Bridge Conference Fast Takes: Seen, Heard, Learned


Our colleagues returned from the 17th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference energized. Many commented on how refreshing it was to attend an in-person event once again — to see familiar faces and make new connections, to hear new ideas and learn from dynamic sessions.

Here are fast takes from three THDers about their experience:


Fast takes from Alison Teres, Vice President, Client Strategy

Mid-level strategies are really taking off. It was inspiring to hear from Barbara Canuck (Best Friends Animal Society) and Suk Wortman (Arbor Day Foundation) on ways they are driving loyalty through new methods of recognition.

Everyone is talking about QR codes. Once near extinct, now lots of great conversations on how QR codes can be applied to mail campaigns to drive revenue and donor engagement.

Audacious goals. 500 million trees in five years (Arbor Day Foundation).

Virtual events in the mix. While virtual events may have peaked as the replacement of live events due to COVID, they are being recognized for helping reach new audiences and are here to stay.

Maximizing momentum through multichannel campaigns. In 2020, thousands of individuals came forward to support the mission of Feeding America to help individuals facing food insecurity. While many donated early on in the pandemic, data showed that 81% had not yet given a second gift. In the session, The Mother of All Multichannel Campaigns!, THD’s own Emma Hernández Iverson partnered with Feeding America’s Rose Cashner and M+R’s Emily Timlowitz to show that “when content and personalization work together, it’s magic.” Their multichannel treatment with highly customized content drove a 78% higher reactivation rate and maintained donor value.

Superpowers, unlocked. Motivational speaker Kim Becking kicked off the conference’s General Session by helping us unlock our superpowers:

  • Instead of focusing on what we are not, embracing what we are.

  • Don’t stop because of fear. Move because of purpose.

  • Build failure walls. And give yourself permission to think differently and build something new. Your why is bigger than any obstacle. Grit up. Don’t give up.

  • Make a laugh file. This is a collection of media that you curate that makes you LOL. Something you can draw upon when you need a boost!

Fast takes from Liz Pagano, Digital Advertising Manager

Excitement for the digital fundraising future. For me, the most exciting thing I heard was surrounding the holistic digital marketing approach. With the degradation of the third-party cookie landscape, we are having to tweak the way we approach digital fundraising. There is an increasing emphasis on program-wide performance as channel-specific attribution becomes more challenging. A strong, full-funnel approach requires a diverse set of core channels and a willingness to explore emerging channels (think: Native, programmatic audio, TikTok, social influencers).

The reason this excites me is that the industry has historically relied on immediate ROAs to judge campaign success. The for-profit marketing world has been using multi-touch attribution and brand lift studies to support the case for digital diversification. I’m looking forward with hope and enthusiasm as nonprofits join in and watch the impact on their missions.

Fast take from Shelby Gavinski, Digital Account Executive

Session inspires a mindset shift about iOS updates. The iOS 14 update, while we all knew it was coming, rocked the digital advertising world. Once the effects started to take place, we saw digital advertising efforts, especially on Facebook, start to underperform based on previous years’ data.

This discouraging turn of events has had a negative impact on the way a lot of marketers, myself included, think about advertising on Facebook. Attending the 1 Year After the iOS14 Updates session was eye-opening, helping me understand that nonprofits across the country struggled with this challenge and there are things we can do to help combat the negative effect it has had. The session shared practical advice on “where we go from here,” including looking at advertising holistically again and reconsidering ad strategy to reallocate investment. Program-wide success and performance is more important than how a single channel is doing, and the goal is to get channels working together to increase brand awareness, engagement, conversions, and retention!

Did you attend the Bridge Conference? What did you learn or hear that changed your thinking or got you excited about the future of nonprofit marketing? Reach out — we are working on some events to bring together professionally curious nonprofit marketers to share ideas and learn from each other. We’d love to have you participate!


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