International charity uses SAS® Professional Services to improve donor campaigns and increase donations
When the UK arm of this globally recognised charity decided to invest in SAS® Marketing Automation, to improve and optimise donor contacts, it engaged SAS to help plan, design and implement the system.
To be successful, fundraising requires high levels of efficiency in reaching out to donors in ways that elicit the best response. To ensure it properly addressed donor communication and campaign requirements, this charity had expanded its team of analysts to 15 and decided to implement SAS® Marketing Automation. "Before SAS we used a campaign management system but it was creaky," says the charity's database marketing manager. "Seven months after installation of SAS, we were on track to deliver a five times return on investment based on what we could now do with the system. I'm confident that while we've predicted five times ROI from our SAS solution, we could reach as much as ten times."
Improving campaign efficiency and effectiveness
The team puts out millions of communications each year to secure donations from new donors and encourage existing supporters to contribute more regularly or increase donations. It's a complex balancing act, and one that requires segmenting activity so that, for example, more regular donors receive different types of communications from someone with no previous history with the charity. "They already had some technical expertise in-house but not the specialist skills required to successfully scope, design and install the solution," explains Ron Rosman, Senior Project Manager, SAS Professional Services. "SAS consultants and technical architects were engaged because the charity wanted deeper knowledge of the SAS technology and toolset, so it could optimise the architecture and ensure it delivered what they needed.
"Working with us was always part of the plan. The goal was to improve direct marketing to the donor base: bring in more, increase the number of donations, increase frequency, and so on. This meant learning more about donors, when they last gave, how much, what type of solicitation they responded to – email, direct mail, event invite – and track contact history." Ron's role included financial, resource, and escalation management should issues arise, working with the charity's full-time in-house Project Manager – sourced via a SAS partner – who ran day-to-day activities.
One of the biggest risks, he adds, was a strictly limited budget: "This is a charity, so it was an extremely cost-sensitive project. We were always looking to work in as cost-effective a way as possible, to deliver services and ensure a great end result at low cost but without ever compromising on quality." He says that included leveraging SAS® resources in smarter way, "and advising on what we thought they could do in-house and therefore save money. In such cases we provided mentoring and light-touch support. So as we built the campaigns, for example, the charity's staff shadowed us. They were keen to do as much as possible."
Maximising fundraising income
SAS was responsible for designing and implementing the technical architecture, then creating new and improved campaigns. Services provided included the SAS® Discovery Service: Phase Zero which provides extensive scoping and planning, including costs, plus detailed requirements gathering, solution implementation, installation and configuration, and user adoption. The charity opted to run the data integration element in-house: all ETL (extract, transform, load) work needed to extract data from its systems.
Knowledge and skills transfer was a critical element. Carol Carlton, Lead Implementation Consultant, SAS UK, played a key role in Phase Zero, defining the types of campaigns to run and, in the later post-implementation stages, mentoring new team members. Sami Zuberi, Principal Customer Intelligence Delivery Consultant, led the project to create and produce the actual campaigns aimed at attracting more donors, retaining existing ones, and increasing the frequency and value of donations; SAS experts also spent several weeks on report writing. "This was a joint team," Ron says. "SAS started out leading in certain areas, with their staff shadowing us. As time went on, they picked up more and more."
"This engagement was extremely focused and delivered precisely what the customer wanted," says Kevin Meachen, Director of Professional Services, SAS UK. "We fully understood the requirement, scoped and planned the right solution, and worked alongside the customer as 'one team' to deploy in a way that minimised risk. We kept tight controls on costs, and guided the customer team through creating campaigns through a knowledge transfer process so they could become self-sufficient quickly. This project also shows how we can scale our delivery approach depending on the customer, their needs and the real-life issues they face. By using our specialist knowledge where it makes sense, the customer is free to handle what it can in-house." Ron Rosman adds: "The SAS team worked long hours to help make this a success: we faced a number of constraints but everyone was totally committed to delivering the best possible services and the best possible outcomes for the customer."
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Improve campaign planning, execution and management with new systems and approaches; maximise fundraising income.
SAS® Marketing Automation – scoping, design, implementation by SAS® Professional Services; SAS® Education training courses.
Payback for the solution estimated at 5–10 times its cost; attracting new donors and increasing the value/frequency of donations; more efficient and automated planning; and execution of accurate and targeted campaigns.
“We fully understood the requirement, scoped and planned the right solution, and worked alongside the customer as 'one team' to deploy in a way that minimised risk. We kept tight controls on costs, and guided the customer team through creating campaigns through a knowledge transfer process so they could become self-sufficient quickly.”
Director of Professional Services, SAS UK