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DVNF + Datamize

May 18, 2021

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation’s philanthropic purpose has always been crystal clear. Founded in 2007 by six female vets, it exists to deliver indispensable support to disabled and vulnerable veterans across the US. The organization works tirelessly to help physically and psychologically affected vets, and improve the lives of men and women transitioning back into civilian life. 

But the DVNF relies almost entirely on donations, and the poor functionality of its website and unaligned brand messaging meant this purpose was getting lost in translation. 

Making the decision to invest isn’t always easy for charities. Directing funds straight to those in need is always the priority, and non-profits rarely have the marketing budgets afforded by for-profit corporations. 

But DVNF recognized that a comparatively small investment in our services could radically transform their donation yield. Having worked on a handful of projects in the past CEO Joseph VanFonda (a veteran of the US Marine Corps after 27 years of service, and Purple Heart recipient) brought us fully onboard in 2019 to see what we could do. 

DVNF’s key issues

  • The website was slow to load. Large files and stagnant content were elevating the bounce rate and losing potential donors. 
  • The navigation was disorganized, and there was no strategic sales funnel guiding visitors or donors to take action. 
  • As is often the case with brands that come to Datamize for guidance, there was a disconnect between marketing messaging and brand messaging. The two channels were out of sync, and the results of either were not being created with data and measured holistically.
  • 3 marketing employees had left the organization and they were down to one part-time.
  • Their team did not have the specialized data, tech, and marketing skills needed to innovate.
  • DVNF lacked a cohesive, repeatable, and measurable omnichannel program.

What we did

Datamize prescribed and executed a total brand overhaul for DVNF, including a new logo, new branding, new website design, and a whole new marketing strategy including social media and email campaigns.

We retained the original logo’s basic format but added color and a visual championing the American flag, resonating with the pride and patriotism motivating many of DVNF’s donors.

We also cleaned up the database, migrated them to a new modern CRM, and created email and social media strategies to grow their donor database (at all giving levels and types). Some of these strategies included newly-designed email campaigns, growing connections and better utilizing messaging on their socials, and automation + personal thank you calls from Joseph to high-value donors. 

We selected, migrated contact/transaction data, and configured better donor management systems and payment processing options for the back end. And made it secure and easy for donors on the front end. This meant improved communication tools for employees and smooth payment for donors.

Creating connection

Impactful video imagery was implemented on the website’s landing page, extending to the viewer an emotive line to the people who receive DVNF’s help. These up-close-and-personal shots were accompanied by the hard-hitting statistics that the charity seeks to address. 

Immediately, the potential donor is confronted with the problem, and an immediate link to how they can help solve it in the form of multiple Call To Action buttons.

Acting to engage the visitor as well as cultivate a genuine and supportive community where vets could connect, we launched a content strategy involving regular personal accounts, inspiring stories, and relevant news stories from and about veterans.  

Boosting value

Ongoing success is owed to always innovating and making ideas a reality. Like their National Job Platform.

This was the brainchild of CEO Joseph VanFonda, who successfully secured Montel Williams (a veteran himself) as a spokesperson to back the plan, raise awareness, and multiply credibility.

Datamize built the entire platform from the easy account creation to the aggregated job feed tailored to ex-military vacancies, making it easy for veterans to search for suitable roles (which they can even do using their unique military job role code). Employers can also use it to upload job posts and access skilled military members and veteran candidates. 

This project was supplemented by the Veterans Toolkit. This free resource provides links to various platforms that a work-searching vet might find helpful like CV templates, educational platforms, and tips for interviewing in the civilian professional world.

Datamize also installed analytics on the job search platform which will help DVNF better understand and serve their veterans and employers as the user base grows.

Finally, we:

  • Optimized DVNF.org for both desktop and mobile 
  • Optimized social media design, copywriting, and content across all of DVNF’s channels
  • Streamlined DVNF’s internal communications, project management, and data through various modern technologies.
  • Created simpler donation forms and digital experiences.
  • Provide data intelligence that their Corporate Relations Director and CEO use to acquire sponsorships and large gifts.

The results and impact

The rewards of our work with DVNF started to appear almost immediately. And it has continued to multiply.

  • They did around the same amount in online donations for 7 straight years before we started working with them. We increased their online donations by 227% in our first year.
  • And now we are up 690% in online donations per year. And we are pacing to increase their online donations by over 900% this year.
  • They increased their volunteers by over 1,300%
  • Their overall fundraising is much more efficient so they are able to help even more veterans.
  • Their employees are empowered with data intelligence and technology tools and are having a big impact with their special programs.
  • Continued growth through strategic innovation is part of their process and plan now.

And their now strong and continually evolving digital experience has impacted offline channels as well, as people connect with them online before writing those checks or calling in to make their donation.

We’ll continue to work closely with DVNF as they look to the future and pursue ever-growing donations allowing them to have an even more impact on the lives of the veterans they help. We’re on hand to help with providing an unmatched donor experience in a uniquely agile and data-driven way. 

We ensure our tactics are repeatable, scalable, and measurable. And we use predictive analytics and forecasting to always stay ahead of the curve of evolving donor needs.

This is how we’re able to provide dramatic lifts in revenue for our clients.