDMC team and to the audience here. It’s great to see all the chat going on while we’re going through these slides. I think you did a great job summing up how we got to be working together Shari, and that’s really been an exciting process.

I wanted to just quickly call out that the slides you’re about to be taken through are largely focused on digital. But we work very closely with the direct response team at the Allegiance Group, and there’s a lot of terrific work going on, including a 3-drop newsletter that PBS12 calls The Beacon, that’s really helping to drive the fundraising goals for the station.

I think overall there were just so many opportunities and Shari, you came to the table really wanting to figure out a way to increase the amount of digital activity that was happening and really trying to figure out a way to incorporate the music program that has been such a terrific element for PBS12.

Do you want to talk a little bit about your perspective on the other music program and how you were thinking about incorporating it?

Shari: Sure. Well, I think rather than just looking at these folks as ticket buyers, we had to look at these folks as really indirect supporters of the station, even though they hadn’t been in our regular chain of communications for solicitations or trying to move them down the funnel.

So since this had been going on for 2004, we had to really dig into these files that were managed in another database. And really come together more as a station for how we were going to really leverage these great constituents who many of them were actually participating with us through these live concerts for 20 years.

Seriously, these folks love these acts, and it was just a way to take that affinity and just really grow that affinity and their connection to the station.

JC: Yeah. And so that became a working mantra on the Allegiance Group side, where it was “come for the tickets and stayed for the programs” and figuring out a way to engage these prior ticket buyers in a way that would start to really introduce them to the mission of PBS12.

And what we did was really come together around the idea of a strategy for digital that was about growing the house file while also cleaning the house file. So for prior ticket reactivation we really started working with the amazing market that had been assembled by way of your data Shari, to design a reactivation program and you’ll see that on the next, slide. It’s fairly, intense, but it’s also been very successful. But in this particular case prior ticket buyers was really a growth opportunity as well.

So we’re, cleaning what was a historic file that PBS12 had, but we’re also saying, okay what’s there to reactivate. And so we went through that process.

Shari: And then since we hadn’t really gotten to the point where we put both feet into the digital space, we had a backlog of PBS prospects.

That was a wonderful opportunity to also bring them into the mix and get them engaged with PBS12, as well.

JC: Yeah, that’s right. And as everybody working at a PBS station knows, PBS Prospects are the program that PBS has set up to capture folks who come in through or through a PBS app or an over the Pop smart TV app. And they basically are just signaling that they’re interested in becoming affiliated with the regional station.

And so that PBS makes those leads available to each station for import into the house file. So what we’ve been doing is working to create a welcome series to help onboard those leads as quickly as possible. And we’ll talk about that on the next slide. And then sticking with that growth theme, we’ve really been proactive in pre-year end Facebook paid lead acquisition.

And the idea being that we can build the file while also try to drive some other elements through Facebook’s algorithm, which has been very successful on a number of fronts.

Shari: We also had a great social media following to begin with, so that really helped us.

Yeah, it’s absolutely true. The stronger the social following, obviously the better your penetration will be. So that’s really terrific. What we’re looking at here is really it looks a little weedy, but we’re not going to go weeding. This is just an overview of our marketing automation journey that we built for the PBS prospects that PBS12 had on file and that we could work with. A lot of decision points.

I think it really shows the scale and power of the possibilities of marketing automation in that we’re able to speak to a huge number of people, but at the right place, in the right time, in their individual journey. And Shari, do you want to talk a little bit about the total numbers, did you mention that on the previous segment?

With our previous ticket buyers, going back five years, Allegiance was able to identify 11,000 unique leads for us. So that showed that, wow, this is a pipeline for other people to come in and really participate with the station. So they ran that through the welcome series. We then had 3,700 people opt-in from that segment. And that combined with the prospect efforts, et cetera, what has happened is it’s helped us really form now a lead culture as part of our station and part of our development activities for how we’re really going to zero in and grow our membership base.

JC: Yeah. And that lead culture that you’re making reference to is so important. And I think as you go across all your opportunities as a station and you start to think about okay where can I utilize data from people who are telling you that they want to be included in your messaging streams, how do you start to really think about that as a file growth opportunity and continue to work on the hygiene side as well? So thanks for that Shari. This is a much more linear view of a marketing automation program. This one for the PBS prospect welcome series, I should mention that these grads are actually taken directly from our Salesforce Marketing Cloud instance.

And that was one of the other great stories we’re able to tell now about how we utilize Marketing Cloud, which is a very powerful tool for both sending email and automating email and gathering reporting. But it’s also something that most stations either can’t afford or may not necessarily have the expertise to operate.

And so one of the reasons why you might hire an agency like the Allegiance Group is to operate and bring this kind of tool set to the table. In any event the PBS prospect welcome series has been showing some really terrific movement from the prospects themselves. And we’re seeing strong open, click-through and low unsubscribe rates.

And that is a direct correlation to how quickly those leads are onboarded. So ideally, and in most cases, we’re trying to do that as quickly as possible. The reality is it’s never too late really to start onboarding those leads. So if you’re not engaging with PBS prospects, that’s no reason not to consider it.

It’s really something that I think is a wellspring that’s going to continue to refill as everybody encounters

Shari: And that’s a good point about it not being too late. As I said, we had had this backlog of prospects just waiting and Allegiance turned around and delivered 15,000 qualified leads to us out of the stockpile that we had.

And it was almost like we didn’t believe it to begin with, but those are some really great leads that really need your attention if you don’t have your eye on them yet.

JC: Yeah. So hopefully you’re running some sort of series along these lines. Let’s take a little deeper look into that.

This is just unpacking a little bit of what the welcome series automation actually delivers to individual PBS prospects. And so this is an initial email that’s really just giving a hug to the folks who were saying I’m going to join. You get a a welcome letter from PBS12 on the first send. It’s a 13-day series that delivers the three emails.

The second of which really points to digital assets that are available on and points to streaming opportunities. And then the third email is typically an ask to really make the case for giving for the station and really describe the mission in more detail and also to start to give some idea of what they can expect over the course of their engagement with the station.

And so once that series has completed, only the opted in leads are returned to PBS12 for further cultivation from the house file communications. Shari, anything to add to any of that?

Shari: No, I think that encapsulated it really well. All of these initiatives really took us to a whole new level with our operations, with even how we were conducting some of our meetings internally, how we were starting to shift our different goals.

And it became really exciting to look at all of this different potential and then to also have the resources just helped me, the volume of the communications, the creative and everything, the management of it through the Cloud, et cetera, to really be able to execute that and being a small shop, it’s been really great. We’ve been really happy so far. And then also just having that added insight. I, do appreciate so many vendors in the system because they bring in so much other knowledge and perspective that I know it’s really helped our station and helped us expand our view.

Brett: JC, Mary Kate actually has a question that that I think is might be on a lot of people’s minds that I wanted to share. So she asked if this would be a good strategy for a small station of 2,000 members.

JC: Yeah. At the very least, I would say the lead culture and really thinking about how you’re onboarding the PBS prospects in particular, but certainly a small test for Facebook Paid Lead Acquisition. And keeping an eye out for those other areas, whether that’s small events or regular, even larger events that your station may be having that you could utilize to really gather that first connecting point from the digital side, which is mainly email address. Email address in contrast to direct response channels like mail is a really lightweight data point that you can capture and start your relationship with individual potential donors.

And so that’s the way I would be thinking about it. You may not scale up to something that’s quite on the order of PBS12’s size, but most mail programs like MailChimp or Constant Contact are capable of basic marketing automation activities. And so I would look into that.

Winter 2021 lead generation for PBS12. I think this has been an amazing activity that we’ve been running for stations. But PBS12 has been knocking it out of the park and particularly again, really focusing on the insight that we were able to work with Shari to surface around the access to these shows.

This is a pretty candid picture of Red Rocks and Shari, I don’t know, maybe you took it, but it’s a great shot of the venue. And I think for folks in the market, they recognize it almost instantly in the offer was really about trying to impart that unique access that PBS12 was offering. And so it’s really been a compelling ad and it was a compelling ad I should say, during the winter series. And then at the same time, there’s a terrific affinity for PBS programs like Hemingway. And so that really together has been a terrific combination and I think helped to work with the rebranding, the PBS12 to bring value to that rebrand as, it was rolled out into the market. And so overall this program outperformed 4,000 unique leads that cost well below our projection. So, really a success story.

And at the same time I think when we came into the conversation with PBS12 and Shari and team, we were expecting more of a focus on music, but the reality was that the PBS12 programming has been the most popular in at least the Facebook advertising. And I think that’s just, again, an affirmation of the affinity for PBS.

The regional station at PBS12 and then in this case, international programming that PBS12’s making available to the region. And I just want to make mention just the amazing interactions in Facebook for what is essentially paid advertising. People just, almost gushing about the station and their love of the programming and their love of their local station, PBS12.

Just it’s been a good experience across the board. Shari, do you want to add anything to that one?

Shari: Well, I was just thinking for us to see the Red Rocks and the Hemingway and All Creatures Great and Small really blend together is really wonderful. It tells us that what we’re providing to the market does have its distinction, but it’s really part of our bigger brand and the importance of what we do and how we really service the communities that we’re in.

So we’ve been really happy with this. And we’re building on it as we speak, actually.

JC: Just a quick update on PBS12’s progress we’ve seen some terrific performance in that prior ticket buyer reactivation series with more than 30% of those ticket buyers are activating as Shari was mentioning.

As we track towards the fiscal year goals, we’re tracking very well. And so again, outperforming which is obviously the goal. And then another bright spot in renewals with over 85% of revenue projected with several months remaining in the program. Again, Shari, I can’t say enough and what a pleasure it’s been working with you, and we’re really thrilled to have you as a client, and so I really appreciate you taking the time here, but if you’ve got any final words, please.

Shari: Well, thanks so much. As I mentioned, the Allegiance team has been really great to work with and the two lead gen campaigns we’ve done in the Facebook space were highlighted from last winter, and then also the fall. And we’ve actually repivoted, and we’re going to be doing another lead gen around music starting next week. The concert season is very hot. The digital space is showing so many people are searching tickets, searching events. So we’re really excited to see the performance for this third campaign, and then we’ve got more planned for next fiscal year as well.

We don’t start our fiscal year until October. So working on that and thanks so much and thanks to the Allegiance team.

JC: Yes. And so one last slide as far as a capstone on the section here, just to read the case study if you like, and you’re a QR code fan, you can scan it now and that will load the case study.

You’ll see this again at the end of the presentation, but really thanks to everybody for your patience and your time this afternoon, really appreciate it. And with that, I’ll hand it over to Amy Houke. Who’s going to talk to you a little bit about audience targeting.

Amy: Hi everybody, my name is Amy Houke with Allegiance Group.

Our next case study comes to us from trailblazer KCTS, which is the public television station in Seattle. They were willing to dive a little deeper with us into what I would consider a not so fun subject area, that of suppression files. We’ll take some time here for a collective eye-roll among anyone who deals with data at their station.

When we think about audience selection, and that’s kind of where my area of work is, we tend to think about the list that we rent, what recency will we use on our house file, which prospects segments make sense to combine with which offer, things like that. But it’s also just as important to think about who we don’t mail and why. So this case study really delves into that and helps us see what the impact is of taking a little bit of time to have a conversation. So who receives your appeal in the mail can account for 60% of the success. And I also have to say, or the failure of your campaign. And perhaps the reason that we don’t have a lot of discussion around this topic or that much thought or strategy is given to it, is it seems to be just another checkbox to do item on a data person’s list.

They’re fulfilling lots of file requests, daily, weekly, pretty aggressive schedule. And perhaps the reason the strategy’s missing is because development teams and data teams are not communicating at the station. I’m sure that’s not the problem at your station, but I have heard that it can be a problem at some stations.

So let’s start the discussion off by what some of the implications are when your suppressed file does not consist of who it’s supposed to consist of. If I had to categorize the implications into two categories or buckets, if you will, I would put them into a cost bucket and a results bucket.

I would say those are arguably the two factors that weigh most heavily into your acquisition success or failure. Both of them have a direct impact on your net revenue. So they’re both equally important. But let’s talk first about cost. When you suppress people who should not be suppressed, you spend a lot of money to rent names that you will simply throw away in the merge purge process.

I don’t know about you, but to me that feels a little bit wasteful. We already can gulp at the amount of names that we lose each and every merge purge to very legitimate suppression to the duplication you see between the prospect files that you rent. So we just don’t want to waste any more names than we have to. Your acquisition, if you look at all the costs involved in producing and mailing acquisition mail, you’ve got production and letter shop print production, postage, which is always a cost. None of that is much that we have much control over. But one thing we do have control over is how many names we have to buy, and that is kind of the point of making sure that your suppressed file is accurate. So the second area that’s impacted by incorrect suppression is results. That is key, critical, obviously. It’s hard to imagine we’d ever want to keep legitimate prospects from hearing from you, but that’s exactly what you do when you over suppress.

I actually kind of get a visual in my mind when I think about it, of locking the mailboxes of people who are potentially excellent prospects for membership. And that’s kind of scary to think about.

So what does a correct suppress file look like? I guess that would be an important question to answer. I’m going to overview the basics. Depending on your station and the different codes you retain for your members, there could be additional groups of people who need to be on your suppress file, but if I had to break it down into four big groups, we’ll look at that from a very basic standpoint. Clearly anyone who’s a current member, an active member, those are a given. Then we look at those who have lapsed recently enough that they’re either in your renewal series currently, or you are actively mailing them as part of your lapsed efforts.

So as soon as they fall out of those last efforts, though, they need to be released from your suppress file. That’s critical. And I think that’s a big place where we find that we are over-suppressing, people who their life stage may have changed, they may have lapsed for one reason or another, but if you’re not trying to recapture them, give them a chance to be re-reached, if you will, through your acquisition mail. Of course, you need to suppress anyone who’s asked to not get mail. We would caution you though to take a little time with these records. Evaluate all of your do not mail flags to be sure the person should really be a do not mail.

It’s good to occasionally kind of do an audit of these records. Maybe contact them, see if this is still their wish. Release as many of them as you can. And lastly, any prospects in your database that you’re mailing should be suppressed, but if you don’t mail prospects or you have some segments of your prospects that you don’t mail, these would be volunteers, event attendees, people with some other affiliation to the station, but not actual members, then don’t suppress them. If you’re not mailing them elsewhere, let them be included in your mail file. Because ultimately, if you’re receiving them in acquisition mail rentals, it means that they’re giving to other organizations, they’re active, they’re still at their current address, and we want to make sure that your pieces in their mailbox as well. Arguably they’resome of your best prospects. And sometimes we hear clients say, I don’t want to pay to rent names that I already have. It makes sense on the surface but it really doesn’t work that way. You’ll pay to rent the names anyway, and you’ll end up just throwing them away.

So, I kind of just wanted to take a pause and call out two quick tips just to highlight them and make sure that if you get nothing else out of today that you remember these. One, we’ve kind of already discussed, pay attention to those do not mail flags. I think people get coded this in your database for so many different reasons.

Your customer service team is receiving complaint calls or just a call that maybe is not exactly a complaint and to be safe, they flag them as do not mail. So it could be various reasons. I think training and education and customer service goes a really long way to make sure that people are not being miscoded and again, having their mailboxes locked from you forever. Because what we find is once you’ve coded them that they stay that way forever and ever, and you’ve not really taken into account the fact that something might’ve changed. So, important to communicate with them.

The second tip I wanted to call out, in our research, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking and research on this for a number of years. We find that some of what might be included in a suppress file is that someone in the process of making an online donation began to enter their information, stepped away for one reason or another and abandoned the page.

Maybe they had to step away and grab their credit card. Maybe they got sidetracked with a phone call. Either way, the page was abandoned, but if you got their name and address, sometimes that still actually captured. And they’re in your database as something, maybe not as a member, obviously, but as a record and those are getting suppressed when in fact, I would argue those are your best prospects. They actually had the intention of becoming a member and somehow got sidetracked. I definitely want to encourage you to be sure that you’re communicating with these donation page abandoners. That’s a topic for another session.

But for today’s topic, let’s just stick with the fact that we want to make sure that they’re not getting suppressed. If you’re not mailing them in some other way, that they’re not being suppressed from acquisition.

Lastly, certainly not least, really the most important thing I would say, is what was the impact for KCTS on their results? We just really want to highlight here some of the main metrics that we were able to look at. These all represent goals that we had for the change. It did take a lot of work on the station’s part to spend a lot of time with us and spend a lot of time with their data team to dig deep into their very old queries that hadn’t been evaluated or reviewed in quite some time. So we’re thankful to KCTS for being willing to invest the time with us for something that ended up being very impactful. So the impact on results, in terms of cost and response, they were I would say they’re huge.

First of all, naturally, since KCTS was no longer suppressing so many people, they retained more names in the merge. To put it another way, they paid for 48% fewer names that were unnecessary that were going to get thrown away anyway. This also of course then naturally lowered their list costs.

There was a 38% decrease in list costs. And most importantly, they saw an increase of 51% in response, and it doubled the revenue they brought in, for every thousand pieces they mailed, that doubled. So when we couple cost savings with a pretty remarkable increase in response rate and revenue, we see a pretty drastic move in the right direction for KCTS’s acquisition mail, and it was very exciting to celebrate with them.

So again, we’d invite you to scan the QR code that you see on your screen. Or if you can jot down the shortened web address there, you can read the full case study in depth on KCTS’s success and their trailblazing. Our next trailblazing case study is for Alabama Public Television and brought to you by Leanne Barkley.

Leanne: I’m Leanne Barkley, and I’m going to talk about Alabama Public Television and how we’ve been using SMS for them for the last six or nine months or so.

So texting has been a hot topic this year, especially with inbound texting and being incorporated into pledge. But APT, they were interested in doing a little bit more and they want to take their experience with texting one step further.

And it all just started with a simple conversation. The director of membership called me one day and she said, I know this is happening for on air, but I really want to try more. And by more, what she meant is really peer to peer texting, which is when the station initiates the text message by sending it out to donors.

So for Alabama, we started on this journey of developing an ongoing program. And we started by looking at renewals. And renewals just seemed like the natural place to start. It’s a program we run monthly for them. And because SMS affords incredible flexibility in terms of how we segment and message and the timing, we were really able to develop a phased approach that allowed us to try different things for a short period of time in renewals, and then really reassess, recalibrate and try again.

So in our phase one of testing, which was just a three-month period that ran in April, May and June, we tested SMS in three different efforts. And the structure was built in a way that ensured that donors would only receive one renewal text. So even though we were sending in three efforts, we isolated it and made sure that we weren’t inundating folks with messages, they would only receive one.

And we first opted to send messages in effort one, really with the goal of seeing more early renewals. And we wanted to help the station to try to save on costs by having folks respond either through text or through other channels and pull them out of that renewal cycle early. And as the slide reads, we saw a 5% response rate and a 650% return on investment within this three-month testing period in effort one.

But we also wanted to try effort four, which for Alabama, this is month 13 or one month after membership expiration. Month 12 sort of seems like a natural point of testing as well for your own station if you’re interested, but for Alabama it just didn’t make sense. Thirteen is what makes sense for us. So we were really pleased with the results.

You can see here, 3% response and 340% return on investment. But we also wanted to try effort seven, which was the last effort in Alabama’s renewal series. And we knew we’d see the softest response here. But the thought behind this timing was that we wanted to see how donors would respond if we reserved that text, using it as a last-ditch effort, a cleanup effort allowing all the other channels, mail and email to work as they normally do.

So that we were really minimizing the number of fundraising text messages that any person might receive over the course of their relationship with the station. Here you can see that we saw a 1.8% response which did meet our expectations and 149% return on investment.

Phase two is happening now with readjusted strategy a bit. We initially, when we developed this program, we thought, okay, we really want to just send one message to folks in the course of the series, but because we’re seeing such good response and we’re seeing opt-out rates right where we want to see them as we enter phase two, we’re going to drop effort seven, but we’re actually going to continue with efforts one and four over the next three months.

And we are going to now allow folks to receive up to two messages and we’re going to keep our eye on the opt-out rates to see what happens. And we can always pull back again. SMS affords such flexibility that as we continue to work through this, see how it fits into the program, learn a little bit more, we’re able to just adjust course, really on short notice.

So we have been working on the renewals. And then in addition to that, we started to look at how we could integrate SMS as part of the larger campaigns.

So we developed a strategy that would go along with the March campaign from this past year. And we developed a strategy that would target sustainers and 0–24-month donors.

And we kicked off this campaign by sending a Valentine’s Day text message. And we did this because it was the first SMS campaign that was going out to this larger audience, so we wanted to really test the water, make sure folks were comfortable receiving these messages by allowing them to opt out of receiving any messages before we ever sent a fundraising ask, and then at the same time, priming them for ask later in the campaign. So we started with this stewardship message to this larger group. And we had an 88% message delivery rate. We were happy to see that because Alabama had a ton of phone numbers on file, but the truth was, we didn’t know before we went out with this campaign, which phones were cell phones or which phones were landlines. So we went through this process of a cell phone verification so that we could flag which phone numbers were indeed mobile phone numbers. And that was successful.

We had that 88% delivery rate, which was nice to see. We also saw a 5% opt out rate which was again, great to see below the 6.7% benchmark that you usually see for an initial text like this. And because this is peer to peer, you have agents on the back end who can respond to donors where they actually reply to messages.

We did see some responses come back in, mostly from sustainers and they were mostly just replying with equally kind words of thanks.

So when it came to the actual fundraising asks, we used a couple of different strategies. For sustainers, we sent a pre-drive campaign to those giving $60 or more, and of course, asking them to support the campaign. And we know that just a small percentage of sustainers actually make additional gifts, so our goal was really to send the message early, one day before drive in hopes that it would resonate and help inspire response really through any channel. We weren’t expecting them to make a gift right directly to this message.

But our hope was maybe it would lift response overall over the course of the campaign. For the 0–24-month donors, we waited to send the message until the end of drive. And we split this audience into two groups, sending half a message on the very last day of drive, while the other half received a message two days later.

And we expected that the timing of the message received on the last day of drive would see the best response, which it did. But we were also concerned that there’d be a handful of donors who might’ve prematurely opt out because they, might’ve received the message and said, well, wait a minute, I already sent my gifted didn’t you get it. So we reserved this chunk of the audience for two days later to allow Alabama to really process those gifts, to make sure that we could really suppress folks who had already responded to the campaign.

So overall we saw a 180% return on investment for this campaign.

Renewal cycle donors did see the best response with a two and a half percent response rate in the $108 average gift. And 14% of them renewed with a sustainer conversion gift, right through this text message. Responses for the 0–24-month group was just under a half a percent, but keep in mind that overall this was a cleanup effort.

We waited to send these messages until the last day of drive or two days later and we really were targeting only those who hadn’t given. So again, SMS affords great flexibility. You can really wait to the very last minute to pull your data files that you need, and really make sure that you’re only targeting those that you intend to, in this case, those who didn’t make a gift.

So, lower response rate, but we still generated positive net revenue. And these are donors who might not have otherwise made a gift to the campaign.

That was the March campaign, so what’s next for APT? We’re doing some more testing this fall. We’re going out with messages to a variety of segments and the mix of messages, and the timing will really depend on the donors’ membership status and giving level. Folks will receive either two or three messages, again, depending on their circumstances, where they are, how much they give, if they’re active or lapsed, and we’re going to open up in the same type of cadence as we did with the March campaign.

So we’re going to make sure that we’re first sending a stewardship message of some kind before we ever make an ask. And we plan to send a MemberCard focused message. So APT offers a MemberCard to donors giving $120 or more. So for those who give at that level, we’re going to send them a message that reminds them of this benefit and directs them to the website where they can learn more about the savings they could earn this fall when they shop.

We’re also going to send out a passport focused message to donors who qualify. Sometime in September when the new American Public Television Exchange content drops, we’ll let folks know that’s available to them and we’ll try to generate excitement. And we’ll send even a message to some recently lapsed folks to see if we can get them to renew, given that this new content is available.

And lastly, Alabama’s fiscal year ends in September, so we’re going to do that last-ditch effort type of strategy again. Right at the end of the month, we will collect a data file of folks who haven’t made a gift, and we’ll send them a message right at the end of the month, asking if they could support, make a gift by midnight to help Alabama reach their goal.

So these messages that are going to start deploying next month, will run in through September. So I obviously don’t have results to share today, but please feel free to reach out probably in October, if you’re interested in learning more to see how this campaign did.

And that’s it for me. Here’s the QR code for anybody looking to learn a little bit more about that renewal phase one, because we’re just getting into phase two, but phase one of APT’s texting and renewals. And next you’ll hear from Brett. She’s going to talk a little bit about KING FM.

Brett: Great. Thanks, Leanne. So as Leanne just mentioned, our last story today is about KING FM. So KING is a classical station in Seattle. And we’re going to look at their email reactivation today.

So on the surface of it, when you’re doing an email, I know, it seems tempting to just email all available addresses, there would be no harm in that, the more people that you ask, it seems like the more revenue that you should bring in. But the reality is that even not having direct mail costs and all of that, there is a hidden cost to not doing maintenance and targeting on your email file. So KING FM has been on an ongoing basis doing quite a bit of maintenance on their mail file.

So one way that Allegiance was able to assist them was through email reactivation. So email reactivation is a really important way that you can maintain your email. It’s a process in which you confirm with people on your email list that they want to keep getting email from you. And then you only retain those who do by eliminating those non-responsive email addresses.

What you end up doing is uncovering more accurate performance metrics, so you can make better and more strategic decisions about your email programs. Then in the end the only people that you’re targeting in your email reactivation are people who are not opening your emails. That might include active donors, which might sound a little crazy, but these are people who are not engaging with your emails anyway.

So here you can see an example of KING FM’s email reactivation creative. The message is very clear that the email is about email reactivation and nothing to do with our membership.

Brett: Recipients can then decide if they want to stay on your email list or not. This particular effort was ahead of the calendar year end campaign, but it is something that we recommend doing on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

So after we did this particular email reactivation campaign we went into their calendar year end email series, which ran right before Giving Tuesday through January. The series included a combination of stewardship and fundraising appeals. It included sustainers, actives, lapsed and their non-donor prospects as well.,

So you can see here, we were thrilled with the results. So we added two deployments to the series, and yet we still had fewer sends. And that was all because of the email reactivation. We were really able to home in on what their core email audience was, which was terrific.

The more effective strategy and audience resulted in a substantial improvement in their results compared to the prior year. So in order to continue with this traction, we’re going to keep doing reactivation on an ongoing basis quarterly.

So as with all of the stories that we’ve looked at today, we have a Bitly here, but all of these case studies are available on Allegiance’s website, which is

And so I don’t see any additional questions in the chat.

So if there are no more questions, then I just want to end by thanking everybody for joining us today. I’d like to thank all of our speakers, Shari, JC, Amy, and Leanne. And thank you to PMDMC for allowing us the opportunity to present to you today.