It wasn’t long ago that Blackbaud and Phone2Action announced its new partnership.
Blackbaud’s cloud-based solutions for fundraising, relationship management, marketing, engagement and other vital needs would couple with Phone2Action’s comprehensive public affairs and advocacy platform to allow nonprofits to practice powerful grassroots advocacy.
But what does that really mean? What does high-impact advocacy look like? As Linton Myers, head of strategic solutions at Blackbaud asked, “why is Blackbaud working with Phone2Action like putting chocolate with peanut butter?”
That was the topic of a joint Blackbaud and Phone2Action webinar this week called Creating High-Impact Advocacy, which featured two organizations that have used both platforms to dramatically boost their advocacy programs. Christopher Masak, senior associate director for advocacy at the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), and Zach Ragbourn, director of digital communications for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), were both on hand to share their experiences.
“These solutions create an opportunity for organizations to truly engage in a personalized experience with their supporters, across channels and activities,” said Myers, who moderated the panel with Bryan Dawson, head of strategic partnerships and enterprise nonprofits at Phone2Action. “That’s what makes this partnership truly ‘better together.’”
What Impact Looks Like
The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement is an affiliate of the Alzheimer’s Association, charged with conducting advocacy. The organization has used Blackbaud technology for years, powering its fundraising, events, email communications and more. The organization added Phone2Action last year.
“We wanted to take our efforts to the next level,” Masak said. “When we were looking at engaging our audiences and the broader public, we knew that we needed some of the best tools available.”
Using Phone2Action, AIM began giving its audience the ability to personalize messages. It also took advantage of text messaging and other advanced features.
“We wanted to break down some of those barriers and give people optimal tools that would let them convey messages that were authentic, that were heart-felt and that yielded meaningful results,” Masak said. “In the past, as many organizations did, we would send large-volume, templated email messages … those templated messages really weren’t conveying the voices of our advocates.”
AIM’s efforts were extremely effective. Three quarters of AIM’s advocates—more than 35,000 people—took action in the last 18 months. They sent more than 188,000 emails, roughly 10,000 tweets and 547 phone calls (lasting 12.6 hours) to lawmakers.
‘The Future of Digital Advocacy’
NPCA has also used Blackbaud for years, seeing a 124-percent gain in sustainer donors, 86-percent growth in housefile and a twofold rise in online revenue. The organization added Phone2Action in 2018 to begin using patch-through calling and text messaging features. Now, NPCA uses Blackbaud and Phone2Action together.
“What we are getting is really the future of digital advocacy,” Ragbourn said. “It’s empowering advocates to connect and engage in ways that are convenient and meaningful to them.”
In four text campaigns this year, the organization averaged a massive 15-percent conversion rate, eight times the industry average. “It’s giving people a way to engage that’s just a little bit different, and maybe reaches them at a different moment in their day,” Ragbourn said. “Maybe it feels a little bit easier, a little more bite sized.”
Overall, NPCA has reached more than 45,000 advocates and generated more than 100,000 connections with public officials since adding Phone2Action.
“We’ve already seen … a whole heck of a lot of people from our housefile, who have been advocates with NPCA for years or decades, are deciding that this is something they would like,” Ragbourn said. “They want that flexibility, that option to engage in a different way. We want to keep providing those tools to advocates. We want to keep giving them ways to engage to make a difference.
To learn more about how Blackbaud and Phone2Action work together, contact an expert at (202) 888-7439 or click here to schedule a demo.
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