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The constituent centric pivot with the American Heart Association

For nearly 100 years, the American Heart Association has been fighting heart disease. While they knew a lot about hearts, what was missing was an understanding of their donors' hearts.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has grown into the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, with over 40 million volunteers and more than 2,800 employees.

While successfully operating in a siloed engagement model with a heavy focus on event and business to business fundraising, AHA realized it was time to deepen the focus on creating a more relationship-based and constituent-centric approach. “We know heart,” said Rebeca Johnson, VP, Constituent Experience and Direct Response Marketing at American Heart Association, “But what do we know about our donors’ hearts?”.

Siloed solutions

Cross-program communications: AHA works across multiple programs, events and campaigns—each with their own marketing solutions and databases. As a result, the teams did not have a comprehensive view of their constituents to be able to send personalized, targeted and integrated communications at scale to their constituents.

“We wanted to move to an enterprise ecosystem approach, integrating all best in breed approaches into one cohesive constituent view.”

We know heart. But what do we know about our donors’ hearts?Rebeca Johnson, VP, Constituent Experience and Direct Response Marketing, American Heart Association

Disjointed constituent experience: With over 20 active databases across their organization, AHA staff were unable to see a single view of their constituents. It was difficult for them to understand if someone had participated in multiple programs and see the holistic engagement of a constituent affiliation. This lack of understanding in their constituents was resulting in missed fundraising opportunities and a less than optimal donor experience.

“We were looking to build an enterprise social and digital ecosystem to identify and segment our constituents to understand who they are and what matters to them.”

Donor engagement: AHA, who had primarily focused on organizational fundraising, had limited understanding of their individual donors’ journeys. The AHA knew that with a single source of truth, they would able to build deeper donor relationships that would result in higher donor engagement and enhanced retention.

“Our constituents were saying, ‘I know who you are, but I don’t know what you do or how my donation makes an impact.’”

The lifeblood: Salesforce and Traction on Demand

With over 20 databases and 127 million transactions across their organization, AHA soon realized this shift to constituent centricity and achieving that single view of their constituents was a priority to stay current and build for the future. To help, AHA partnered with Traction on Demand to implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP).

  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud: to send out tailored, timely and personalized communications to constituents to keep them engaged in programs, events and campaigns and help drive fundraising initiatives. Key features include omni-channel marketing journeys leveraging, Ads, SMS, and email communications.
  • Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP): to efficiently manage constituents in households, creating a single source of truth for donor and constituent data.

A steady beat: team enablement

To ensure AHA is set up for long-term success, Traction on Demand worked closely with their BT team to provide in-depth platform training.

“This is a huge area of focus for us,” said Karisa Booth, Senior Marketing Automation Architect at Traction on Demand. “We want to empower their BT team to self-drive, so we can hand over the keys and focus on impactful, large-scale transformation.”

Karisa and her team spent many hours with the AHA BT team, walking them through how to build their own journeys, quick data fixes, how to prevent and repair technical debt and answering any administrative questions.

This included Journey Builder enablement, where Karisa and her team walked AHA a learn, do, teach approach.

  • Learn: teaching the AHA team the correct process, tools and strategies
  • Do: allowing AHA to test their skills, while ToD provided feedback and answered any questions
  • Teach: the AHA team actually configured Journeys and gave any provided helpful corrections to their peers
“Our focus is on enabling customers so they don’t need Traction on Demand anymore. We want our customers to be independent, fully empowered and as good at operating the Salesforce platform as we are.”Greg Malpass, Founder & CEO, Traction on Demand

Just what the doctor ordered

Today, AHA is able to provide more consistent constituent journeys for over a million donors and participants across the country.

“Traction has been the right partner for us to embark on this journey,” said Rebecca. “And getting started on this path to constituent centricity before COVID19, enabled us to pivot our fundraising and speak directly to our constituents when they needed us most.”

Since implementing Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack and Marketing Cloud, The American Heart Association is on the path to a constituent-centric approach that includes:

  • One view of their constituents
  • A single enterprise ecosystem
  • Personalized constituent journeys and messaging at scale

“Had we not had Heart Walk in Salesforce when COVID19 closed down the economy and face to face events, we would not have been able to pivot into the virtual world like we did and support Heart Walks virtually in the way we did.” — National Center Heart Walk Development

Get started with Traction on Demand

If you’re looking to get started on your own path to constituent centricity, get in touch with a member of our dedicated nonprofit team today.