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CMO50 2016 #26-50: Paige Gibbs, RSPCA NSW

  • Name Paige Gibbs
  • Title Executive manager, marketing, fundraising and communications
  • Company RSPCA NSW
  • Commenced role 2007
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 28 staff
  • Industry Sector Charity/not-for- profit
  • 2015 ranking New to CMO50
  • Brand Post

    One of the proudest moments in the last 12 months for RSPCA’s Paige Gibbs was the establishment of a multidisciplinary team that brought together traditional fundraisers and social media resources.

    “I lobbied the CEO and board and asked for one year to test if this experiment would achieve its outcomes. Fundraisers embraced the digital analysis tools and flexibility in testing online donor behaviour,” says Gibbs, who’s the executive manager, marketing, fundraising and communications.
    “The social media team adapted their approach to include more donor-centric content. In less than six months, this team proved beyond a doubt that digital fundraising is the way forward. And we have a flexible, engaged team pushing the boundaries of social media and SEM."

    From the CMO50 submission:

    Innovative thinking

    Gibbs says a key marketing strategy for the organisation this year was the monumental push towards digital.

    “At the RSPCA we do five direct mail appeals per year. Traditionally, these initiatives focused on one channel (mail) with other channels supporting as required. Knowing how important digital is to the future of fundraising, this year we decided to invest in developing our digital presence and testing donation responses,” she says.

    “I am a strong believer in the power of stories to convey a need and prompt a response. To support this belief, I have nurtured a strong creative team that means we can manage our campaign from idea to implementation. To strengthen this offering, and support digital output, I engaged a full time filmmaker on staff allowing us to take our direct mail stories and bring them to life online.”

    She says the team tested a new digital approach for its tax campaign that included a variety of digital assets including 7 EDMs, organic and paid Facebook posts, utilising Google Ad Words grant to promote the campaign and introducing an ‘11th hour email’ on the 30th of June to garner last minute donations.

    She says the results were “remarkable,” explaining the team raised $703,626 for the appeal: $198,149 was raised online for an outlay of $30,000 – most of which was the cost of a microsite. The ROI was 6.6 and the average gift was $85.48. The last EDM (sent out 15 hours before the end of the financial year) raised $69,723, she explains.

    “To achieve these results with little outlay and no use of third party suppliers is a credit to the team but also a testament to the power of online channels to influence giving. By making the experience more engaging for digital supporters and using multimedia creative that resonated, this appeal broke records for digital response and proved that digital fundraising is an effective way of reaching audiences.”

    Data- and technology-driven approach

    She says adopting technology that provides a snapshot of operational outcomes and can be compared to the strategic goals is a game-changer for the organisation.

    Working on a team of two to develop a strategic organisational tool, she says the aim was to measure the organisational output based on its five-year strategic goals. The tool assigns KPIs to each of its 20 strategic goals and then provides measurements. These measurements are used to track improvements.

    “I am proud of this product because it provides the board and our leadership team with hard data that shows patterns of success and areas of improvement. This data has now been shared with the senior management team so we can start to get buy-in at a broader level,” she says.

    “It’s a powerful tool that now includes over a year of data. Now, we can compare year on year results and start to track efforts. Plans are in place to develop this tool further with the ultimate aim of creating a real-time digital dashboard that will sit on the home screens of every employee, providing a day-by- day organisational health check.”

    Empowered and strategic thinking

    As a not-for- profit marketeer, she says she takes a donor-centric approach to delivering information and encouraging action. In the past, most donors’ initial touchpoint with the organisation was through personal interest or via a direct mail piece. “Things have changed dramatically in the past eight years. Now we are utilising multiple marketing channels including direct mail, telemarketing, out of home, mobile prospecting, face to face and digital.”

    Regardless of the channel, a strong donor experience is essential to maintain loyalty, she explains. “This year, we are focusing on creating individual journeys based on their entry point into the organisation. In the past, if a donor came in through a channel other than direct mail, their next contact point was invariably direct mail. This meant we were talking to digital or telephone responders in a manner that was not their preferred means of communicating with us. That has now changed.”

    The organisations is now starting to tailor donor journeys based on entry point. So if a donor comes in via a digital channel, we will now communicate with them digitally.

    “We have also created a donor promise which outlines our commitment to our supporters to always be transparent and responsible. We are using this in our communications. This is a way of making us accountable for the way we use their donations.”

    Fostering agility

    Gibbs says she is working hard to bring agility to the marketing function.

    “What sets my team apart from many not for profit marketing teams is that there is no division between marketing and fundraising. We believe that we are all marketeers and we are all fundraisers. Where once there may have been marketing functions and fundraising functions and they would fight for space, having one united team with a collective purpose removes internal squabbles and promotes unity.”

    But she says this also means that when we the organisation is presented with a crisis, such as recently when the NSW Government announced they were intending to ban greyhound racing, the team was agile enough to act.

    “Within 48 hours we had developed collateral, holding statements, a media crisis plan and a direct mail appeal. We could only have that agility due to the cross-functional approach that we’ve adopted in my team.”


    Coming from a creative background, Gibbs believes that innovation and creativity are pillars for the success of her team. “I have actively worked towards creating a mini ad agency inside the team. We have capacity to roll out multi channel campaigns that include DM, experiential and digital components. We pride ourselves on keep abreast of trends and social media buzz so that we can adapt and respond in new and arresting ways.”

    She says the organisation is a “trailblazer” when it comes to new forms of fundraising marketing in Australia. “We were one of the first charities to introduce a value-exchange proposition to the marketplace. We always look at new ways to reach new audiences.”

    One example is the launch of the Internet Cat Film Festival, which she says attracted a new demographic and gave the organisation a pool of new data that was successfully converted into regular donors.

    “We don’t like to follow the trends. If a staff member comes up with a new idea and it sounds viable, we will test it. This philosophy is also enhanced in our yearly operational plans which are created in collaboration with the wider team and focus on continuous improvement, innovation and growth.”

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