The marketing landscape is constantly changing. What worked last year isn’t guaranteed to work again, and just because something didn’t work last year doesn’t mean it won’t this year. With all these changes, it’s hard to develop a winning strategy year after year.
Tammy Flynn, director of philanthropy at PCF, said, “It’s so complicated in today’s world: targeting people, finding people, being where people are. I’ve been in marketing a long time, and the whole landscape has changed.”
One of the larger shifts is from traditional media to social media. But even social media best practices tend to shift on a weekly basis.
“It seems like they change the algorithm on Facebook every five minutes,” Flynn said. “You spend all this time building up your audience, and now you have to pay Facebook to even reach your own audience. It is just an insane world to try to get your message out.”
But as an experienced and successful marketer, Flynn knew that the solution had to be holistic instead of through one magic bullet. Flynn said, “So I started to do research into multichannel marketing — it was all new. And as I started to look at companies, Feathr reached out to me.”
Slim budgets and large lists
PCF was in a unique position as a small team with a lot of contacts. The foundation has established deep trust in their community, and this has led to an expanding email list of interested donors and supporters. But the problem now became how to cost-effectively engage with all these supporters.
“We’re so small, we couldn’t afford many email solutions that charged per email sent. So that was really appealing about Feathr — that we could send a high volume of emails at a reasonable cost. And it worked really well!”
Though email may have started the conversation, Flynn wasn’t looking simply for an email platform. She wanted to follow up with website visitors through retargeting ad campaigns, and she wanted to find new audiences by targeting mobile devices at specific GPS locations.
Give Local 757!
757 is the area code for PCF’s community. And the Give Local 757 initiative has become a significant day for local nonprofits as they raise support.
“In the first year of the initiative, 90% of the nonprofits that participated weren’t even on social media,” Flynn said. “It’s unbelievable to imagine that just nine years ago so many of the nonprofits in our region weren’t on social media. And they certainly weren’t raising money online.”
This past year, Flynn wanted to highlight the amazing stories of the people impacted by nonprofits PCF was partnered with for Give Local 757. So she built an email campaign sharing seven individual stories in the week leading up to the giving day.
Some of the emails linked out to compelling videos about the specific missions potential donors could support while others dove straight into the story through engaging and powerful copy. By harnessing the power of story, Flynn was able to show potential donors the impact they could make on a neighbor’s life.
The third email in the series highlights Sam’s journey. After being wounded during service in Vietnam, he spent years in and out of homelessness. Recently he’s found stability, support, and encouragement through one of PCF’s partners, the Housing Development Corporation of Hampton Roads.
$360k in one big day for Virginia nonprofits
Altogether the geofencing, retargeting, and email campaigns brought in over $360,000 for local nonprofits in Virginia. And this is only half of the story.
Flynn said, “Doing the geofencing, doing other email campaigns, ads on Facebook — all of these things, over the past nine months or so, have tripled our email base. We have 66,000 contacts in our network now — that’s something we would have never been able to do or buy or accumulate in that short an amount of time.”
With these added contacts, Flynn is looking forward to getting even more out of campaigns by casting a much wider net.
Even smaller initiatives have a greater chance for impact; PCF’s new monthly newsletter has increased to over 13,000 viewers — something Flynn largely attributes to the added awareness she gained through Feathr campaigns.
“I don’t know all the technology,” Flynn said. “I don’t know all the terms. I mean I’m really still learning.” And this comes from someone who brought $360,000 of funding to nonprofits in her community!