American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society

This was a bold move for sure. I applaud the ACS for rethinking their investment. It will be interesting to tract the results.

One year ago, I wrote an article that detailed what may be one of the boldest moves by a top brand in the nonprofit industry. In a move that took the industry by surprise, the American Cancer Society ACS made the following decisions in late 2012 with immediate action in 2013:

  1. Stop all direct mail acquisition to generate new direct mail donors for the organization.
  2. Stop all direct mail conversion to offer non-direct mail Society donors (online donors, event-participants/donors, information seekers, etc.) an opportunity to give a direct mail gift.
  3. Remove the American Cancer Society direct mail donors from all exchange universes.

As a reminder, the Society mailed 41 million direct mail pieces to cold prospects and non-mail Society donors in its last year of the strategy. As many can imagine, this decision had the industry talking and everyone became a crystal ball reader for what the future would hold for ACS’s program and revenue.

In my opinion, there are so many challenges facing today’s nonprofits. Is this something that every organization should be taking on today? The answer is, “It depends.” There are multiple levels to “integration,” and if direct mail is a significant portion of your revenue, you should not tolerate a high level of risk to make sweeping change. However, the movement away from what the American Cancer Society considers a “single-channel approach” is a very important discussion to start. As an industry, we must be where our donors are, and as the donor population ages and shifts, one thing is for sure — they are not ONLY reading your mail.

via Angie Moore-American Cancer Society’s Pioneering Decision One Year Later : FundRaising Success.