The Heritage Foundation
Keeping supporters engaged – and increasing that engagement - is a perennial challenge for advocacy organizations. The Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank, invites supporters to participate in monthly Broadnet TeleForums where they receive in-depth updates from Heritage experts.
The Heritage Foundation needed a solution to communicate with their membership base while mutually providing a value add to their gift giving members. In an effort to reach out to their audience and speak directly about legislation and current events that affected these members, Heritage conducted a series of quarterly calls over the course of 2011. By calling out to members once per quarter, the foundation was able to yield fantastic results while also getting a pulse about what issues were most important to their audience.
Each members-only TeleForum™ event featured esteemed guest hosts, a live question and answer portion, and an interactive polling component. Content included a discussion of the State of the Union in the January kickoff call, the economy and spending cuts during their May event, balancing the budget and the 2012 Presidential elections on the July TeleForum™ call, and national security issues during the November call.
Prior to their events, the Heritage Foundation promoted the call by reaching out to members in an email blast. This communication allowed them to publicize the date and time of the event, as well as highlight the subjects they planned on addressing. The Heritage Foundation team additionally prioritized their lists in advance of the event based upon the level of giving. By indicating in their list each donation level, screeners were able to ensure that the highest level of service was provided to donors and the hosts ensured that these callers’ questions were taken live.
Throughout the event, members were able to ask questions directly from a variety of prominent guest hosts: Dr. Erwin Feulner, President of the Heritage Foundation, Mr. John Fogarty, VP of Development for the Heritage Foundation, Alison Fraser, Director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, Sean Hannity, political commentator and TV personality, Nick Reid, the Director of Major Gifts for Heritage Foundation, and Dr. James Carafano, the resident expert for Heritage Foundation on security and defense.
In an effort to ensure a wider distribution of their publications, the above hosts asked callers to “Press 1” if they were interested in receiving literature from the Heritage Foundation. An incredible 2,676 participants requested a copy.
During the July TeleForum™ call, Heritage Foundation team members worked with Broadnet to utilize an exciting new feature: Custom Music Hold. Combining clips from guest host Sean Hannity, as well as testimonials from members overlaid with music, Heritage Foundation saw a staggering participation rate of 4,499 peak callers.
After analyzing the data from their TeleForum™ call series, the Heritage Foundation team found that the members who participated in calls had a 20 percent higher renewal rate and an 11 percent increase in the amount of gifts than the members who did not join the events.
By communicating directly with members and getting a better feel for their questions and concerns, the Heritage Foundation was able to garner a stronger relationship with their audience and thank them for their continued support of the organization.
According to Erin Bender, Associate Manger of Membership Programs at Heritage, Broadnet is “helpful, responsive, innovative and [they] work with us hand-in-hand to constantly improve the donor experience of our members Teleforum™ events.”
Date: 2011 - Quarterly
Total Attendees: 48,568
Peak Attendees: 2,975 average
Average Duration: 18.5 minutes
Members who participated in calls had a 20% higher renewal rate
Members who joined the call gave an average contribution amount nearly twice that of donors who did not participate in the call