The Nature Conservancy uses SAS® Customer Intelligence 360 to modernize its marketing strategy and maximize donations for a more sustainable planet
The Nature Conservancy is a remarkable organization in many ways. As one of the most wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world, it has protected lands and waters around the globe. Because of its work, countless habitats and wildlife species have been preserved for generations to come.
The Nature Conservancy works in 76 countries and territories – either directly or through partnerships with other nonprofits. Like many other large global organizations, The Nature Conservancy has data sources and software that don’t always work together. This challenge led leaders to streamline marketing and membership operations, and it was the launching point for a recent digital transformation project.
“We have increasingly ambitious conservation goals, which means we have increasingly ambitious fundraising goals,” says Katherine Bowen, Director of Journey Management and Marketing Automation at The Nature Conservancy.
The Nature Conservancy is supported by donations from more than a million members worldwide via email, phone, mail, digital ads and other channels. Because this marketing data was sometimes siloed by channel, it could be difficult and time-consuming for marketers to track member activity across channels, which resulted in not having a full picture of supporters’ interactions with the organization.
Seeking to modernize its marketing technology as part of its digital transformation, The Nature Conservancy put out an RFP for a customer intelligence solution. It was already a SAS customer, so when SAS answered the RFP with a cloud-based solution that provided both the analytical muscle and flexibility for the job, the decision was easy.
Most nonprofits do personalization at some level, but we’ll be able to do more of it and in a more sophisticated way with SAS. Katherine Bowen Director of Journey Management and Marketing Automation The Nature Conservancy
Reaching big goals begins with data
The Nature Conservancy licensed SAS Customer Intelligence 360, including SAS 360 Engage on the cloud. Its existing SAS tools were hosted on-premises, but the nonprofit saw an opportunity to deploy faster and increase scalability with a cloud-based solution, which is why it chose SAS Customer Intelligence 360 on the cloud.
The Nature Conservancy partnered with T1A on implementation, a decision that proved valuable as T1A advised on out-of-the-box features as well as support in architecting SAS platform customizations to back The Nature Conservancy’s marketing goals.
With SAS, The Nature Conservancy no longer needs to outsource to various marketing technology vendors. All data sources are organized in SAS’ customer data platform, which further enhances The Nature Conservancy’s ability to prioritize its supporters’ data privacy and security.
Key to this project was using SAS’ customer data platform (CDP) capabilities, which aggregated first-party and third-party marketing data into one place. This CDP enabled The Nature Conservancy to more easily combine offline data with digital campaign data and web analytics data into a single member profile, creating insights the nonprofit could act on. With this single view of members, The Nature Conservancy has been able to learn more from the data analytics. The number of analytical models in production soon jumped from two to 10.
“Having all our data in one place gives us clear, actionable and timely insights,” Bowen says. “We now have a 360-degree view of what our constituents are doing. We know who’s opening emails, who’s responding to phone calls, and who’s responding to direct mail, so we can more accurately identify the best people to contact for any given campaign.”
The next-gen marketing platform also gives The Nature Conservancy more autonomy and flexibility. Previously, it outsourced a lot of marketing activities, which was costly and hindered agility. Because SAS provides marketing automation and analytics that even non-technical staff can use, The Nature Conservancy was able to bring all marketing activities in-house, giving marketers more control over campaigns.
“Our digital transformation has been about increasing our speed-to-market and agility,” Bowen says. “SAS puts us in the driver’s seat in that regard.”
With SAS Customer Intelligence 360 in place, The Nature Conservancy has seen its donor retention rate improve 10% and its year-over-year giving increase 30%.
The Nature Conservancy – Facts & Figures
countries and territories benefit from conservation efforts
acres of land protected
Building a more sustainable future
For a nonprofit like The Nature Conservancy, marketing success translates into more than just numbers on charts. When the ultimate goal is protecting the natural world, working more efficiently to increase fundraising revenue translates into a brighter future for the planet.
The Nature Conservancy is only scratching the surface of what it can do with SAS Customer Intelligence 360. As the organization dives into more advanced automation and artificial intelligence capabilities embedded in the platform, it plans to create efficiencies that beget more forward-thinking and strategic projects, such as customer journey designs and trigger-based, real-time communications.
The way Bowen sees it, every step toward next-gen marketing is a step toward a healthier natural world. The organization has taken notice of early marketing wins and plans to expand its usage of SAS to increase its impact.
“By helping us maximize donor dollars, SAS is helping us advance our mission of building a more sustainable future,” Bowen concludes.
Photo courtesy of Chelsea Broderick, The Nature Conservancy.