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Coronavirus, how we can help

Coronavirus, how we can help

We at Grassroot Communication, like everyone else, are keeping an eye on the latest news about COVID-19. We’re writing to ensure you that we will do everything we can to support your operations, even as the community adopts social-distancing and other preventative measures.

Our CSR reps are available even when they work from home. Your calls are routed to their extensions, which will ring on their cell phones if they are not in the office. Our CSR’s are monitoring their emails and checking messages routinely,  so rest assured that your project will continue to move through our production.

We are offering shipping and pick-ups to your home addresses. Everything from sending proofs to dropping off materials can be done to your personal home should you need us to.

Set up a webex meeting with us to discuss how you can be more proactive in the current environment. We expect a very crowded environment for nonprofit messaging during the U.S. election cycle this summer and fall, and the COVID-19 crisis adds even more uncertainty.

We are actively encouraging our clients to use the springtime as their primary fundraising and member outreach season. Is there anything we can do right now to offset any potential and unforeseen impacts on fundraising and outreach? Contact us to set up a call with us today.

We will continue to stay in touch as events unfold. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Stay safe and healthy,

GrassRoot Communication Team

Do Not Reply? … There’s A Better Way

If you have an email account, you’ve seen messages from do-not-reply addresses. They can be useful in certain circumstances, but chances are, none of those circumstances apply to your organization.

Simply put, do-not-reply addresses are almost always a bad idea. As this HubSpot blog post points out, they discourage two-way communication and are susceptible to getting caught up in spam filters. They also can run afoul of U.S. laws governing email distribution by businesses.

There are better ways to manage the incoming email that you are likely looking to avoid by using a do-not-reply address. Among the ones we like the most: use alias addresses. These can be filled on your end to help separate responses—messages to prospects might from a “hello@yourdomain.com” address, for example, while messages to active contacts can come from a more recognizable address, such as an executive’s first name (jane@yourdomain.com).

Filters can also be used to sort through auto-response messages, such as “message delivery notification” to help you keep your list current—undeliverable addresses can be removed, for instance.

If your messages generate a number of manual responses, consider having an auto-response of your own. You should strive to answer every inquiry, but depending on volume, it may take your team a few days. That’s fine—but it could be reassuring to your audience to receive confirmation that their message has been received, and your team is on the case.

For more tips on how to manage replies without closing off communication, check out HubSpot’s tips.

2020 Membership MARKETING RE-SET: Let Your Data Help You Deliver

As you embark on your 2020 membership recruitment plan, some of the most important work comes long before you even begin sending out your first campaign collateral or even plotting your campaign. Think of it like using a road map to plot a long car journey.

Simply put, before you can figure you how to get to where you want to go, you must know where you are. For membership-based organizations, we recommend starting with member retention.

The calculation is simple, but just to make sure we’re all on the same page, we will go over it here. Calculating your retention rate can be done in five steps:

1. Pick a time period, such as one year.

2. Determine the number of members you had at the beginning of the period (B).

3. Determine the number of members you had at the end (E).

4. Determine the number of new members added during the period (N), and subtract this from the end count (E-N).

5. Divide (E-N) by B—so (E-N/B), for your math-savvy folk—and you have your retention rate!

Factoring out added members is key, because they were not present at the beginning of the time period. Only members at the beginning of the specified period should be viewed as candidates for retention during the period.

Your retention rate gives you a good, big-picture idea of how well your association is doing growing or maintaining its membership. Another key metric—and probably the one that should garner the most near-term marketing attention—is renewal rate.

Calculating your renewal rate is simple: divide the number of renewals by the number of eligible renewals in a given time period. For example, if you had 100 members come up for renewal over the period of one year, and 95 of them renewed, your renewal rate would be 95/100 = 0.95, or 95%. That’s pretty good!

No matter how high that renewal percentage is, unless it’s perfect, it points to an obvious outreach opportunity. Members already are familiar with your organization and what it offers. Targeting them via lapsed-member campaigns should be a low-hanging fruit in your membership campaign push.

Of course, members usually don’t lapse for no reason. Digging into the data you have on lapsed members will give you insights on what is going on—and perhaps some clear goals. Perhaps your organization caters to professionals who tend to leave their field at retirement, and your lapsed members are mostly retirees? That could help you target your marketing in other areas. It also could be fodder for expanding your association’s offerings to grow its appeal—and its membership base!

Retention rates vary based on many factors. In general, however, if you are keeping 80% of your members—meaning 8 out of 10 eligible to renew are doing so—you are in pretty good shape. If not, don’t worry. We’ve touched on membership-retention strategies before, including back in 2018, when we shared nine tips for boosting renewals. You can read the entire article here (https://grassrootcommunication.com/9-high-value-membership-benefits-to-improve-retention/), but we will re-up four of our favorite tips:

1. Feed the Community

Your audience is people who are united by a common interest. Implementing simple ways for people to connect – an official Facebook page or a moderated forum section on your website will have your members talking almost immediately. You should also connect personally with your members to help boost their feeling of belonging and connectedness!

2. Go Beyond ‘Belonging’. 

Your members want to a part of something, but they are hungry for information too. Conferences and seminars—even simple, online webinars—provide for a hands-on learning experience. It serves as both a getaway and a constructive opportunity.

3. Provide Exclusive Products

A sense of exclusivity creates demand—so provide something exclusive. The product itself doesn’t need to be something you perceive as particularly “exclusive.” As long as it’s a strain or version of a product that is unique to your organization, go ahead and label it as exclusive. If it’s limited to a particular group, it’s exclusive. If it’s white-labeled, it’s exclusive. If it’s difficult to find elsewhere, it’s exclusive.

4. Early Renewal Discount

This is time-tested, but it works. Start your member-renewal drive early, and provide people with the option of a longer payment plan or an up-front discount (or both). The discount can be as little as 5% off the annual membership fee, but as long as people feel that they’re receiving the benefit of their membership from day one, your organization puts itself in a much better position to retain its members.

What Else Can Your Data Tell You?

Benchmarking and setting goals are beneficial activities that should be embedded in a membership organization’s processes. Are you taking advantage of what your data is telling you?

One of the areas we’ve been helping clients with is using their existing data to glean trends and actionable insight—a benchmarking jump-start, if you will. We call the new service MemberTrends, and it’s making a difference for our clients.

In one case, after cleaning and appending an association client’s in-house prospect list, we were able to determine the most viable prospects to target with a recruitment campaign. We also guided the client to do A/B testing so it could start gathering real marketing data to use for future campaigns. We helped the client figure out the best way to spend its recruitment dollars and designed a campaign using variable data and segmentation.

We did something similar for another client. The one wrinkle: before we sent out the direct-mail campaign, we tested offers through email marketing. The offer that got the highest response was then sent out the mailing.
In each case, existing data in the client’s possession helped us craft a targeted, cost-effective campaign. The results spoke for themselves.

Your Data—Your Future

No two organizations are the same, and neither are their membership profiles. Understanding how your audience thinks and what is motivating the decisions they make—both joining the association and disengaging from it–can help you develop more effective, efficient campaigns. We’re happy to help!

Looking to get more insight from your data? We can help!

Contact us at sherene@grassrootcommunication.com and let’s get started. 

Why Direct Mail? Because It WORKS!

Direct mail as a marketing tactic boasted a 43% increase in customer response rates in 2016, according to the Data & Marketing Association.

How can this happen in a world where digital is dominating? One way is better targeting. By combining your digital intelligence on your customers and prospects with targeted direct-mail messages, you combine the power of data analytics with the enduring allure of print.

Direct Mail

GRC’s Grassroot targeting helps you blend your data with persuasive direct-mail messages that will resonate with your prospects. What does this mean for nonprofit communications directors? It means that your next campaign will maximize dollars spent and provide both online and offline messaging to better persuade your audience.

For your organization’s next outreach campaign, think targeted, data-driven direct mail. Think Grassroot Communication!

Direct Mail Fundraising, Membership and Advocacy Campaigns | 2020 Postal Rates

Grass Root Communication specializes in designing and executing highly targeted data-driven direct mail Fundraising, Membership and Advocacy campaigns. We handle the entire campaign build from the data analytics to the appeal letter writing, to production, mailing and tracking of campaigns- all under one roof.
Grassroot Communication 2020 Postal Rates
• Acquisition packages (for attracting new Donors/members/constituents)
• Fundraising Appeals (to raise revenue from both small and medium-sized donors/supporters)
• On-Boarding packages (for welcoming and engaging brand new donors/members/constituents)
• Win Back campaigns (for getting back lapsed donors/members/constituents)
• Social/Political Advocacy campaigns (designed to turn voter sentiment towards social issues.).
• Educational/Informational Campaigns (to help your members and constituents keep up with professional and industry-wide trends)


Grow Your Association.
Get More Members. Keep Them Longer.

MemberTrends uses your member data to develop a step-by-step plan to increasing both retention and new-member acquisitions.

MemberTrends Data Analysis

Your data holds the keys to your membership-campaign strategies. GRC MemberTrends analyzes your data and reveals immediately actionable strategies that you can use to drive renewals, new-member campaigns, and other efforts aimed at strengthening your organization. And you won’t have to break your budget in the process. Using GRC MemberTrends, you will learn:

  • Learn more about why your members lapse
  • Identify members at risk for lapsing and learn the steps to help keep them
  • Gain insight on how to target new member candidates
  • Per-member revenue insights that help identify upgrade and ancillary-sales opportunities
  • Common attributes that can be used to target new members
  • Member-acquisition and retention costs
  • Members’ lifetime values and attrition rates
  • Snapshot of members by your organization’s categories
  • Historical growth trends and future growth projections
  • And much more.



Each GRC MemberTrends report is delivered with both in-depth analysis and easy-to-digest charts and graphics that summarize the major takeaways. They also include recommended action plans based on the specific results generated from your data. This sample report gives you an idea of what to expect, but remember–each GRC Member Trends report is customized based on results generated from your data.

Ready to gain new, actionable insight from your data? Contact us today






Where Have All The Donors Gone

Is your year-end campaign ready to deliver? The latest Fundraising Effective Project stats show that total donors declined 6% in the second quarter, and revenue was down 7%. Don’t be part of the trend: our customized, affordable analysis will show you where your biggest opportunities are, and how to cash in on them!
Click here now to take advantage of our money-back-guarantee.
The cost of $600 for the analytics will be refunded to you if results don’t meet your expectations.
Donor Insight. Fundraising Action

It’s not all bad news.  Overall, 2018 revenue increased by 1.6%.  But realistically, a trend that shows fewer and fewer donors giving slightly more revenue is unsustainable and spells real trouble for the sector.

Where we left off

At the end of 2017 the sector saw an unprecedented fourth quarter that yielded 10% more revenue and 5% more donors as compared to 2016.  Then in the First Quarter report we began to think the sky was falling. We started the year down ( -6.6% )in the number of donors and down (-2.1%) in revenue through the second quarter of 2017.   Then,  after a tremendous 2017 Third Quarter that saw the sector ahead on revenue—up  +2.6% for the first three quarters.  We  even made some gains in the numbers of donors bringing the decline up to -4.3% year- over- year compared to 2016.

Perhaps  at the end of 2017 we were overly optimistic. Some experts felt those 2017 results exceeded expectations because of newly passed tax reform laws, others thought it could be related to the disaster response.

2018 Fundraising Peformance - Donor Retention and Revenue

Where we are now?

Unfortunately, we're still gazing out the window, looking for that reprieve to show up.  It's nowhere in sight.

The results from Q4 2018 are concerning.

🚩  Number of Donors are down -4.5% in 2018 compared to 2017.

🚩  Revenue is up 2.6% for the $1,000+ donors. Revenue is down  -4% for the $250-$999 group.  And down -4.4%  for smaller gift donors under $ 250.

Where will we go from here?

It is difficult to establish causality behind this trend, but Richard Rubin from the Wall Street Journal outlines how this may be related to the new tax law and the subsequent increase of the standard deduction. The data supports that claim as we have just witnessed the lowest fourth quarter in donations.

What can you do about it?

3 Action Steps:

  1. Benchmark your success
  2. Evaluate you acquisition and reinstatement investment strategies
  3. Set your goals and track monthly

Step 1:  Benchmark Your Success

A vital first step is to ‘know your numbers’.

  • Have you retained more donors than you did last year?
  • Has revenue increased or decreased?

If you don’t know, find out. We’re here to help if you need it.

Step 2:  Evaluate Your Investment Strategies

  • Are you balancing new donor acquisition with lapsed reactivation?
  • Are you spending enough on donor retention?
  • Do you know how many donors you need to retain so your file doesn’t shrink?

We can help.  Ask us to generate the 'Leaky Bucket' analysis and action plan for you.

Step 3:  Set your goals and track monthly

Be proactive and stay on top of the health of your donor file.  Set your goals [retention and value] and track monthly.

  • Retention
  • Upgrading
  • Revenue
(Blog courtesy of DonorTrends)

Just What Is MemberTrends?

Grow Your Association.
Get More Members. Keep Them Longer.

MemberTrends uses your member data to develop a step-by-step plan to increasing both retention and new-member acquisitions.

With MemberTrends, you will: 

  • Learn more about why your members lapse,
  • Identify members at risk for lapsing and learn the steps to help keep them,
  • Gain insight on how to target new member candidates,
  • and much more.

Get your FREE sample report now and start developing your membership-growth strategies tomorrow.
👉 https://mailchi.mp/grassrootcommunication/membertrends

Why Direct Mail? It Stimulates The Brain.

A basic marketing tenet is that you should always place your message where your audience will receive it. So it makes intuitive sense that the organizations should put their appeals on social media, because that’s where everyone seems to spend their time nowadays, especially millennials. But delivering a message is about more than just ensuring your audience comes across it—the medium does matter. Highly advanced brain science illustrates that people respond differently to the same message send in different formats.

Direct Mail Stimulates Brain | Grassroot Communication

Researchers at the center for the Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business found that the participants spent more time with the physical advertisements showed more desire for the product seen in print and were more stimulated by physical ads than by their digital counterparts. What does this mean for nonprofit communications directors? It means that your supporters feel a greater emotional reaction to print communication, raising the perceived value of what is being advertised. A higher-value message is more likely to convert a prospect into a supporter. For your organization’s next capital campaign, think targeted direct mail.


Why Direct Mail?

Why Direct Mail? Because it grabs and hold attention!

The key to effective engagement is relevance. Crafting a piece of communication that resonates with your recipient is essential to removing the spam-like element associated with many solicitations – especially those sent via email and social media.

High-quality direct mail that is properly targeted to the right audience with the right message is highly effective in persuading your recipient to take action. It provides the opportunity to put your message in your recipient’s hands—a message that, as part of a multi-channel, grass-roots effort, they will be exposed to multiple times.

Social media is effective for quick updates and reminders, but it should not be relied upon for persuasive campaigns that require attention. The quick-glance, instant-gratification mindset of the online user is simply not conducive to the sort of campaign messages that convert prospects into members and donors.

Why Direct Mail