bridge conference

Back from Bridge: the Highlights

Monica and I recently returned from our third year at the Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference. It’s a worthwhile trek to D.C., and I love their concept of “bridging” the most effective strategies in direct marketing and fundraising. Not to mention the chance to see east coast friends, clients and colleagues.

There’s no way of course to recap an entire conference in a blog, but here are some of the high points:
  • There is a cost to fundraising that shouldn’t be viewed as shameful or unethical. The CEO of Wounded Warrior, Steven Nardizzi, encouraged nonprofits to rise up and defend investing in growth.
  • Content development continues to reign supreme. Many sessions covered the need to provide different content tracks for the user experience. The U.S. Holocaust Museum employed a new strategy along these lines and saw great gains in engagement and fundraising.
  • Donor engagement by generation—Session encourages attendees to find ways to involve every generation of giver by providing philanthropic opportunities that are relevant to them (by lifestage).
  • Acquiring monthly donors was a hot topic. Speakers suggested looking for ways to infuse a sustainer appeal at communication points you might not have considered before (thank you messages and reply forms, for example).
  • Gamification—The rise of gaming is influencing philanthropy more than you might think. Its sophistication and interactivity ups the bar on technical fundraising efforts and what donors enjoy and expect. You can use this to your advantage by creating simple, fun experiences.
Check out a quick recap from this terrific conference and follow Bridge on Twitter.

Headed to the Bridge Conference

In just a few days, one half of the massive nonprofit messaging force that is M&C will take off for Washington, D.C. and one of the coolest conferences around.

TRANSLATION: Merritt and I are going to the Bridge Conference and we are rett-ta-go!

Like a never-ending gobstopper of nonprofit fundraising goodness, the Bridge Conference is one layer of educationnetworkingfunexpansiveconversation after another. They bring in the big boys (you got your PETA, your HRC … your Humane Society, et al ...) which is great.

It's not every day you get to hear the agency account leads as well as representatives from the nonprofits themselves let you in on the packages they're testing, what's winning and more important to my cold, dark heart—what they thought would kill and completely tanked.

An ounce of someone else's pain is worth a pound of me thinking twice before I recommend that COOL PACKAGE. Heartless.

But if it's hugs and happy hours you seek—which I do, I'm only cutthroat when it comes to copywriting … and not really—get thee to Bridge. We see so many clients, friends and meet so many new people we're high on good cheer for a week after we get back. Christmas in July. Peace on earth and good will toward men.

Rather than rhapsodize any further, I encourage you to check out the full schedule and see for yourself.

And be sure to follow me @mjtiffany and Merritt @merrittengel on Twitter as we'll be tweeting like the dickens from the sessions we're in. You can stay on top of all the Bridge jams with the hashtag #Bridge14.

*I have no affiliation with the Bridge Conference and this love poem is spontaneous. It's that good.

2013 Bridge Conference Highlights

Bob, Monica and I had a great time at the Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference in Baltimore earlier this month. If you haven't considered going, I highly recommend it. The conference was sold out. Energy was high, and the content was solid. Here are some of my takeaways from the sessions I attended:

1. Overall fundraising outlook is good, but all the moving parts and pieces need to be in tip top shape to succeed.
2. While acquisition of new donors is still important, taking care of existing ones is paramount. Far too many charities leave donors in a communication wasteland.
3. Authentic mission-focused content is what donors want and demand. Respect the relationship.
4. Acquiring monthly donors should be a top focus—and taking care of them.
5. Donors are looking for charities that deliver outcomes, not just programs.

For more detailed Bridge takeaways, take a look at Nonprofit Times.