Here's how they did it.

by Gabe Raff
The 2012 election season was extraordinary for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Presidential
Partners – donors who give $1,000 or more annually – provided an incredible level of support to reelect
the President and Democrats up and down the ticket. Going into 2013 and the start of a midterm cycle,
these donors had truly given till it hurt. However, they are the cornerstone of the DNC’s annual income,
as is true for many organizations.
Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey’s (CCAH) challenge was to create a rolling series of telephone calls
wherein we recognized the generous support these donors provide, while cultivating urgency for giving
early and often in the 2013 election cycle.
Immediate engagement was key. We needed to come out of the gate strong with a fundraising and
messaging strategy that immediately pivoted to the work ahead, energizing major donors to take back
the House, keep the Senate and win Democratic victories at all levels in 2013 and beyond.
The scripts varied throughout the year, but the core message remained the same: The GOP’s agenda is
dangerous, and the DNC needs the resources to fight back and win elections up and down the ticket.
The DNC’s strength comes from its member base. It does not rely on special-interest dollars; it counts on
grassroots members to stand together and give what they can afford. Every dollar counts, and the
aggregate has a big impact.
Faced with an increasingly hostile Congress, continued fights over the Affordable Care Act rollout and
even a government shutdown, CCAH needed to keep DNC donors tuned in and galvanized to support
what was shaping up to be one of the most expensive off-cycles in history. Each call recognized the
generosity of the donors and the importance of their ongoing support to the DNC’s success. In this hightouch and tightly developed series, well-trained callers extremely knowledgeable and skilled at
communicating with high-level donors hand dialed leads. The yearlong training these callers received
practically made them an extension of the DNC’s finance staff.
CCAH’s efforts paid off.
We strategically timed five calls over the course of the year. Breaking news or updated priorities
prompted shifts in our campaign start dates. The series grossed more than $1.8 million from an
audience of just over 10,000 people – or about $70 for every conversation held. Credit card
contributions accounted for more than 72% of this revenue, providing an immediate and steady income
source over the course of the year. For a cash-flow-driven organization like the DNC, these critical
resources could be directed where they were needed most the day after they were raised.
The overall series yielded a 7.12% conversion rate, and cost only $0.20 to raise each dollar. That equates
to an unbelievable $786 net per donor.
CCAH’s success was no accident. Going into the cycle, we knew these donors felt weary and ready to
rest. However, extensive caller training, highly refined and up-to-date messages and strategic timing and
data targeting kept this high-value track of donors ready to support Democrats in 2013 and beyond.
Author Bio
Gabe Raff is Director of Telemarketing Strategies, Interactive Department, in Chapman Cubine Adams +
Hussey’s San Francisco office. There, he oversees more than 2 million contacts and $40 million in revenue
raised annually over the phones. His innovative strategies and skilled implementation are widely
recognized throughout the industry. To contact Gabe, please email him at [email protected]