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Citadel Brigadier Foundation

The Citadel Brigadier Foundation Achieves Record-Breaking Membership Campaign and Raises $200,000 with Help from The Raiser’s Edge

Founded in 1842, The Citadel has an undergraduate student body of about 2,000 students who make up the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. Another 1,000 students attend The Citadel Graduate College, a civilian evening program that offers graduate and professional as well as undergraduate programs. The Citadel Brigadier Foundation is the philanthropic arm that supports athletics at The Citadel. Donations to The Citadel Brigadier Foundation go primarily to non-endowed athletic scholarships for a variety of athletic programs.

Challenge

In 2010, staff members at The Citadel Brigadier Foundation decided to re-evaluate their processes for the Foundation’s membership drive and take a more coordinated approach. Instead of conducting several campaigns throughout the year, The Citadel Brigadier Foundation elected to conduct one, highly coordinated and strategic fundraising campaign.

When the Foundation decided to re-evaluate and improve its membership campaign, it enlisted the help of The Kennickell Group, a Savannah, Georgia-based company that specializes in print solutions, direct mail and fulfillment, and marketing.

Solution

The Kennickell Group helped The Citadel Brigadier Foundation take the constituent data that had been stored and maintained in The Raiser’s Edge and dice it into a number of categories, cross-referencing a variety of attributes in the database to arrive at a number of conclusions that would be used to develop a focused membership drive campaign.

Using data from The Raiser’s Edge, the Foundation has already been able to save money and increase membership. One of the primary reasons that the campaign has been a success thus far can be attributed to the data The Citadel Foundation maintained in its Raiser’s Edge database.

Riley Croft, account executive at The Kennickell Group, states that the amount of data that The Raiser’s Edge can store, and store in an organized manner, made it possible for the Foundation to learn more about its constituency and focus its campaign on those most likely to give.

By analyzing the data to determine those most likely to become members, the Brigadier Foundation was able to eliminate 13,000 records from the direct mail list, resulting in a savings of approximately $6,000 in postage. For Mr. Croft, these savings would not have been possible without available data to analyze. Otherwise, the Foundation would have done what it typically did — spend money sending pieces to individuals whose chances of joining were less than one percent.

The team gained valuable insights about the Foundation’s supporters. For example, alumni living within 25 miles of campus are three times more likely to join than the average alumni. Looking at this further, they discovered that there are 2,000 alumni living within 25 miles of campus who were not currently members. Now, the Foundation could focus on those 2,000 and really engage each of them to deliver a personal message that would resonate.

Analysis of the data also led to the discovery that former athletes are three to four times more likely to join than average alumni, and 500 former athletes live within 25 miles of the campus. Similarly, military ranks of Colonel or higher are three times more likely to join than the average alumnus.

Another interesting discovery was that the Foundation had no female members, despite the fact that a number of female graduates attended The Citadel on full or partial athletic scholarships funded by the Foundation. Since the campaign’s launch in the beginning of 2010, the Foundation now has several female members.

Results

All of this information, housed and maintained in Blackbaud’s The Raiser’s Edge, gave The Kennickell Group and The Citadel Brigadier Foundation the ability to better understand donors. The data enabled the Foundation to determine who is most likely to give, who in that group is not a member, and which groups of alumni warrant the most attention.

Based on the nonprofit data analysis, the team identified 13 distinct target segments for the 2010 membership campaign. The Kennickell Group then tailored marketing messages to the behavioral and demographic indicators of each target segment. Based on the target segment, prospective alumni members were sent personalized postcards that elicited action and directed them to their personal URLs (or PURL) where they could donate online and order a free gift.

To capture the attention of postcard recipients, The Kennickell Group utilized a photo taken of cadets in formation on the football field to create several variable digital motifs that spelled out the name of each postcard recipient. These highly personalized pieces had a profound impact because they directly related to the recipient’s experience as a cadet at The Citadel.

For The Citadel Brigadier Foundation, targeted marketing has thus far proven better than a mass, generic approach to membership drives. The campaign, only in its beginning months, has already raised more than $200,000 — a new all-time record. Jerry Baker, executive director for The Citadel Brigadier Foundation, set a goal to increase membership by 10 percent. To date, the organization has increased membership by 18 percent.

The Citadel Brigadier Foundation now attests that it truly understands how data can help nonprofits understand their constituents and make a case for collecting data — and the software to effectively store and maintain it. The Citadel Brigadier Foundation now knows that the power of data, a good CRM system to maintain it, and a targeted approach to communication can yield positive results and a great return on investment.

 
 

Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) is the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good. Serving the entire social good community—nonprofits, foundations, corporations, education institutions, and individual change agents—Blackbaud connects and empowers organizations to increase their impact through software, services, expertise, and data intelligence. The Blackbaud portfolio is tailored to the unique needs of vertical markets, with solutions for fundraising and relationship management, digital marketing, advocacy, accounting, payments, analytics, school management, grant management, corporate social responsibility, and volunteerism. Serving the industry for more than three decades, Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina and has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.blackbaud.com.

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