Laura Gigliotti_HeadshotHow does one of the most prestigious children’s hospitals in the world leverage data to drive fundraising for their critical pediatric care? DMA members learned directly from the St. Jude’s leadership at the most recent DMA Communities Regional Roundtable in Memphis, TN.

DMA Communities will be hitting a new city every-other-month this year, bringing the learning, networking, and FUN to our members in cities across the United States where we don’t normally host DMA events, including Columbus, Ohio, Atlanta, Georgia, and Denver, Colorado! Our most recent stop? Memphis, Tennessee, where the only thing better than the BBQ was our smokin’ hot event!

Earlier this month, DMA member company St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened their doors and hosted us in their brand new Domino’s Event Center, which opened last summer. Steve Froehlich, DMA Board Member and Senior Vice President of National Direct Marketing for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, explained that the space is just one of the many exciting additions they’ve made to their campus, thanks to the support from their donor base of 9 million people. “This is so important, because these donor dollars ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live,” Steve said.

For the past 4 years, Steve has been leading the team of National Direct Marketing at St. Jude. This includes their direct response television, direct mail, telemarketing, online fundraising, monthly giving, and a variety of smaller donor acquisition programs to their English and Spanish language donors.

Steve spoke about data and numbers, noting that one of the biggest changes to St. Jude since it’s opening in 1962 has been the way the hospital thinks about data in medicine. “One Doctor recently described ‘Big Data’ in terms of the 3 V’s – saying that it is giving us access to volumes of information, that can collected from a vast variety of sources, and can be processed with a velocity that was unimaginable years ago,” he explained.

Steve went on to explain that there are three conceptual ways that St. Jude uses data to improve their fundraising programs:

  1. In its simplest form, data are just pieces of information we collect
    Steve and his team monitor what’s going on in the world and how people perceive the St. Jude brand, using things like Net Promoter Scores, unaided/aided recognition scores, and Share of Voice. They also pay attention to “cost per donor acquisition” metrics, variances in lifetime value by acquisition source, response rates, churn ratios, and ultimately return-on-investment.
  2. Data can help us interpret and present information in a way that helps others understand a relationship or a point of view
    Data is a tool, Steve said. It can be an incredibly helpful tool for explaining to others how we see the world and how we interpret the challenges that we face. And, data visualization is beginning to emerge as one of the most important skills in fields that are making use of Big Data. There is a need to blend data analytics with graphic design in order to communicate effectively. The Protein Paint program at St. Jude, for example, assimilates complex genomic data and visually allows users to see gene mutations.
  3. Individual insights can be gained with newer technology
    Using sophisticated technologies, Steve and his team can overlay 3rd party purchase behavior on top of demographic data to predict the future lifetime value of a donor. The ability to overlay information like this allows his team to send customized and personalized communications to donors.

DMA Communitites logoA big thank you to our host, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, our sponsor, InnerWorkings, and all of our speakers and attendees for making this Roundtable event such a success!

Will we see you at the next one? Check out our calendar of upcoming events and register today!