Summary of Services of MagnifyGood to Center for Disaster Philanthropy 2016

Summary of Services of MagnifyGood to Center for Disaster Philanthropy 2016

Posted on January 09, 2017 by Robert G. Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Editor’s Note: As a partner of Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), The Patterson Foundation (TPF) is always seeking ways to help it expand its presence and its fundraising. To this end, TPF supported CDPs work with MagnifyGood, a firm specializing in using strategic communications and social media to impact change and connect with new donors. In short, a way to align the efforts of the donor development and communications functions within nonprofits. The result has been a cultural change within the organization. Enjoy reading this case study by the CEO of Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Bob Ottenhoff.



Thanks to a generous grant from The Patterson Foundation, we retained the services of the communications consulting firm MagnifyGood. Over the course of the past twelve months, MagnifyGood has provided a wide range of services that have included everything from helping us write a job description and hire our first full-time Director of Marketing and Communications, support for graphic design and copy editing, marketing automation vendor reviews, long-range marketing planning, and big picture strategy development. They have also helped us develop three personas for our target markets, helped us reframe and refine new content offerings, and supported the creation of fully automated email campaigns. Every step of the way, they kept us focused on measurable outcomes and long-term opportunities.

In addition to launching CDPs first full automated email campaign, they provided CDP with the processes, tools, templates—and ultimately confidence—to take our marketing and communication efforts to the next level. We are already further segmenting and better engaging our constituencies on our other key initiatives.

This report details the initial outcomes and impact of the CDPs collaboration with MagnifyGood (MG) on the CDPs global refugee crisis campaign and an effort to encourage more financial support and engagement.


Engage institutional donors and high net worth individuals in CDPs global refugee crisis efforts through a targeted communication strategy that will serve as a template for future development efforts.


  • Gain the attention of prospective donors to alert them to existing funding possibilities within disaster philanthropy.
  • Engage institutional and high net worth donors before disasters occur.
  • Familiarize prospective donors about CDPs work in order to generate a greater depth of knowledge about the organization.
  • Engage prospective donors in communications-based activities that build relationships with the organization.
  • Use this campaign as a template for future communications and development efforts.

Measurable Outcomes and Impact (10/27/16 – 12/12/16)
A little more than six weeks after the launch of the refugee crisis campaign on October 27, we are already seeing the results of our work with MagnifyGood:

1. Growth of constituent base
Since we began using Hatchbuck, the automation marketing vendor, on September 1, CDPs contact list has grown 22% around the following content themes:

  • 42% Hurricane Matthew
  • 32% State of Disaster Philanthropy
  • 18% Disaster Philanthropy Playbook
  • 4% Refugee Crisis

2. Refinement of messaging and constituent profiles
With MagnifyGood’s guidance and content/design support, CDP developed three personas, three in-depth content offerings, three Hatchbuck form templates, six landing/thank you web pages, and eleven targeted email templates. By reframing our expertise and carefully selecting our constituents, we’ve seen an increase in the engagement of our high net worth personas.

Average email stats for five of the eleven refugee emails that have deployed are well above nonprofit industry benchmarks:

  • Open rate: 38% (benchmark: 22%)
  • Click-through rate: 14% (benchmark: 9%)
  • Bounce rate: 1% (benchmark: 9%)

While early in the campaign, we’ve seen our content downloaded as follows:

3. Duplication of campaign process and workflow
With the launch of the campaign still recent, we haven’t yet duplicated the established process and workflow. However, we plan to kick off 2–3 similar content marketing campaigns around the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook and the Early Recovery Fund in 2017. We also have the opportunity to leverage those who download the State of Disaster Philanthropy by sending them the Refugee Crisis Campaign.

4. Expansion of future outreach opportunities and campaigns
CDP has deepened engagement with and increased the size of our core constituency by implementing new tools and processes as follows:

  • Using tag actions in emails, newsletters, forms, and web page tracking, we’re building and refining contact data around key initiatives: Playbook, Early Recovery Fund, State of Disaster Philanthropy, Gulf Coast Resilience Innovation Fund, etc., for use in future development efforts. For example, we went from having very little information on State of Disaster Philanthropy users to having a list of 181 contacts.
  • CDP worked with Foundation Center to implement Hatchbuck download/contact form for the State of Disaster Philanthropy that has resulted in 75 report downloads.
  • Email link and web page tag actions have given us different tools (beyond Google Analytics) to track content engagement as a way to inform future content approaches.
  • With the increasing value and size of our database, the CDP team is more focused on finding new ways to capture contact information, especially that which comes from outside conferences or panels.

Lessons learned
The MagnifyGood project has moved CDP toward an increasingly integrated and engaged donor network by driving our efforts to meet the following objectives:

  • Focus messaging on quality, targeted benefits and features
  • Expand donor network through digital and online campaigns
  • Deepen donor engagement with direct, custom outreach
  • Enable a more connected and collaborative donor network through social media, webinars, and online events
  • Use the above approach to broaden CDPs reach to other disaster efforts

Though the campaign has successfully provided a template for future communication and development efforts, whether or not it raises money for the global refugee fund is yet to be seen. A few things we will work to improve on with the next iteration of a content campaign:

  • Keep scope of project to fit within capacity of small CDP team by focusing on single persona and 1–2 new content items and a webinar recording or other easily packaged offering. MagnifyGood will agree that we bit off a bit more than we could chew by kicking off with three full personas and 27 iterations of the various email templates.
  • Look to expand and refine our contact list. We decided not to acquire contacts or amend those currently in the system, which limited the audience for the campaign to 387 total contacts.
  • Better integrate web page tag actions into campaign plan so we can simultaneously capture contacts that skip email and go straight to website.

Prepared by:
Robert G. Ottenhoff, President and CEO
Kathy Gutowsky, Director of Marketing and Communications

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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