My campaign to forever rid my home of snail mail is coming along, except for two areas: Clothing catalogs and Sierra Club membership appeals. The clothing catalogs I can understand. They might be the last thing that disappears from U.S. Postal Service mail bags.
The Sierra Club, on the other hand, mystifies me. Every other month or so I get a fat envelope stuffed with different pieces of paper — letters, brochures, maps, return envelopes, etc. — enticing me to join and support the cause. That much paper from an environmental group would be truly revolting if all of it didn’t say that it was 100% recycled. But still, what are they smoking?
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is not exactly a competitor, but the nonprofit organization does solicit funds from many of the same people. The WWF does have a different way of going about it, however.
I met recently with Phil Redmond, director of e-business information technology at the WWF, who explained how his organization has a business intelligence strategy that keeps its member and donor recruitment process streamlined.
The WWF uses SAS Institute’s DataFlux Data Management Studio to manage, clean and keep up to date its rolls of members and donors, and the intelligence gathered from the software can help determine who gets what kind of solicitation.
For instance, he said, donors can get an email soliciting funds, but, depending on their profiles and other data, select people could get a more personal treatment. “Using SAS doesn’t replace the handwritten note they send out to the big donors.” If the Sierra Club did this, I would be free of the recurring fat envelope.
The WWF is using BI not only for member management, but for creating data on wildlife itself, and has set up a business intelligence strategy around tracking migration patterns and populations of endangered species.
One result of this effort is a text for Tigers campaign. Now that’s an intelligent use of business software.