Drew Friedrich · Director of Marketing, Orphan's Promise | Drew Friedrich, Director of Marketing at Orphan's Promise and Justin Wheeler, Funraise CEO and Co-founder talk about the role of storytelling in COVID-19 marketing, the importance of maintaining your valued donor relationships, and how overthinking your strategy can stop you from doing the work you do.
When your donor base is reliant on relationship-building, how do you translate that to a COVID digital landscape?
When you've invested as much in building connections with your donors as Drew's team has, letting them go is like losing family. So when COVID-19 hit, they jumped into action, scheduling Zoom calls (and walking their donors through setting up Zoom!), telling stories of dealing with coronavirus across the 68 countries they have programs in, and finding out what their donors needed to make it through the pandemic.
So far, these actions have connected their donor base and inspired confidence that has resulted in additional donations, support, and impact.
For this episode, I'm excited to sit down with Drew, Director of Marketing for Orphan's Promise. A nonprofit working in 65 countries to help at-risk children thrive. Drew and his team have down an exceptional job maintaining the confidence of their donors during these unprecedented times. The key ingredient to their success has been donor transparency. Let's dive in to get into the specifics!
Justin Wheeler: Drew, thank you so much for joining us for the Nonstop Nonprofit Podcast. I'm really excited to dive in today to talk about all things marketing, fundraising, and specifically, you know, how transparency is kind of tied into all of that. So thank you so much for joining the podcast today.
Drew Friedrich: Sure man, I'm pumped to be here. Been a big fan since I met you guys and especially the podcast. Listen to all of them. And it's just an honor to be here and be a part of it. Glad to be a guest.
Justin Wheeler: Absolutely. Well, this time you'll be here to listen to yourself. So let's make it good!
Drew Friedrich: Yeah, for sure. I'm here for that.
Justin Wheeler: So before we jump into the topic today, tell us about, just a little about yourself, your story and the organization that you work for.
Drew Friedrich: Sure. So I'm the Director of Marketing at Orphans Promise. I've been here just about five years. From my background, though, it kind of ties into the organization. So I'm the oldest of seven kids, five of whom are adopted. And my mom is actually the founder of Orphans Promised, Terry Meeuwsen. She's the co-host of the 700 Club. And to make a long story short, when we adopted three girls from Ukraine, as I was going to head off to college, we began to understand some statistics about orphans around the world. There's about 150 million, give or take, based on the number that you're looking at. But only about one percent of those kids are ever gonna be adopted. And so our question was, what happens to that other 99 percent? Right. Who is going to serve those kids? Who's going to love those kids? Don't they deserve a chance to succeed? And so beginning in Ukraine, we kind of started with education centers that offered them a chance to learn English and computer skills and life skills and relationship skills. And that was about 15 years ago. And that was one project in Ukraine. And today I learned about 68 countries with about 330 projects. And so the growth has been just massive. And the cool thing for us is we're kind of a hybrid organization. So in Ukraine in particular, we actually operate a lot of our own projects, whereas in other countries, a lot of times we'll go in as a grant-giving organization and kind of come alongside somebody who's doing phenomenal work. And we kind of help provide maybe some oversight or some assistance. We certainly provide financial assistance, but then we don't want to recreate the wheel. Right. If it's a local organization, who knows what they're doing, has found a solution that actually serves people, it makes a difference. We want to just kind of support them and uplift that work. So that's kind of helped us grow quickly because we're able to identify partners who are doing phenomenal work and really just kind of latch on and go, hey, let's do this work together. And so we really work in kind of six key areas, education, nutrition, discipleship, we build strong families, we fight trafficking and we just kind of transform communities through a variety of ways. We've can kind of get into that. But those are our six real key areas. And the big thing for us is we want to make sure that every kid has a chance to succeed, no matter what. Our kind of tagline is at risk to thriving. And so we take kids out of tough situations and give them a chance to get ahead in life and dream about a future just like your kids or my your kids might.
Justin Wheeler: Wow. That's, I mean, the organization and what's trying to accomplish or what it is accomplishing sounds amazing. I actually spent some time in Ukraine working at a couple of different orphanages when I was in college. And it was, you know, just to do the kind of mission of those specific orphanages were to help basically rebuild the relationship between the individuals living at the orphanage and their parents and helping their parents get back to a point where they could, you know, take full custody back of their kids. But it was just, it was one of my first international trips. Spent the summer. And organizations that are helping vulnerable children, I think is some of the most important work that can happen. So thank you for that. And it's amazing. And I actually do not know that your mother started Orphans Promise. So when was the organization started?
Drew Friedrich: It was about 15 years ago. We just celebrated our 15 year anniversary in December. So, you know, we've like I said, for the first few years, it was very, very organic. I mean, some kind of grassroots, like people might hear about us and just kind of sort of get on board. And then when I came on board about five years ago, my background is in marketing and I felt like, you know, we do phenomenal work, we've got phenomenal partners, we need to tell more people about this. And so as we've done that and we've got a tremendous development team, we've been able to really kind of grow that way. And so it's been neat to see. I mean, I think kids are kind of an easy sell, right? If you ask people like kids, move people's hearts because they're vulnerable and they can't really defend themselves. But I think it's not just the kids. It's the fact that what we're doing is not just putting a plate in front of a hungry kid. It's we're creating opportunities for that kid to change his future, his community and potentially his country. I mean, as we send some of these kids to college and they become leaders in their country, literally the face of nations can change if we invest at a young age. And so that's kind of why we exist. It's a really change culture, by changing the lives of these kids.
Justin Wheeler: Awesome. Well, when you and I first connected, it was right before Covid-19 kind of changed the world. And fundraising was it was a very different landscape, you know, back in early February/late February. And so as as you guys have kind of were, you know, a quarter into this pandemic and the world is turned upside down. How have you guys responded to Covid-19 and how has it impacted your overall fundraising and marketing strategies?
Drew Friedrich: Yeah, so, I mean, I think it was a big adjustment at first. A lot of what we do, particularly at the major donor level, is really sort of hands-on, face to face. We've never been an organization that kind of makes most of our money off of one big event, but we do have a big annual event typically. But when we do a lot of is face to face donor relationship building. We take one to two trips a year to actually visit our projects overseas in places like Ukraine or Africa or Spain or wherever we might be. And we invite our donors to come with us. Right. And so that's where you really get to know them, get to kind of live life with them for, you know, 10, 14 days in some cases get to really build relationships. And that, we actually had three trips on the books for this year and all three have been canceled. So instantaneously, that's a huge change, you know.
Justin Wheeler: Yeah.
Drew Friedrich: And everybody I think just like all other nonprofits, we are kind of scrambling to figure out, well, how do we do this? What does this look like? We already had sort of a pretty strong monthly recurring foundation of givers. But that was a, you know, they're giving smaller gifts so it still makes up a smaller portion of our overall giving. These major donors are really kind of our top tier. And so what we really had to do was figure out like, how often do they want to hear from us? What do they want to hear from us? But we knew they wanted to hear from us. There was no question about that. And I think where we were maybe really well-positioned for this was because we've spent that face to face time in the past. This wasn't someone we didn't know. They weren't faces on a Zoom call that we didn't know or they didn't know our faces. We really knew them. And so because we'd spent the time to invest early on when we invited them to his Zoom call or even just a one on one FaceTime call, they said yes, because they missed the relationship as much as we did. And so I think that's kind of an important thing to think about is, your people likely do want to hear from you, whether it be the face of your organization or the development person or the marketing person they're used to talking to. For us, we've really adjusted to that and done a lot of these Zoom calls with our donors and it's been phenomenal. I mean, the way they feel connected. The very first one we did was so cool. We kind of finished our little, you know, 30-minute presentation. We had prayed. We talked about our project, showed some photos of videos. And at the end, we were kind of done and said, all right, guys, great to see everybody. And nobody hung up for like seven minutes. They all were there kind of talking to each other. And so finally, it was kind of one of those like high school relationships, like, I love you more. No, I love you more. You hang up first kind of thing, because everybody was sort of going, I don't want to get off the call. I've missed talking to you. I've missed seeing your faces. And so we kind of did a one, two, three and everybody hung up at one time. But that's just kind of let us know how deeply these people want relationship. And when they're investing in your organization at that high level, they need to know that they're not just a number or a name in CRM. They need to know there's a relationship there. So we've kind of worked double-time to just make sure they know that we actually care about them a ton. And we do. We're not faking it. That's the truth.
Justin Wheeler: So that, I mean, that's super fascinating because, I mean, I've worked a lot with major donors, that's very rare. To see that sort of emotion towards the organization. I see that more with, like low dollar fundraisers or donors. But at the major donor level, typically you see individuals that typically, you know, tend to be more busy, are a little bit more protective of their time. And so what have you guys done to actually create that sort of culture where your donors, you know, like you said, are afraid to hang up first?
Drew Friedrich: I really think it is just investing the time. And then the other thing I would say is be who you are. Like, so I know she's my mother and I'm probably a little bit biased, but, you know, Terry Meeuwsen, our founder, is about as down to earth a woman as you're going to meet who's had tremendous success. Was Miss America in 1973. Co-host of the 700 Club. So she's really well known, but I can assure you, if we were with our donors in person or on a Zoom call, she'd talk to you and pray with you about just about anything. How are your kids? How's your life? This side or the other? They feel like they're a part of our family. in fact, when we're together, they talk. It's funny, when new donors come into the mix at the major donor level, the current donors talk to them about welcome to the family. Right. It's not just us doing that because we've created kind of this family environment. And so I think it's text messages during the week, you know, just on a random basis, kind of one on one. It's these group Zoom calls. Its emails that go out from people, not just from the organization as a whole. It's how do we how would you talk to a family member if you wanted to stay in touch? And that's really how we've kind of built these relationships. And so I agree with you. I think it maybe is pretty rare, but we are blessed to have some incredible donors. I'm certainly biased again, but I think our donors are among kind of the greatest. I know you've had been kind of on like a big recurring donation kick lately, and I'm all for it. And I think it's the key to success. But one of the things we've done that's really been awesome is we actually implemented something like that at the major donor level where we asked them to commit to us on a yearly basis...
Justin Wheeler: Yeah.
Drew Friedrich: A certain amount. Now, however, they want to break that up as kind of on them. But for us to be able to say, hey, will you walk with us for three years at least and commit a certain amount of money for three years? And so it does a couple of things that certainly give us a little bit of peace of mind than others to know there is money coming in that we can count on, but for them, it lets them know they're kind of part of something special and they're in this sort of upper tier of donors. And what we do with that group is really treat them a little bit differently even than other people. And really, it's you're getting a definite touch every month. Maybe we're gonna send you something, maybe where we're going to, you know, give you a polo or a T-shirt. Maybe we're going to send you a nice leather-bound binder with our logo on it. And some of that stuff can seem kind of tchotchkes, but I think at the same time, when it's quality stuff, it lets them know that we really do appreciate them. And the are ROI on a $30 polo versus somebody who is giving you $100,000 a year is ridiculous. Right. So let's spend a little bit of time, a little bit of money and really invest in these people who are deeply investing in us. And I think I mean, we've seen first hand it's paid off. They do feel like they're part of our family.
Justin Wheeler: Yeah. I love that. And I think, you know, you're onto something there. It's like a major donor recurring program giving, you know, at high levels annually. That's brilliant. It allows you understand where your runway looks like and how you can scale it and grow overall impact. So, yeah. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. That's really exciting to hear that, that's something that you guys have been developing and is working well. One of the things you shared with me a while back that I was really inspired by was just kind of the transparency you and the team took to your major donors around the kind of uncertainty of how covered was gonna impact overall fundraising targets. Can you share what you guys did initially and the response from your donors?
Drew Friedrich: So, you know, early on, I think we weren't quite sure how to go about it. You don't ever want to come out and just kind of act like the sky is falling. Right. And give them a lack of confidence in you as an organization. So we kind of held off the first couple weeks when Covid-19 first hit. And we're just sort of over-communicating how we were pivoting as organizations so we know typically would do all these things education, nutrition, discipleship. And we really shift our focus to nutrition because that was a huge barrier for a lot of these families who couldn't put food on the table. But as we did that and as Covid-19 impacted people of all, you know, financial levels in this country, we began to see like our giving didn't drop way off, but we were certainly down a little bit. And so after talking about it as a leadership team, we felt like, you know what these are our core people that are going to be on the Zoom call. We need to kind of let them know, hey, we are a little bit down and we don't want to stop serving these kids and these families in these communities. So we're asking you to really stand with us right now. Right. We have no intention of changing who we are, what we do. And we appreciate more than, you know, the fact that you stood with us in the past. But I think it was $70,000 out at the time. And we really want to make sure that we're able to meet all of our commitments to the kids that we've we've said we're going to help. And so what was really wild, I think I told you this story to us, one of our donors, this is the kind of quality donor we have woke up in the middle of the night, just burdened for our organization, really wanted to do something. And bear in mind, this is a couple that had given us $100,000 not that long ago, but they just felt like we need to do something about this. So they said, hey, we're going to give you $35,000, but only if you're willing to use it as a matching gift, as a matching challenge.
Justin Wheeler: Wow.
Drew Friedrich: So keep in mind we're $75,000 short. So they're going to give us half of that. They don't even know we're $70,000 short. They're going to give us half as long as we match. So that'll basically instantly fill that gap for us. So we kind of put a campaign together, put it out there into the world through email and social. And within about two days, we'd raised an additional $20,000 in response to this matching challenge. We come to our next Zoom call with these donors and we tell them about it. And within about two minutes, they go, well, I'll fulfill the rest of it and I'll give $10,000. On top of that, I'm going to get $5,000 on top of that. And then one of them said, listen, don't ever let yourself get to a place where you're short on money, and let it not tell us. We'll be more upset that you didn't tell us than we will that we find out that you're short on money. And so I think for us, it was an eye-opener to be like, hey, these are people who are really, really bought into what we're doing. They've proven that both were behavior through how they give to us, and so just like, you would with your family, we need to be really honest with them about where things stand. We're going to do everything we possibly can to raise money in as many ways as we can through peer-to-peer, through social, through email, through whatever. But these are folks that really want to be sure we succeed. And they've made investments in our organization over the last 15 years. They don't want to see it go down any more than we do. And so it was important for us to really be that transparent with them, which wasn't easy. It's hard to say, hey, we're a little bit short this month.
Justin Wheeler: Yeah.
Drew Friedrich: But when we did, what we saw was they stepped up to the plate and said, you're not alone in this and we're going to stand with you and actually help you get to where you need to be. So it was pretty awesome.
Justin Wheeler: Yeah. What I love. You know, there's two ways to approach a shortfall in fundraising or a miss in the budget. Right. How a lot of organizations do it and this is what scares donors away is it's kind of the emergency S.O.S. call out. Like our organization essentially is going to, you know, go under if we don't raise X amount of more dollars, you know, from a major donor perspective or from any donor perspective, why would you want to fund a sinking ship? Right. And so transparency, like there earlier and more often, you can be transparent about potential misses in fundraising with your major donors, your community donors that are super loyal and are invested in the long term sort of mission of the organization, these are the types of donors, the more frequently they are, the sooner the better. And it's going to have a very different reaction, like what we saw here with your donor base. So I think that their approach was right on. And it sounds like it even brought your donors, you know, closer together as a result and more glued to the mission of Orphans Promise.
Drew Friedrich: I think the thing to be mindful of is transparency is always key. But as long as you can show that you're also being super creative and proactive to also come up with some other solutions, because otherwise you say, hey, we're $70,000 short this month. Right. But what's to prevent us from being $70,000 short the next month? And at what point do we stop coming to those people in asking? And I think for us it was, hey, the matching challenge came at a perfect time and we saw how effective it was. So that's something that we might be mindful of in the future and say even to that group of recurring major donors every year, hey, would you save $5,000 of that giving for like a year and matching campaign, as we saw with so successful, you know, whatever you're gonna give us, take five of that, and just tuck it away for December maybe? Would you be willing to do that? And I think as long as we're creative and can kind of say to them, hey, we're not just kind of sitting back and hoping the money comes in, we're continuing to fundraise. We're continuing to do the work.
Justin Wheeler: Yeah.
Drew Friedrich: And it's easier for them to continue to be on board and support what you're doing.
Justin Wheeler: Totally. Yeah. You don't you don't want them to feel like they're the safety net. You have a playbook. You have a strategy and you're essentially reporting back to them how that's going and if there's a shortfall or not. So I totally agree. It's not going into a blind. You have to have a plan. You have to have a strategy to build confidence that this isn't a systemic problem, it's, you know, as a result of the economy and so forth. So speaking of that, how is like the health and economic crisis putting pressure on donor communications? Are you finding new ways to communicate with donors? What are some of the things you guys have done that have been working well for you?
Drew Friedrich: It is certainly the Zoom calls like we've mentioned already. For us, we've sort of changed our email cadence to be a little bit more frequent so that we're sharing regular stories from the field and letting people know, for example, in Ukraine at one of our transition homes, which is kids who've come out of orphanages or are kind of preparing them for life. There a girl who saw there was a massive need for masks in her community. And so she and the girls in the home sat down and we bought some sewing machines and they started making masks for their community. Was a great story to tell our people, because this is a girl who came into the training center, having had a rough life, having come out of an orphanage, and because of the work you've already supported, it's changed her heart. Now, she's a servant-hearted gal who really wants to make a difference. But on top of that, now, the work we're doing has shifted from the general education stuff and all that to now we're creating masks that are serving that entire community. Right. So that's a really cool story to tell. In other cases, we're putting food boxes in families' homes. And that's the kind of thing where we might tell that story, like in a monthly blog or a monthly email, and now it's become a weekly hey, just want you to know we're still out here. We're still serving. And it's not always and asking that e-mail necessarily, because I think we don't the one thing we don't know, especially at the lower end, because there's so many donors, is how is covered impacting you personally? Right. Like, maybe you're someone who has lost a job, who's been furloughed or whatever. And us asking you all the time may not be the best move for us. Right. So I think some of that comes from knowing your donors, knowing your segmentation of your audiences. So we kind of offset like, hey, we're gonna tell you a great story and ask you to stand with us. Then we're going to tell you a great story and just let you know they were praying for you. We're here for you. There's anyhing we can do to help you. Let us know. And then the next e-mail is going to be, hey, here's another great story and we're still asking you to stand with us. We've shifted one of our monthly print newsletters that goes out by direct mail to about 20,000 people and we've basically shifted that away from traditionally it's just one story of one child and we kind of give you background in how we've helped all this stuff. We've gone with an entire version that's going to be various Coronavirus stories from around the world. And so, again, I think it's just important for us to be mindful of. People are curious what we're doing. And it's our job to do a really good job of telling those stories. And I think there's no question people are at home, they're consuming more content now than probably ever before. So why not consume our content? Why not hear the good news about the work we're doing? And then certainly the major donor level, we've got a like I mentioned, a tremendous development staff who's texting once a week and calling and doing their own little smaller, you know, Zoom calls or FaceTime and that kind of thing. So I think for us, it's just been an issue. We want you to know we're still here. We've not stopped serving, even though you see things shut down all around you. Covid-19 looks different around the world when you're in 68 countries. It takes a lot of work to figure out what does that look like. So we just wanted to kind of give people a sense of, hey, you can still count on us to be making a difference in the world and we're still in the right place to be partnering with. And the best way for us to do that is to tell you about the impact.
Justin Wheeler: I'm curious, how has the direct mail piece been performing? Is it a fundraiser? Is it meant to raise funds or is it more of an engagement touchpoint with your donors?
Drew Friedrich: We sent two packages of the same marketing product, that one to people who are already given to us monthly and one to people who are giving us one-time gifts, essentially with a little bit different messaging in there. So far, it's kind of performing right on par. We tend to get obviously more gifts from the people who are giving us one time than those who are giving us recurring. But occasionally the recurring, the messaging is somewhere along the lines of, hey, would you give a special gift? Right. If you're already giving us a monthly gift. And so we've seen it, it's performing just about on par as it was before Covid-19. And I think, again, it's just a testament to the fact that people want to continue making a difference. Right. If they can't afford it, that's a different conversation. If their finances have changed, that's a totally different discussion. But if they can, even though they're stuck at home, maybe their job is changed dramatically, people still want to make a difference. And they might even know, especially if we do a good job of telling them, that for many of these places where we work, times were tough before Coronavirus. Right. Like, maybe it's a kid who's got one parent and that parent is a street vendor, and they sell food in a cart. And that's been shut down entirely by the country. They're not getting any income anymore. Right. So now there's almost even more of an impetus to make a difference than there was even prior to Coronavirus. So I think it's just a matter of how do we communicate the impact the donor can have? And then, I mean, this is what you guys do tremendously, position them as the hero, right? Like, Johnny's mom is really struggling. Imagine if you couldn't feed your kids, but you can't feed Johnny, and you know I mean, that kind of thing, I think is really important for us to really talk about it. So we've seen since that first month that we kind of had a shortfall, we've really sort of seen a rebound in our giving. And we're holding pretty steady and that direct mail pieces is holding pretty steady as well.
Justin Wheeler: Great to hear. Very encouraging. We're seeing the same sort of, across, you know, Funrise customer data, we're seeing that same sort of narrative. So it's encouraging to see that humans, despite the hardships, you know, they are going through, we are all going through, generosity remains to be think of value that people cling to. So that's very encouraging. So there's no secret, if you follow, Drew, on social media that he is a big Funraise fan. A new customer to the Funraise family, which we're very excited about. Very excited to help accelerate your peer-to-peer efforts. And so aside obviously from Funraise helping you raise more money, how do you see just the platform and technology in general, helping nonprofits during times like we're in and during normal fundraising seasons as well?
Drew Friedrich: Well, you know, I think that we talked about even initially, everybody's having to go digital. If you've not done it before, you were late to the game, but now you don't really have much of a choice and you're going to continue to work and exist. So, you know, that's really what Funraise, in my mind, is built around is let's take our events digital. Let's do some peer-to-peer fundraising. Let's do some live streaming. And I think for a lot of nonprofits, that's a very foreign world. You know, some of the younger ones who are who have a younger demographic or maybe a little bit more used to that but even us 15 years ago, you know, we've got a little bit older demographic. So trying to talk to people about, hey, can you do a peer-to-peer or a matching challenge or something like that, it's a new way for us to talk to people. And so even though I've certainly been aware of it for a very long time, it's something that's kind of new that we're implementing where I think you guys really are sort of top-notch is the ease of signing up. I mean, I think that's one of the things that really drives people away, especially as you get further up in the age of demographics, is well what's going to require of me. But really, for with fundraising, if you know your own first name, last name, email address and why you care about the cause, you're up and running. That's all you really need. And to me, that's a huge thing. So one of the ways we're positioning it with our people is you're literally three clicks away from making a difference. Right. Like, enter your first click-click, first name, last name, email, click. Tell us why. Click. Boom, you're up and going! And if you want to connect it to Facebook, it's even easier. And so I think that Facebook integration and just how simple it is to get set up, is kind of next level. I don't see anybody else really working that way. The second piece is we think a lot about journeys, email journeys. How are we going to handle people once they've sort of converted? In this case, they become a fundraiser and the automation you guys have built-in. Right. Like, okay, so somebody signed up, now they've hit 25% of their goal, 50%, 75%. That stuff it's done for you all. All you're got to do a little bit of the work to design it on the front end. And literally, I mean, you can drag and drop images in if you want to, we use a tool called BEE Pro to kind of build emails and then drop them in there from an HTML standpoint. But either way, I mean, within minutes you can have an email going out to tell your people, hey, be encouraged, you're at your core to the way to your goal. Like, don't stop now. Momentum is picking up. Now's a great time to tell your family about it. Now's a great time to tell your friends. The thank you process is built-in. The CRM process is built-in. The analytics that you guys are coming out with is just ridiculous. It's so cool. The Doubled the Donation stuff. So I think there's so many things that it opens to us as a nonprofit that we don't have the personnel or even the funding to hire the personnel for that you guys take care of in one platform that I just think is kind of next level. So that's what that's at least how we're looking at it from our standpoint is, it takes us 10 steps ahead of where we have been from a digital fundraising perspective.
Justin Wheeler: Well, yeah. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that very kind endorsement. I think one of the things that is so important here is, and I've been thinking about this a lot lately is, we have seen a lot of organizations, you know, make this pivot and transition to digital because they've been forced to do so. And I mean, we've seen customers, you know, who have hosted their virtual galas, still have actually raised the same, if not more. And their expense side have been, you know, one hundred percent less for doing it, the question I have is, you know, post-pandemic. Well, nonprofits go back to the old way of fundraising, will they include a portion of like this new digital strategy or will they double down and continue to really build-out, you know, their digital presence? I think that as you continue to grow, I mean, omnichannel is very important. Right. Like in-person events like these, the touchpoints and interactions you have with your donors, the trips, you know, overseas, the donors to actually see the impact for themselves. These things are critical. But I think and I hope that what this pandemic has done for nonprofit organizations is it's really underscored the necessity of a digital approach to fundraising and engagement. And I'm glad that, you know, Funraise has been able to help you guys and in your efforts in that pivot and so forth. So very good to hear and excited to see your guys' success on the platform and excited to see you raise millions through peer-to-peer fundraisers. You got the, you've got the right donor base. And actually, that's another question I wanted to ask is you guys have tens of thousands, if not hundreds or thousands of donors that are contributing. How, from a marketing perspective, how do you build out the right sort of journeys or segments to personalize with that large of a donor file?
Drew Friedrich: It's challenging. I would say we're probably, we don't have hundreds of thousands, we're probably closer to like the ten thousand donors and they sort of rotate in and out based on who's giving you one time versus who's giving recurring. So I think that's the first thing if you didn't have a ton of time or a ton of ability, but you said, hey, we can segment on one thing, it's how do we segment our messaging for people who were already getting to us monthly and people who aren't. I think that's key number one, because at least for us, our development staff can be the ones who handle a lot of the personal interactions with our major donors. So from my side as a Director of Marketing, kind of like broad appeal, I'm really looking at monthly giving versus not monthly giving. That's my first segment option. And then, you know, one of the things you and I have talked about a little bit is like, how do we suggest that recurring giving in a way that makes sense. And so I think that becomes part of your messaging when people are giving you one-time gifts like you want to be sure and thank them, make them feel like they're part of what you're doing 100%t, but also be able to paint a picture for them of, hey, if that was a recurring gift, this is what that might mean for us. You know what I mean? That's why I think it's so important to segment those two audiences because the recurring people kind of know and I think it's even sometimes a challenge with that group to just be sure you're not taking them for granted and you're always staying on top of them. And you're making sure that they're getting love and they're getting appreciation and continuing to be pushed to keep giving because they're getting hit from so many other places. So to me, it's less from a segmentation standpoint, when you're talking about a 20,000 person email list, let's just say about monetary, even in some cases than it is about what you're giving behavior monthly versus not. And then you can get into, hey, we get we're going to send that one-off email to this specific group because we feel like the amount we're trying to raise is perfect for a mid-level donor who's given us $500 a month. But we think it's the capacity to do $1,000. Right.
Justin Wheeler: Got it.
Drew Friedrich: Or they're matched at %500 but we know they probably run with people who could also give us $500. So peer-to-peer is a perfect fit for someone like that. Yeah. And so I think it's just a matter of taking some time to look at who is in you're your donor portfolio and then begin to sort of put some strategies together. But again, I would always come back to monthly versus one time is a great starting place and then look at it within those two segments you know, what can you do to talk to the right people?
Justin Wheeler: Awesome. That's very helpful. And you what, to kind of ducktail into like another sort of topic that I've been fascinated with it's and organizations, you know, like Orphan Promise, I'm sure, deal with this all the time but as far as a Director of Marketing, I presume you also have a Chief Development Officer or an individual that heads up Development. So how do you look at the relationship between marketing and fundraising? There's always this argument of like is marketing, about awareness or is it about fundraising in the nonprofits. So how do you bridge the gap between marketing and fundraising and how does your organization handle that?
Drew Friedrich: So even though we've grown significantly for 15 years, we're still relatively small. And I think that lends itself to really good relationships, assuming you've got the right personalities. And our development director, Beth and I are incredibly close and worked incredibly well together. So that probably helps us in this instance. But, you know, we kind of had this mantra, and I'm sure you would probably agree, like everybody's a fundraiser, right? Everybody's always fundraising, even if you're not asking. By the way, that you are presenting the organization to someone, you're basically setting the tone for an ask later or you're giving them up to you to go yeah, I'd love to support that. So we don't really think of it as two totally separate things. We certainly support development efforts with, you know, my graphic designer sometimes helps with some of their proposals or some of the landing pages they might need or whatever the case may be. We'll certainly be involved in some of the landing page stuff with Funraise, email building in Funraise. So that's kind of one way where we just sort of collaborate. The other thing is, is because we're a relatively small leadership team, there's just four of us and I'm on all the donor trips, and when we're on a donor trip and it's a development trip, so to speak, everybody's development. Right, no matter what your role might be, whatever your job title might be. We're all playing the role of donor cultivation, donor relationship building, donor care. And so I think when you come back here into your day to day office life, that just kind of carries over. We all understand that we're all pulling the rope in the same direction. So I know a lot of places there's kind of a fight over that. We certainly spend time and money and effort to use marketing as a branding tool. But at the end of the day, if we can't fund the work we're doing, who cares what we're telling people about it?
Justin Wheeler: Right.
Drew Friedrich: If we can't do more work and make a deeper impact than the marketing doesn't really matter. So it's all kind of fundraising and development. It's just a matter of how we're positioning that if it makes sense?
Justin Wheeler: Totally. And I think, you know, that telling the story of the organization, building out the brand, has a direct correlation to raising funds. And, you know, the marketer's primary responsibility is to support the impact the organization is trying to make. And the best way can do that is by driving engagement, driving people to want to actually, you know, click that donate button or click that way to get involved in and volunteer. And so how do you how that story is crafted in the message it's told is incredibly important. And so I agree. I see marketing and development, you know, under the same sort of umbrella with the same sort of responsibility. So Drew, thank you so much. It has been extremely valuable. I love the approach you guys have taken as you've cultivated donors over this period of time where there's been a lot of question marks and a lot of like how much should we reach out to our donors? So thank you for sharing your insight and the approach you guys have taken. I know that it's going to help a lot of nonprofits who are still thinking about this and still have lots of questions around this, this topic.
Drew Friedrich: Cool man. I appreciate being here. And I would just say if I could kind of leave a parting shot for some of the nonprofits might be listening to this as don't get paralyzed by overthinking things. Right. Especially at a time like this. You don't know how well as Zoom called might work. We weren't sure people would show up because our demographic is a little bit older. We had to handhold and call up people and walk them through what that process looks like to get on a Zoom call, right. If they matter to you, do the legwork it takes to make that happen. And once they get there, they're going to hear about the value of your organization. So spend a little bit less time, I mean, certainly strategy's key, I'm I'm a strategist at heart. Right. But spend a little less time making sure your strategy is perfect and will a more time making sure you're getting in front of people with your message, because the work you do still matters no matter what's happening with Covid-19, no matter what's happening in the world, even once Covid-19 has hopefully past. And so I just think we've seen firsthand our donors want to hear from us probably as much or more than we think they do and our story matters more now than ever. And so I think just major, major, major on the fact that you're making a difference and they are a part of that and you can do without them.
Justin Wheeler: Great. That is that is a great parting word. Thank you so much. But I love, you know, don't overthink, don't paralyze yourself with thinking about the complexities of the thing it is that you're trying to do and instead just work on actually executing and getting it done regardless of what it entails. So. Drew, thank you so much. Always a pleasure to talk with you. Thanks for coming on the podcast. We look forward to continue partnering with you and Orphan's Promise and the rest of the fam.
Drew Friedrich: Awesome man. Thanks so much.
Justin Wheeler: Thank you. Have a good one.
Drew Friedrich: All right you too.
Justin Wheeler: See ya
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