Re-Engaging Supporters Through Marketing Automation and Survey

Learn about Humane Society International's deep engagement through marketing automation.

Humane Society InternationalThis case study was provided in collaboration with Raise the Roots, an accredited Engaging Networks partner.

CHALLENGE

Humane Society International (HSI) manages a list of over 4.5 million supporters from across the globe. Their comprehensive acquisition strategy results in a constant stream of new supporters joining their list from a variety of channels. Because of their incredible accomplishments and reputation, HSI doesn’t have difficulty growing the list. Their challenge is ensuring continued engagement with existing supporters.

HSI was looking for a new approach to supporter retention that was automated to reduce the time commitment for staff. Rather than wait until a supporter had become completely disengaged, HSI wanted to target those who had more recently stopped clicking or converting on their emails and pages. During this re-engagement process, HSI also hoped to learn more from their supporters about their preferences and how HSI could improve their efforts.

SOLUTION

Raise the Roots and HSI worked together to create a re-engagement strategy built around their incredible content and the tools available in Engaging Networks. First, HSI would leverage Email Engagement Scores to identify inactive supporters. Second, Marketing Automations would be created targeting those inactive supporters with survey emails and subsequent messages tied to survey responses. Finally, Page Builder surveys would help HSI learn more about what’s important to their supporters.

Email Engagement Score

The Email Engagement Score in Engaging Networks is a measure of a supporter’s interaction with an organization’s emails over discrete periods of time. The score is calculated on the first of each month and looks at email opens, link clicks, and page conversions from email.

The Email Engagement Scores important to HSI in this project were 4, 5, 6 and 7, 8, 9. These are supporters who had previously clicked or converted on their emails – but haven’t again in 4-6 and 7-12 months, respectively. By targeting supporters in these groups, HSI was intervening in supporter disengagement before so much time had passed that re-engagement was unlikely.

Email Engagement Scores are available in Profiles in Engaging Networks, meaning that two audiences could be built for two separate marketing automations targeting these supporters on an ongoing basis.

Marketing Automations

Marketing Automations allow you to target audiences identified in a Profile. You can choose what time messages are sent and what frequency the automation will pull supporters into the journey (daily or weekly). It’s possible to include multiple emails, insert wait periods between emails, and create decision trees where emails are sent based on supporter responses to previous automation emails.

Once we had identified the supporters HSI wanted to target in Profiles built with Email Engagement Scores, it was time to build a re-engagement journey that could be automated to target supporters in those Profiles automatically each month when Engaging Networks calculated Email Engagement Scores.

We built two Marketing Automations in Engaging Networks with HSI. The first targeted supporters with an Email Engagement Score of 4, 5, or 6. These are supporters who had previously been active but have not clicked a link in an email or converted on a page from an email in 4 – 6 months. HSI viewed these supporters as the candidates most likely for re-engagement.

We believed that the most effective content drawing-out supporter engagement would be a survey where supporters are encouraged to share their thoughts and preferences on HSI’s efforts. The automation would send an initial email with the first question of the survey embedded in the body of the message to create momentum for completing the survey by getting started right away. A reminder message was sent to supporters who didn’t complete the survey following the first message.

The most critical part of the automation was a set of emails – each one tied to a specific survey question response. Supporters are asked on the survey which HSI effort they enjoy hearing about most. Their response to that question triggered a related email sent two days later. All of these follow-up messages were action alerts on the topic selected by the supporter on that survey question. If the supporter completed the action alert, they were sent a fundraising appeal. The objective was to create high-level, personalized engagement that was directly tied a supporter’s stated interests to strengthen their connection with HSI.

The second Marketing Automation targeted supporters with an Email Engagement Score of 7, 8, or 9. These are supporters who had previously been active but have not clicked a link in an email or converted on a page from an email in 7 – 12 months. These supporters should have received the first Marketing Automation back when their Email Engagement Score was 4, 5, or 6. HSI viewed this additional automation as one final attempt to engage them.

Similar to the first automation, HSI sent these supporters a survey. This survey was very simple – only asking three questions – and a reminder message went to the supporter if they didn’t complete the survey.

Surveys

In the Engaging Networks Page Builder, it’s possible to create “Data Capture” pages with custom questions. This allows you to create surveys for your supporters. We created two HSI surveys for their re-engagements series. The first went to the Email Engagement Score 4, 5, and 6 group. It was a five question survey that asked supporters to share information about themselves (“Do you have any pets? We love hearing about them!”), to choose their preferred HSI program (“what HSI campaign would you like to hear about the most?”), and to share their social media preferences (“Do you use any of these social networks?”). Depending on their responses, additional questions may appear asking things like what type of animal(s) do they have as a pet.

HSI and Raise the Roots worked hard to create survey questions that we felt would engage their supporters, build on their relationship, emphasize HSI’s breadth of work, and capture information that may be helpful for future HSI engagement. For instance, asking supporters what social media channels they prefer and what other animal protection organizations they support might help with social media re-targeting and lookalike audience creation for acquisition campaigns.

The second survey was designed to be short in order to increase the possibility of engagement and conversion. It went to the group of supporters with an Email Engagement Score of 7, 8, and 9. One of the questions was “What best describes you?” where supporters were able to select from a list labels that they preferred, including: Animal Advocate, HSI Supporter, Activist, Donor, and Animal Lover. The responses would help inform content choices and wording in future HSI emails.

For both surveys, we placed the first question in the body of the email sent to supporters. There were buttons in the email tied to a corresponding response option in Question 1 of each survey. The links were setup so the choice selected by the supporter in the email would be automatically selected on the survey page when they arrived. The goal was to create momentum right in the email to increase conversion.

RESULTS

HSI has been happy with the results of their re-engagement automations. So far, 1.4 million supporters have gone through one or both Marketing Automation journeys. The average open rate for emails in the series has been 23.89% for the Email Engagement Score 4, 5, 6 automation and 13.95% for the 7, 8. 9 automation. The click-through rates have been 18.51% and 6.72%. All of these numbers are significantly higher than the average performance metrics for HSI’s general emails and for the nonprofit industry at-large.

Over 44,000 supporters have completed the HSI re-engagement surveys. This participation has generated a trove of data for HSI to use to strengthen their efforts and better understand their supporters. The clicks and survey responses generated by this automation also represent an improvement in supporter re-engagement for these individuals who were beginning to disengage from the organization.

The Marketing Automations have directly resulted in $518 in donations. More importantly, over 38,000 supporters who went through these journeys have since donated to HSI.

PRO TIPS

  1. Supporters can only receive a specific Marketing Automation one time.
  2. It’s possible to run A/B tests on emails in Marketing Automations – making them great tools for testing content options over a long period of time.
  3. When building any Marketing Automation, remember that your automation won’t begin sending emails until the next day. It’s not immediate.

This case study was provided in collaboration with Raise the Roots, an accredited Engaging Networks partner.

About the tools

Chloe Green is a copywriter and digital campaigner with almost a decade of experience in the charity and political sectors. She’s delivered campaigns, copy and consultancy for a raft of good eggs including Anthony Nolan, the National Union of Students, St Mungo’s, and Hillary for America. She was Social Media Manager at the Labour Party between 2016–2019 and now she’s Head of Creative with the lovely team at Forward Action. She leads on fundraising emails, UX copy, and all creative facilitation. She’s an expert in email list growth, digital strategy, organic and paid-for social media, and digital mobilisation.

Rachel founded the specialist charity web agency, Rechord, in 1999. Between 1999 and 2012 they created hundreds of different web applications for organisations in the UK and internationally.
In 2013 she became the 'Donor Whisperer' and focused on helping small to medium-sized non-profits to reach new donors and activists and from there increase their income. She uses a unique process that combines the benefits of consultancy with capacity building.
Her clients include Traidcraft Exchange, the Overseas Development Institute, Jubilee Debt Coalition, the Leprosy Mission of England and Wales, Tax Justice UK, The Canary, Humanity and Inclusion, the Anti-Tribalism Movement, BRACE, New Family Social, Arseh Sevom - and that's just the last year.
She also feels weird writing about herself in the third person.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Hannah is Senior Campaigns Officer at the MS Society, working on their local campaigning programme, Local Action for MS and also on social care and carers. She’s worked at the MS Society for a year and a half, and was previously at the MND Association and National Voices.

Executive Director of C6 Digital, London based agency

Emily has worked at Guide Dogs for the Blind Association since 2019, working on a range of campaign areas to empower people with vision impairments to live the life they choose. Prior to this, Emily working in parliament and severed as a borough councillor.

Brani Milosevic ia a digital consultant and coach at https://www.digitalleadership.ltd/
She helps individuals, teams and organisations to learn how to seize the opportunities offered by digital and navigate its challenges.
Brani set up the Digital Leadership Forum, is an NCVO trainer, a CharityComms mentor and a qualified executive coach.

Rhiannan Sullivan is the Vice President of strategy and partnerships of social action network, Care2.com. Over the past 10+ years, she has worked with hundreds of UK and EU charities helping them grow and develop their digital fundraising programmes. Prior to working for Care2, Rhiannan worked at then political campaigning agency Blue State Digital, a global leading digital strategy agency who has helped many organisations build and engage online communities, clients included political and advocacy campaigns, non-­‐profit organisations, cultural institutions and global consumer brands.

Calum manages social, email and some digital campaigns at CPRE, and is CPRE’s expert Engaging Networks user, working on development and helping other teams make the most of the platform. Happiest working on campaigns for change or rambling around in the countryside.

Brandon Fuller is Engaging Networks alumni and owner of Raise the Roots, a digital agency that has supported over two dozen organizations on Engaging Networks - helping them to maximize their digital engagement using this powerful platform. He previously managed global online advocacy campaigns for the Pew Charitable Trusts and has worked in the nonprofit community for nearly two decades.

I joined the Woodland Trust in 2018 and now lead on policy and engagement campaigns working to improve protection, restoration and high quality creation of woods and trees. Prior to campaigning for trees, I worked in Peterborough, tackling fuel poverty in the community. I care deeply about the climate and nature crises and the many, intersectional impacts and solutions. Endlessly inspired and energised by the dedication and passion of our supporters and the public who take action time and time again.

Hannah Mudge is Digital Innovation Manager at The Leprosy Mission England and Wales and has had the privilege of seeing the 147-year-old international development charity evolve over the last decade, from sending out its first online fundraising appeal to achieving record levels of income despite the challenges faced since the start of the pandemic. She is based in Peterborough and enjoys running, cooking and reading in her limited spare time when not parenting two lively boys. During 2020 she added ‘homeschooling’ to her skillset although what Ofsted rating she would achieve is probably best left to the imagination.

I am a campaigner in the Woods Under Threat team at the Woodland Trust. My role is to help protect ancient woods and trees from damaging developments across the UK. Ancient woods and trees are irreplaceable, so we work hard to stop any further loss of these precious habitats and ensure they are protected for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Matt Strong is the Campaigns and Engagement Officer for the Ramblers.

He has recently run campaigns on increasing the number of new green walking routes in some of our biggest cities, including London and Manchester. He has also been leading on the Ramblers’ campaigns work around the Environment Bill. Matt has a background in politics after spending a decade as an elected councillor on Manchester City Council and having previously worked for two Members of Parliament and a political party.

Claire Warner is a former charity Fundraising Director & Senior Leader, turned Culture & Wellbeing consultant.

It was in trying to throw herself back into her beloved Fundraising Director role after 12 months' treatment for aggressive breast cancer, that Claire realised the focus & memory loss and heart condition side effects she'd been left with after her treatment, plus the life-changing experience of the illness itself, meant (guttingly!) a 300% commitment, 50+hours a week Fundraising Director role was no longer an option.

On looking into what others do in this situation, Claire discovered the field of workplace wellbeing, the research work of Prof Cary Cooper, the Gallup Organisation and Simon Sinek, and hasn't looked back since.

In 2018, Claire created her own piece of research into the wellbeing of fundraisers and when it concluded in 2019, over 700 fundraisers had taken part. The results of the research were used to further inform and refine the work Claire does with organisations and individuals in the charity sector.

In 2020 Claire won the Best Digital Leader Award at the Social CEO Awards and in 2021 curated the first Charity Wellbeing Summit.

Today, Claire works on organisational culture and wellbeing projects with charities and offers coaching and mentoring programmes to sector professionals.

Becky has spent the last decade building people power and people-powered movements to hold the most powerful to account for a fairer, more just, and cleaner future.
She helped build 38 Degrees UK into a movement of over 1 million citizens and led many of the biggest campaigns. As part of OPEN’s senior team, she helped build and sustain a network across 19 different countries, by supporting, coaching, and building fast-growing digitally facilitated organisations.

She's currently Senior Strategist at The Sunrise Project leading the Global Banks Program and building grassroots activism on finance around the world. She’s on the board of Skiftet, Sweden’s biggest online campaign community and Left Foot Forward in the UK.

Andrew Taylor-Dawson is Development Manager at Liberty, where he leads on member and support engagement. He has been in fundraising for around 13 years. In this time he has worked in the human rights, homelessness and social justice sectors as well as having been a freelance consultant.

He has held board positions with Global Justice Now and the adoption support organisation We Are family.

Rebecca is a Digital Project Manager, who recently led the redesign and redevelopment of The Children's Society's website.

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Glyn Thomas is a digital strategist and web developer. He built his first website in 1997 and has been working in digital communications since 2002.

For the past 12 years, Glyn has almost exclusively worked with charities and non-profit organisations. Almost all the projects he works on are focused around campaigning, fundraising or supporter recruitment, and often a mixture of all three.

Now based in Berlin, Glyn works with organisations in the UK, Europe and North America.

Rhian is the Strategic Programme Manager for Physical Activity at Versus Arthritis. Alongside Sport England under the Richmond Group ‘Movement for All’ programme, Rhian is co-developing a long-term, sustainable programme to support those living with Musculoskeletal conditions to increase their physical activity levels and improve their quality of life. Rhian has over 15 years’ experience of supporting people with long term health conditions to become more active. She is passionate about prevention, working in partnership and using an effective knowledge base to create impactful change at scale.

Having gotten his start organizing with anti-war veterans and working as Sala Labs, Sales Engineer, and Partner Manager, Bryan now brings his expertise to non-profit and mission-driven clients as 4Site Studios Director of Digital Strategy. Specializing in challenging and complex projects, Bryan works with each client to craft holistic approaches tailored to goals, budget, and outcomes.

Mary Margaret Callahan is the Chief Mission Officer for Pet Partners, where she is responsible for leading mission delivery including the therapy animal program and grassroots advocacy program. She joined Pet Partners in 2013 and has worked to establish the organization as both an influencer and a resource within the animal-assisted intervention (AAI) and human-animal bond (HAB) community. In 2018 she was named one of PetAge Magazine’s Women of Influence. Mary Margaret lives on a small farm outside Seattle with her husband, daughter and menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens, goats and miniature donkeys.

Joe Derry Hall is a freelancer working on creative digital and communications. His interests include tech innovation, upending power and reimagining different futures. Joe has been the winner of a Mozilla Creative Media Award and the joint winner of a BAFTA digital award. He was previously in-house in campaigning and communications roles at Amnesty International, the Climate Coalition, the Ecocide campaign, Save the Children, Scope and others. He is one of the initiators of Right Way Up, an experiment to create a radical, practical new vision for the social change sector.

Anna Chowcat is the Digital Manager at Refuge and oversees the charity’s digital function and output. Since joining Refuge, Anna has been instrumental in introducing a number of digital engagement programmes including digital campaigns, bespoke email supporter journeys and user friendly donate/campaign pages. Before joining Refuge, she has worked in digital engagement and campaign roles at The Labour Party and Leonard Cheshire Disability.

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