Digital Transformation Results in Greater Membership Retention, Revenue for The Nature Conservancy

In 2020 amid a pandemic, environmental conservation may not have been at the forefront of most people’s concerns.

So how did The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental non-profit, achieve its best year ever for membership revenue?

And increase donor retention by 10%? The Nature Conservancy attributes a lot of its success to an exciting digital transformation project, involving SAS Customer Intelligence 360,that helped it make smarter decisions about engaging its audience of more than a million members and potential donors.

“Prior to implementing SAS Customer Intelligence 360, we didn’t have everything in-house, and this limited our ability to communicate effectively with our members,” said John Blackwell, Director of Strategic Analytics at The Nature Conservancy. “We’d have great ideas to improve audience targeting or segmentation, or to develop a new model to help with audience selection or optimisation, but we’d have to work with outside partners to get these ideas implemented. That meant we couldn’t integrate things on the fly or be dynamic. We had to fix this. Our digital transformation has been about increasing our speed to market, agility, and improving member communication. SAS has put us in the driver’s seat in that regard.”

Prioritising supporters

With SAS, The Nature Conservancy no longer has to outsource to various marketing technology vendors.

All data sources are organised in SAS’ customer data platform, which further enhances The Nature Conservancy’s ability to prioritise its supporters’ data privacy and security.

“Having all our data in one place gives us clear, actionable and timely insights,” said Katherine Bowen, Director of Journey Management and Marketing Automation at The Nature Conservancy. “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.”

Personalisation is one area where The Nature Conservancy is particularly excited about deploying SAS Customer Intelligence 360. Whether it’s an email, text or direct mail piece to potential donors, personalisation increases engagement and thus donations. Its monthly newsletter, for example, now includes additional personalised content tailored to the individual for select global regions, including Canada, the Caribbean and Africa. With SAS, the Nature Conservancy will be able to marry donor interests and topics with other personalised data fields such as region, prior gifts and membership length to deliver more engaging content.

“Most non-profits do personalisation at some level, but we’ll be able to do more of it and in a more sophisticated way with SAS,” Bowen says.

Producing the emails can also be more streamlined. Since switching to SAS 360 Engage: Email (a module within SAS Customer Intelligence 360) for email production, marketers at The Nature Conservancy now have enhanced tools for building effective campaigns themselves. The component library of SAS 360 Engage: Email, for example, gives marketers the building blocks for successful email campaigns, including brand guidelines and mobile-optimized design templates.

Future plans for next-gen marketing

The Nature Conservancy is only scratching the surface of what it can do with SAS Customer Intelligence 360. As the organisation dives into more advanced automation and embedded AI marketing capabilities, it plans to create efficiencies that beget more forward-thinking and strategic projects, such as customer journey optimisation 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 broader organisation has taken notice of early marketing wins and plans to expand its usage of SAS Customer Intelligence 360 to increase its impact.

“By helping us maximise our fundraising, SAS is helping us advance our mission of building a more sustainable future,” concludes Bowen.

Leanne Gordge, Manager: Banking, Telco and Public Sector, SAS in South Africa, says: “Our data-driven solutions are purpose-built to support marketers and organisations in reimagining their marketing and customer engagement strategies and efforts, through trusted analytics and towards powerful and intelligent decisioning. We are very proud to be working with The Nature Conservancy globally, as the organisation plays a crucial role in raising public awareness on and driving campaigns to address climate change action – towards reimagining a world where people and the natural environment coexists and prosper, homogenously and sustainably well into the future.”

The Nature Conservancy uses SAS 360 Discover and SAS 360 Engage, components of SAS Customer Intelligence 360.

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