Donors & Advocates to Fulfill Your Mission: A Q&A on The Digital Co-Op

Jack Valor, Associate Vice President, MissionWired
Miya Wensley, Marketing & New Business Strategist, MissionWired

Once your organization decides to join The Digital Co-Op, the process to begin connecting with new supporters – modeled specifically to engage with your mission – is quick and easy. But for nonprofits that are still getting to know the first-of-its-kind digital list growth tool, our team is here to help answer any questions that might come up along the way.

I sat down with MissionWired AVP Jack Valor to talk through some of the initial questions that many of our current co-op members asked before joining The Digital Co-Op.

MW: Let’s start off with the basics – what is The Digital Co-Op?

JV: The Digital Co-Op is an email list-growth solution that helps organizations find and connect with people who are primed to support their missions. I always like to explain that you’re bringing on activists, community members, and donors – the people we know are likely to step up, take action, and give – who have shown engagement with organizations similar to yours, to help you fulfill your mission in the best way possible.

MW: What does it mean when we say we “brought the direct mail co-op online”?

JV: The structure of The Digital Co-Op will be familiar to nonprofits who’ve used the direct mail co-op model before: members pooling their contact lists to provide one another with new prospective donors. In its digital form, we’ve added a few key changes: With The Digital Co-Op, you’re accessing email addresses of those most likely to take action digitally, and rather than renting these names for a short period of time, you’re able to message these prospective donors as often and for as long as you’d like while you’re a part of the co-op. Since we expect those people will continue to engage, give, and remain active on your list, we’re thinking of these connections as ongoing and long-term.

And then, of course, there’s the heightened level of data you’re able to access with The Digital Co-Op. Having so much more donation and behavioral information at our fingertips means we have more touchpoints to optimize these lists and can access results more quickly.

MW: What makes The Digital Co-Op different from other sources of list growth?

JV: With The Digital Co-Op, we’re finding people who are known to give and take action digitally, and we’re consistently monitoring to ensure that the people on your list are active with other like-minded organizations.

We’re utilizing lookalike modeling, just like Facebook does, to take your best donors and find people who are most similar to them. But unlike Facebook, we have access to data on when people are donating, how much they’re donating, and whether the email address they’re providing is a current, active email. With The Digital Co-Op, we really tried to pull from the best of everything we’re seeing across the market and merge it into a single tool for organizations that are working to make the world a better place.

Responses from newly acquired audiences and outstanding metrics show us another way the co-op is different from other sources. Where most fixed-cost options offer an 18-36 month payback window, with The Digital Co-Op we’re seeing a full return as soon as 13 days, and as late as 12 months, for every member to date. That can offer a capacity to scale in a big way, and can convince major players at your organization that this will be a very strong investment for your program.

MW: Recently, The Digital Co-Op welcomed its 150th member organization. Can you explain the significance of reaching that milestone?

JV: The more members join the co-op, the larger the pool of supporters we can pull from, the better our data is. Because The Digital Co-Op already has over 100 million email addresses available, what’s valuable to everyone in the co-op when a new member joins is actually increased behavioral data on folks who might already be represented in that 100 million: We might be able to mark that someone is an active supporter of a certain cause where they were otherwise marked as inactive, because we have access to new information about their activist and giving history.

MW: For an organization that is still on the fence about whether or not to join, what’s your favorite bit of information to share about The Digital Co-Op?

JV: Of course – results! Case studies showing how membership has gone for other organizations can help you get a sense for what to expect. Because the co-op is anonymous unless an organization decides to share, reporting on success stories can be a bit of a challenge, but our recent Reactivation Case Study shows some exciting results from a program seeing dramatically increased engagement from their first investment.