Outputs to Outcomes

One Connection, Three Lessons, and A New World of Opportunities

Posted on August 15, 2017 by Robert G. Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy & Kathy Gutowski
Editor’s Note: As a partner of Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), The Patterson Foundation (TPF) supported CDP working with MagnifyGood, a firm specializing in connective impact, which it defines as using strategic communications and social media to impact change and connect with new donors. The result has been transformational for the organization. Enjoy reading this case study by Bob Ottenhoff, CEO and Kathy Gutowski, Director of Marketing and Communications, which is a six month follow up to the previous blog on this topic.

Looking back at what we’ve accomplished with MagnifyGood’s guidance, it’s motivating to see how a single smart investment and the right connection can both build immediate capacity and drive ongoing growth.

A little more than a year ago, generous support from The Patterson Foundation allowed the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) to retain the services of the communications consulting firm, MagnifyGood. Our mission at CDP is to help foundations and corporations be more strategic with their disaster-related contributions. But we can’t help them if we can’t reach them. The challenge of our project was to take our marketing and communications to the next level with the launch of our first automated content campaign to better connect and engage with our potential partners.

MagnifyGood helped us select a new CRM, implement the processes, develop the campaign templates, and analyze our results. The project was often challenging and sometimes frustrating. It pushed us to question assumptions about our market and try new concepts that took us out of our comfort zone.

With MagnifyGood’s expertise, some hard work, and a bit of humor, we gained the internal confidence to embrace a new, user-centric approach to content marketing. Since launching that first content campaign around the Global Refugee Crisis in 2016, we’ve learned these three important lessons:

“Listen” to your audience—Before we launched this campaign, most of our contacts were lumped together as those interested in the big bucket of disaster philanthropy. And that’s how we communicated with them, by sending them buckets of disaster philanthropy content every month, even though most disaster-related donors have very specific, and often personal, interests. Through the new CRM and the use of topic tags—like refugee crisis, floods, Louisiana, Midwest, famine—MagnifyGood showed us how to give our audience the opportunity to “speak up” and let us know what they found interesting. Now that we have a way to listen to what our audience wants, we are even more focused on developing and sharing targeted content.

Template your processes to maximize results—This new adventure in targeted content marketing required a whole new roadmap for the team. And though it was tempting – and always faster – to just move through the steps, MagnifyGood made sure we took the time to document the processes for easy replication. The time we invested upfront in creating the campaign, email, and content templates has already enabled us to launch a second content campaign in less than half the time.

Change requires time and open communication—Even a relatively small, nimble organization like CDP can quickly get comfortable with the status quo. Though we already had a CRM, it was far too robust and complex for our needs. As a result, over time it became little more than a digital Rolodex. Recognizing some internal resistance to changing systems, MagnifyGood was very intentional in how they included us in the process. They involved us in vetting new platforms, brainstorming content ideas, and building and testing campaign scenarios. Since implementing our new CRM a year ago, the CDP team has not only fully adopted it, we are doing more with it than we ever attempted with the old CRM.

This incredibly valuable connection with MagnifyGood will continue to provide us new ways to reach and ultimately help those who want to have the greatest impact with their disaster giving. Now we have new abilities with which to engage foundations and corporations about their needs and interests concerning disaster related philanthropy.

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