CDP Featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review

We are proud to share with you all that CDP was highlighted in The Stanford Social Innovation Review by Sarah Murray.

The article discusses our shared goal of increasing NET Revenue for stations and our innovative efforts towards fundraising practices.

The article represents the success that collaboration has had and how much growth there is for the future. This model, which was successfully born in Public Media with participation and help from all stations, is now starting its path to help other non-profits.

Collaboration and innovation are the key components to all of our success.

Please take a moment to read the article in full (ssir_spring2017_cdp).

Facebook Fundraising

Has your station been utilizing social media to fundraise and communicate with donors?

Social media outlets allow for sharing, collaboration, and now donating.

The use of Facebook has been on the rise for many years, but its amenities are constantly evolving. Mark Zuckerberg thought his creation would be for college students to communicate in an online portal. He never imagined that it would adopt Darwinism and develop into a multidimensional part of everyday life.

Nonprofit organizations need to progress alongside the advancement of social media.

An article, “12 Ways to Make 2017 Your Nonprofit’s Best Year Yet”, outlines specific ways to use Facebook to your advantage. We found this interesting, so we decided to summarize and share those findings with you.

  1. Make giving easy with donate call-to-action buttons
  2. Inspire supports to create fundraisers for your cause
  3. Thank (and retain) donors in an engaging way
  4. Optimize your online content like never before (keep content relevant)
  5. Engage supporters using an immersive new format – Facebook Live
  6. Engage your followers by delivering best-in-class support (answer all posts)
  7. Discover new ways Facebook can help make your vision a reality (Blueprint)
  8. Turn ideas into action (Workplace by Facebook)
  9. Build awareness and grow supporter base (advertisements)
  10. Communicate efficiently with supporters (use messenger)
  11. Promote live, in-person events in a dynamic way
  12. Cultivate synergies between like-minded people

Your organization should be treated and portrayed like a human with its own feelings, passions, and personality. Donors will connect and communicate with you like they would with any of their friends. We as humans like to be a part of something, so why not make that your organization?

Become a shareable part of your donor’s lives.

To read this article in full, please click here.

Are We Missing the Mark?

Chris Pritcher, Vice President Analytics at Merkle, gave a presentation at the 2016 npNEXT conference in the fall that focused on the challenges of cross channel attribution.

We all spend time, money, effort, and resources on measuring donor journeys and the output of our programs. What if were wrong is our measurements? What if we don’t actually know what our programs are doing for us? Chris took a stab at this concept.

We encourage you to watch the video here, but here are some of the key takeaways that we found interesting:

Chris focuses a lot on the difference between precision and accuracy and Uses Direct Mail to illustrate why it’s so important to focus on Attribution. Most of us use the Common Equation for cost per donor acquired:

Total Cost Spent in Acquisition / Total Donors Acquired Over a Period

Bu the possible problems with that are:

It looks at people in a vacuum and assumes this is the first campaign, month, year where you have invested to acquire this donor. Or that they have never been solicited by you before, but he encourages us that there is hope! Attribution is the answer. We need to be able to understand the impact of each channel, each offer, each contact… on each individual.

There are four methods of attribution that he focuses on and it’s important to note that where you are in the step by step process shouldn’t make you feel bad. All you need to worry about is how you will make it to the next step.

Last Touch:

  • Giving “credit” to the donor’s response channel.
  • Most people are here.
  • Good News: People that are fast movers usually have to re-evaluate now since the digital world previously relied on cookies and in the future we will be able to better identify individuals among many online channels.

Test and Control:

  • Designing a series of tests to understand the impact of each channel
  • 1st step donor centric
  • You need to ensure you are asking the right questions.

Media Mix Optimization:

  • “Top Down” view of channel impact to identify enterprise wide investment activities.
  • Most non-profits are not here yet.
  • Benefits include adding and signifying value – understand the true cost and impact of each channel, map the “saturation curves”, allow for scenario planing, and can go as deep as your data.
  • Move money between channels and try not to make assumptions.


  • “Bottom Up” view of the impact of every known interaction (especially online)
  • In simple terms: Going to identify every time you have interacted to every customer ever or over a period of time and assign some percentage of attribution to that individual contact.

Again, we hope you will take the time to watch this great presentation and start asking yourself the following questions:

How much am I spending on precision without accuracy?

Where is my largest crossover between channels?

What stage of attribution is the next step for me? What will it cost and what is my likely return?

Start A Conversation: Your Next Hire


I was at a public media conference recently and asked a small number of membership, development & general managers the following question: “If you were able to add one person to your staff right now, what position would it be?”

A good percentage were stumped and needed time to think about it.  I can understand why.

As stations shift priorities to focus more on locally-generated services, programming managers seek to increase capacity in the newsroom, increase the number of live music hosts, or focus on audience development.

Fundraisers have a similar dilemma.  Additional support staff for our Membership and Development efforts tends to be at the top of the list.

After all, Sustainers* require a great deal of care & feeding from an operational standpoint. Full-time data managers and analysts can be key to communicating better with our donors.  As stations engage in more face-to-face interactions with the public we serve, along with the strengthening of efforts to build major and planned giving programs, the addition of an Events & Engagement manager may be necessary.

You may already have a file of job descriptions in the drawer that have the potential to round out your team, but look closely—are they revenue-generating/enhancing positions, or will they help free up members of your team to do so?  Will this position be a ‘catch all’ with duties that support different activities, or will your new hire have a more narrow focus?

You may also consider opting into one of the CDP-curated projects, which act as an extension and enhancement of your current staff, freeing you up to focus on other priorities while obviating the need for additional part or full-time staff.

In an article about hiring strategically for The Fast Track blog from Quickbase, a financial applications & database solutions company, Alexandra Levit advises:

In the midst of the panic of trying to fill a critical position, one of the first things that managers neglect is the first stage of the hiring process, or the job analysis.  This is because people tend to think that if the position has been occupied before, things like requisite skills, responsibilities, and performance criteria should be obvious.  In fact, many firms never take the time to detail out what a job specifically entails, relying instead on institutional knowledge and subjective opinions of what a person is supposed to do in a certain role at a certain level.  They also fail to take into account the possibility that a previously occupied job might need to be changed to meet the evolving needs of the firm or department.

No matter the size of your staff or membership & development team, your next hire is going to say a lot about your priorities.  Once you’ve decided on the purpose of the position you are going to add, the next step is going through that pile of resumes.

So, we’ve started the conversation.  Thoughts on your next hire?

* This is a link to CDP’s free best practices checklists, which focus on Sustainers, Matching Gift, Email & Online Fundraising, Vehicle Donation & Additional Gifts .  If you do not have a password for the CDP site or forgot yours, please contact us.

Idea Engine: Sustainers Need TLC

Having a bevy of Sustainers is kind of like being a first-time parent.  The idea of growing your Sustainer program so that it comprises 40%, 50%, 60% or more of your donor base is lovely, just as is the thought of having an adorable, sweet baby asleep in the next room.

But then reality kicks in.  There’s the care & feeding, the late night wailing, the constant attention, and the exhaustion.

And then there’s tending to a baby.

All kidding aside, the operational aspects of tending electronic transactions and staving off issues such as declined credit cards, staying ahead of expiring credit cards and other stop/loss techniques is time-consuming.  Millions of credit card users have new cards issued for scores of reasons, including expiration dates, fraud or hacking of retail servers, and updates to new chip technologies (which will soon mitigate many security issues).   There are steps you can take.

If you have yet to download CDP’s Sustainers checklist, I highly recommend printing out the most updated version from   It is password-protected, and if you forgot your password contact us and we’ll make sure you have one.

Some tips from the Sustainers checklist:

  • Run monthly QC reports looking for donors marked as Sustainer, but do not have an active Sustainer pledge
  • Contact donor (mail/email/call) 2-3 times to recover/restart declined credit card or EFT payment
  • Call, mail & email donors 2 months in advance of credit card expiry dates

CDP also recommends converting as many Sustainers as possible to Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to reduce fees and increase the likelihood of a steady stream of income from Sustainers, who want your station to have that support.  If you are new to EFT’s, make sure to visit our resource page on maintaining compliance with National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) rules on EFT processing.

If you don’t have the capacity to devote time and resources to operational aspects of Sustainers, CDP suggests using a credit card updating service.

CDP has partnered with Vantiv to implement a turnkey payment processing solution for stations on the NGOC database platform and to date the solution has a 32:1 ROI on recaptured transactions.

We hope to continue to expand this service, so if you are a station using Allegiance as your database and would be interested in a similar payments processing solution, please Contact Us for more information.

We also welcome your ideas on ways to streamline the donor retention and revenue retention process as it pertains to Sustainers.  Successes?  Challenges?  Ideas?  Let’s keep the engine purring.

Predictably Irrational: A Peek Inside Your Donor’s Minds.

Do you ever wonder how to better reach your donors?

Bernard Ross, the Director of The Management Center, gave a presentation at the 2016 npNEXT conference in the fall that focused on science and donor behavior.

After watching, we were able to get some key take-aways and we would like to share them with you.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman was the inspiration for this talk. In short, Kahneman discusses Classical (the rational way to expect people to behave) and Behavioral Economics (the way people actually behave and seeks to answer why). He proposed that humans have two brain systems. System one is simplistic, fast, automatic, and subconscious. System two is explicit, slow, analytical, and conscious. We like to think that we use system two more, but we actually rely on system one for most of our decision making.

We encourage you to watch this video as well as others available from the conference (link below), but here are three topics that we found to be interesting and easily actionable to implement:

Three Heuristics were discussed in this talk.

  1. Anchoring: Giving people stimuli that they should ignore, but do not. They respond unconsciously to it.
    • Example: Two groups were asked to pick a number out of a bag. One group was given “10” and the second group was given “60”. They were then asked how much they would pay for a bottle of Champagne. The first group’s average answer was $20 and the second group’s average was $50.
    • Fundraising implications: A higher stimulus (donation number) will generally yield a higher result.
  2. Framing: How we propose the proposition.
    • Example 1: When asked to try jam in a grocery store, the group given less flavor options were more likely to actually purchase jam.
    • Fundraising implication: Giving less options will yield a higher response rate.
    • Example 2: Saying it was an “investment not a gift” received more donations.
    • Fundraising implications: Framing the message in more appealing terms will alter perception and behavior.
  3. Nudging: Not forbidding options, but alter behavior by changing perception.
    • Example 1: While trying to encourage students to change their eating habits, tables were arranged with healthier options in a more accessible place and having unhealthy options look less appealing by discarding of all the decorative aspects. Students chose the healthier options even though they knew the goal of the table setting.
    • Example 2: “Remember a Charity” asked groups of donors to put money in their wills in multiple ways. The first group of donors were not directly asked, the second group was directly asked, and group three was told that most people put money away for charity in their wills. The first group had the lowest response rate, followed by the second group in the middle, and the third group donating the most.
    • Marketing implications: Asking in the right way and at the right moment increases engagement. The goal is to do an obvious and simple thing, but get people to do it systematically.

Remember, you are not the target market. Put yourself in the mind of your donors.

We will continue to share our thoughts on some of the sessions from npNext in the coming weeks and if you’d like to view many of the sessions from the past 4 years, please visit:

Idea Engine – Finding Donors Using Big Data

By: Barry Nelson

Non-profits capture quite a bit of data on donors these days.  In the ‘easier said than done’ category, most of us would like to be able to use data to better serve our donors by identifying interests and targeting donors for gifts that match their passions.

The good news is that non-profits report collecting a good amount of data.  The bad news is that, for a variety of reasons (including lack of resources), data is not utilized to its potential.  Fundraising consultants Everyaction and NonProfitHub published results from a survey of 467 non-profit professionals on the state of data in the non-profit sector.  A link to that study is here.

They found that 40% of respondents use data in their decision-making processes. 97% expressed an interest in learning how to use their data more effectively. Some of the issues identified by the study include:

  • Organizations don’t feel they are collecting enough data (36%)
  • A lack of tools for analyzing data (42%)
  • Data isn’t kept in one place (46%)
  • Personnel do not have enough experience using data (55%)
  • Not enough time or staff to focus on data (79%)

CDP’s Role

The Contributor Development Partnership’s raison d’etre from the beginning was to act as an extension of station membership programs, providing tools, tips, analysis and projects that help stations maximize and monetize the value of data. The Revenue Opportunity and Action Report (ROAR) is a great example of how stations are able to quickly analyze the health of their programs through a real-time quarterly snapshot.  The CDP can also use data from the national reference file to provide member stations with insight on national trends.  To address the issues identified in the Everyaction and NonProfitHub study, CDP:

  • Encourages stations to collect data and provides tips and projects such as Member Database Enhancement (wealth & demographic overlays)
  • Provides a free tool for analyzing data (ROAR), plus fundraising calculators and checklists
  • Encourages stations to consolidate data into one source and provides CRM services as needed through NGOConnect
  • Provides data and report training to staff and management to stations that adopt Member Services Bureau
  • Creates higher NET projects that are curated by CDP staff that require little to no time on the part of your current staff

A Revolution in Acquisition

Here is an excellent example of the last bullet point that I have been personally excited about for the past year. CDP’s Acquisition project is a revolutionary way to look at how Big Data (REALLY Big Data) can identify and target potential donors who have a higher probability of giving to your station.

How CDP Acquisition Works

As with any acquisition program, we identify current donors and eliminate them from the acquisition pool.  Then the fun begins.  With CDP Acquisition there are two major differences in our approach: we do not buy lists, and the CDP assumes all up-front costs associated with the mailings.  All the heavy lifting is done for you.

Here’s the nugget of the idea: CDP uses proprietary predictive modeling methods to produce a mail file, taking into account donor behavior and capacity.  We produce fully station-branded mailings on your behalf to eliminate extra work by your own staff using a proven package that works across all markets. CDP manages the printing and mailing, and tracks/reports on delivery on the station’s behalf.  We have developed a cycle that occurs four times per year, which nicely dovetails with typical station fundraising efforts.

I may have buried the lede here, because my favorite part of the CDP Acquisition model is that stations get the advantage of a Big Data-driven, predictive fundraising model with NO UPFRONT COSTS.  The station only pays for members acquired, and based on prior results, we are seeing the NET cost to acquire a member drop by 50%.  We have a one-sheet that provides a comparison between the traditional and CDP approaches available at

Doing More With Less

During the recession, non-profits were forced to do more with less.  It’s 2017, and budgets are still tight.  It is likely that you are still lacking capacity in your membership & development department.  Many stations are hiring, and have chosen to build capacity in the content area.  Better service will only result in stronger revenue growth when stations are prepared to leverage all gathered data to target donors and increase conversions.

Acquisition budgets are often the first on the chopping block, chiefly due to high up-front costs and low ROI.  CDP continues to refine our approach to mitigate costs and increase ROI, and we will report out on retention rates of donors acquired through this new method.

We hope you consider CDP a partner and an extension of your membership team, one that allows you to devote more time and financial resources to local cultivation and stewardship efforts.

Because we are partners with 200+ CDP member stations, we also would like to hear from you with ideas on how you use data, or your ‘dream’ Big Data project that may be scalable to CDP stations large and small.  Please leave comments below or contact one of us on the CDP team!