Barton Cotton clients represent a broad spectrum of causes, and we strive to approach their respective brands with an understanding of their goals and missions, separating them into achievable objectives. Our strategy is driven by insight and produces results every time results that support our clients in meeting their corporate goals in fundraising, membership and public awareness. Click on a case study from the drop-down menu above and read about how we've helped a few of our clients meet their mission.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, with its Auxiliaries, includes 2.4 million members in approximately 9,000 Posts worldwide. The organization's mission is to "honor the dead by helping the living" through veterans' service, community service, national security and a strong national defense.
Barton Cotton has had a long and successful relationship with Veterans of Foreign Wars as a full-service agency. In 2005, when they targeted their online fundraising and e-mail marketing for growth, Barton Cotton recognized some key challenges: no online donation form, very basic and sporadic email newsletter combined with a minimal number of e-mails in their database. The first was to increase the number of valid email addresses. Barton Cotton implemented new online forms to captured emails and automatically update the constituent database. Additionally, email requests were added to the direct mail acquisition piece. A few months later, Barton Cotton launched the first successful email blast. The strategy was to request that the recipient write a personal note to a soldier, to be delivered to a hospital by VFW. The campaign was a huge success.
Since 2005, Barton Cotton has continued to implement integrated online strategies combing email, viral campaigns, and combined email/direct mail campaigns. The most recent example of online integration raised in over $500,000 and gained more than 2,000 names over three months.
Ducks Unlimited is a large, well known organization with a membership base of over 600,000. The group's critical mission is to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl, habitats that also benefit other wildlife and people.Their fundraising strategy uses a combination of events and direct marketing to support the group's environmental mission. They rely heavily on the use of back-end premiums in their direct marketing program to drive membership and fundraising responses. There are set annual dues that require a series of monthly renewal mailings in addition to several fundraising mailings targeting the same group during the year to solicit additional contributions. Ducks Unlimited was struggling with rapidly declining net revenue from their direct marketing efforts. With membership steadily declining over a five-year period, a recent effort to grow the file succeeded with less than 1% growth, but with a very high investment. Barton Cotton has worked closely with the client over the past two years to identify appropriate and cost-effective ways to grow the membership file without sacrificing the net revenue that had been dramatically affected by prior efforts. With two years of the partnership complete, the direct mail portion of the membership has grown by 25% with significant revenue growth. Net revenues have returned to acceptable levels and the organization is once again growing this portion of their membership. In 1986, Ducks Unlimited was the first Affinity Marketing client for Barton Cotton. This successful partnership is responsible for the sale and circulation of more than one million Ducks Unlimited branded Holiday Cards each fall, as well as millions of dollars in royalties earned by Ducks Unlimited over their 24 year history with the Holiday Card program.
Since 1962, Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) has advocated the protection of Canada's wild species and spaces. Representing over 300,000 members and supporters, the federation is one of Canada's largest non-profit, non-governmental conservation organizations.
CWF partners with Barton Cotton as a full-service agency. Over the last six years, Barton Cotton strategy and execution has increased their net income by 107%. This monumental growth can be credited to many factors including creative and package strategies. However, the key element that resulted in this growth is Long Term Financial Planning with Barton Cotton.
Using proprietary strategic planning models, Barton Cotton made the critical determination that CWF was not acquiring enough new names to grow the file. Factoring in statistics such as acquisition response rates and renewal rates, Barton Cotton determined the level of acquisition investment that would result in income growth. Next, working with CWF's internal team to fine-tune and execute the plan, Barton Cotton developed acquisition campaign plans aimed at meeting a growth goal. The investment in strategic analysis and planning was invaluable, and the CWF file started to show significant growth.
In tandem with growing new names, Barton Cotton focused on the donor file to improve retention. The financial planning model showed that a lift in retention rate would result in a significant increase in net revenues. New programs were added, messaging was improved, and packages were tested all with the goal of increasing house file retention rates.
With around two million current magazine subscribers, Smithsonian has a large membership base and a brand that is iconic within the United States. Historically, the percentage of members who support the organization philanthropically has been low. The challenge has been to accurately identify which members are most likely to make a gift.
Over the years Barton Cotton has developed an internal model to identify the right combination of transactional indicators that indicate a member is a good prospect for fundraising mailings. We manage the data carefully and combine internal mail history and file origin history in combination with externally appended data. In addition, we have begun using externally developed demographic models to expand the mailable universe.
Throughout our 10-year partnership with Smithsonian, the client has seen steady donor file growth along with stable and healthy net revenue.