21st century successIn the past year, more than sixty thousand new nonprofits were launched. There are now more than 1.5MM tax-exempt organizations in the U.S. alone. While it’s terrific that so many charities are committed to making the world a better place, this massive number also means every nonprofit must work harder to secure necessary funding.

Unfortunately, many established nonprofits can no longer rely on the strategies that drove their fundraising success in the past. They require new solutions, yet change is hard. So how can your nonprofit achieve greater success today? Maybe our story and new solutions can help you.

Achieving Rapid Transformation

Seven months ago, we launched our new company, Innovairre. In this short period of time, we have invented and introduced a myriad of new solutions to better serve the nonprofit community.

We also migrated from a print-production focus to a data-driven, technology-empowered organization, providing everything from machine-learning models to the latest in digital printing, to peer-to-peer support, to personalized videos, and more. How did we accomplish all this so fast?

Our Success Process and New Products

We started by “getting the right people on the bus,” as the book Good to Great would put it. Before our launch, we brought in a handful of people who had proven to be incredibly successful in the commercial world to work alongside our very talented NPO experts. We challenged this new team to build more effective solutions that capitalize on new insights and technologies. Together, they first had to confirm the challenges of nonprofits today and then invent insight-driven solutions that would drive fundraising success for years to come.

Their diagnosis and efforts yielded the following conclusions and solutions:

1. From an acquisition perspective, nonprofits need a better targeting methodology to overcome a dearth of new, qualified names — because direct mail remains critical to donor acquisition.

The team concluded that old-style modeling techniques simply aren’t good enough anymore. So they pioneered the application of machine learning for modeling in the nonprofit sector. They rigorously tested and refined their approach, finding it to be far superior as compared to conventional modeling techniques. In fact, in head-to-head testing, the machine learning models won 100% of the time. Next, to eliminate any resistance to trying this progressive technique, we began offering these machine learning models on a performance basis to any qualified nonprofit. This enabled us to refine our new modeling approach even more. Today we continue to offer these models on a performance basis, because they’re helping more and more nonprofits and still have never lost in head-to-head-testing.

2. From a retention perspective, nonprofits need an easy approach to overcome the attrition crisis.

With the average nonprofit retaining only 27% of new donors, something had to be done.  Another team embarked on a comprehensive analysis of hundreds of NPO file audits we had conducted over the past 24 months. Their objective was to isolate the proven variables that help convert new donors into loyal donors. Then they fixated on building a solution that NPOs could easily deploy. Eventually, they built something called Donor2. It provides NPOs a turnkey retention solution: 9 steps in 8 weeks. We were overjoyed to introduce Donor2, because an analysis proved a 10% improvement in retention can yield up to a 200% increase in lifetime value.

3. From an operations perspective, nonprofits need a new software platform that serves more of their critical needs – and is easy and affordable. 

With social media, peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, mobile, event management, and multichannel marketing all becoming more important, many nonprofits need a new, more efficient software platform that also handles all of their existing operations needs. To address these issues, a third team (of domestic & international developers) spent thousands of man-hours augmenting our existing platform to build the first comprehensive software platform of its type. The product, Innovairre MC, was launched several months ago and has been called “Next Generation Software Platform for Nonprofits.”

4. From a strategic perspective, nonprofits need to migrate to more digital and video fundraising approaches.

Although direct mail remains the backbone of fundraising acquisition, a well-orchestrated digital strategy is critical, particularly for retention. Therefore our digital technology team invented several new solutions, including Social Synchronization (a proprietary online/offline integration solution), e-Receipts (the integrated, automated engagement service), Personalized Video, and more.

To spread the word about all of the above, we developed communications to ensure people understand our new capabilities internally and externally. This included blogs, social media, press releases, web assets, PowerPoints, videos, etc.

Seven months later, it’s working. The nonprofits we serve are leveraging more channels and starting to raise more money. The causes they serve are better able to make a difference. And our people are better equipped to succeed. We still have further to go, but 15 years into the 21st century, we’re pleased with the amount of 21st century solutions we can offer.

Don McKenzie is the President & Chief Growth Officer at Innovairre Communications, which supports more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world. Don can be reached at DonM@Innovairre.com. Subscribe to our newsletter here. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.