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Mile High United Way Takes Donor Engagement to New Heights with Salesforce

United Way is the largest charity in the US and one of the most recognizable nonprofits in the world. The Denver chapter, known as Mile High United Way, is where it all started some 128 years ago. Today, Mile High continues to be a leader and innovator among the world’s 1,800 United Way chapters. The organization is part of the fabric of the Denver and Colorado communities, with varied programs touching tens of thousands of people every year, from early literacy to adult self-sufficiency.

Throughout their history, most United Way chapters have focused on reaching donors by way of their employers. But Mile High is leading a wave of change across the network. “We’ve moved from a transactional organization to a transformational organization,” says Christine Benero, President and CEO of Mile High United Way. “It’s all about relationships and changing people’s lives locally as well as globally.”

Mile High’s transformation is driven by the evolving expectations of today’s donors, who are more informed than ever about causes they care about. They want a personal relationship with the nonprofits they support. And most of all, they want to know exactly how their gift made an impact.

United Way

Benero and her team needed a platform built for these social, mobile, connected donors. “People have many different jobs in their lives, but their passion for their community stays with them. Salesforce allows us to connect to our constituents’ passions no matter where they are,” says Benero.

Mile High began by adopting Sales Cloud to manage all of their constituent data in one place, including employment history, past giving, issues they care about, volunteer activity and events they’ve attended. “Getting a full picture of our relationship with every donor has been critical so we can make sure we’re maximizing our resources and targeting the right people with the right messages,” says Nicole Adair, Senior Director of Development Operations and Donor Communications.

Soon, Mile High was finding ways to leverage App Cloud across the organization. They’re using Service Cloud to manage inquiries from donors about gifts and programs, which adds another layer to their understanding of the relationship. “Now we have a 360-degree view of the donor experience from prospecting and cultivation through stewardship,” says Adair.

Marketing Cloud: A Powerful Member of the Team

Most recently Mile High has added on Marketing Cloud, which they use for all email communications with constituents. “Marketing Cloud has been a great addition to our team because it comes with tools that do some of the work for you,” says Adair. Now Mile High’s development team can segment their donors and prospects based on the issues they care about. Then, using the Dynamic Content feature in Marketing Cloud, they can design one email that sends different targeted messages to all of these segments, without having to write a separate email for each group.

“Marketing Cloud has really helped us get communications out at a larger scale, so that we can cultivate relationships in the same way we would with face-to-face interactions,” says Adair.

Mile High then launched a highly successful email series targeting donors who made a gift the previous year. Adair and her team used the Automation Studio to design and launch the email journey. Then, using Marketing Cloud’s built-in A/B Testing tools, they were able to measure the campaign’s impact: “Donors that received this email series are retaining 6% higher than those that didn’t, and they’re giving 49% more,” says Adair. “Donor retention is a huge challenge, especially when people are moving from one workplace to another. So this is a huge victory for us.”

With Benero’s leadership, and the help of Salesforce, the oldest chapter of this 128-year-old organization is adapting to the complex demands of modern-day constituents. By connecting to their supporters’ passions, Mile High can deliver even more impact.

“Economic disparity is growing in our communities and around the world. With tools like Salesforce, we can transform to meet that need and truly live our mission,” says Benero.

“128 years ago we started a movement. And now, we’re part of another one.”