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Seeding Marketing Efforts in Blackbaud CRM™

When creating your Marketing Efforts in Blackbaud CRM™ you may decide that you want to add a Seed list into your effort. A Seed is an additional person/address that you include in your mailing so that you are able to see what your mail piece looks like when it arrives to a donor. Seeds are important because it gives you a complete picture of what your donors are receiving, how fast or slow the mail piece is received once it is dropped into the mail by your mail vendor, and how it looks once it arrives.

Sending out direct mail is an investment and adding yourself as a Seed to your mailing helps you to ensure that what you’ve planned for looks great when it arrives. For the purpose of this post we will focus on mail but Seeds can also be added to Telemarketing or Email effort.

There are several ways in which you can add a list of Seeds to your mailing list within Blackbaud CRM™ and outside of the system. You could provide your mail vendor with a list of names to add to each mailing that they send. The downside to this is that the mail vendor has to remember that list exists for each mailing and that they are including the names in what is sent out. Within Blackbaud CRM™ your Marketing Effort has a built-in functionality to add Seeds or you could create a segment for your effort to insert the seeds. Below you’ll learn how to use each of these methods as well as the pros and cons of each one.

Built-in Seed Functionality

Within the Marketing & Communications functional area of the system you’ll see a link to manage your Seed list. This is where you input all of the names and addresses for the people you want to add as a Seed.

Once you’ve built out your list here you’ll have to add your Seeds within your Marketing Effort by going to the Effort Settings Tab and then the Seeds sub-tab to select the names that you want to add into the effort.

Pros for using this method:

  1. You can add Seeds to your effort without having to add the recipients to your database as constituents.

  2. If someone is a constituent this functionality would allow them to receive a copy of the mailing a different address other than what is listed on their constituent record.

  3. You don’t have to worry about a Seed being excluded for any reason.

  4. Seeds can receive all versions of the mailing if you are sending out different packages.

  5. If you are tracking budgeting and expenses within the systems the Seeds will be included in those totals to help you understand ROI.

  6. These Seeds won’t skew any of the KPIs that you might be tracking with your Marketing Effort.

Drawbacks of this method:

  1. You have to remember to add the Seeds to the Marketing Effort which can be tedious if you have a long list of seeds.

  2. If your effort includes multiple packages then the Seed list will receive one copy of each package. This can increase your cost on high value mailings if you have a list of 10 seeds and your mailing includes 2 packages, that means an additional 20 copies of your mailing will be sent out.

Brightvine Tip: If you are going to use the built-in seed functionality you can add the Seeds into your Marketing Effort Communication template so that you don’t have to remember to add the seeds into each effort. If you make changes to your seed list just remember to update the template!

Using a Seed Segment

If all of your seeds are already in your system with their own constituent record then you may want to create a specific segment for your seeds instead of using the built in functionality. To do this you would create a query selection for these constituents, add the selection to a segment, and then add that segment into your marketing effort.

Brightvine Tip: You may consider adding a Seed Solicit Code into the system and then attaching it to the constituents you wish to add as Seeds. This may make management of the selection for the seeds easier than having to input a list of constituent lookup ids.

Pros for using this method:

  1. You’ll be able to select which version of the mailing is sent to the seeds by attaching the package to the segment that you want them to receive.

  2. If you are tracking budgeting and expenses within the systems the Seeds will be included in those totals to help you understand ROI.

  3. If a seed happens to send back a donation that will be included in the reporting when you refresh your marketing effort.

Brightvine Tip: Make sure the Seed segment is at the top of your list so that everyone you expect to add as a Seed is included in the specific segment for Seeds.

Drawbacks of this method:

  1. The seeds can only receive one version of the mailing since you’ll have to select the package that they receive.

  2. Since the seeds actually exist in the system as constituents then they will be included in your KPI calculations and may skew those numbers.

  3. The address on the constituent record is where the mail piece will be sent so if they want to receive it at a different location then they may need an alternate constituent record in order to accomplish this.

  4. A seed could be excluded if they fall into any of your exclusion criteria for the mailing

As you can see, you’ve got some things to think about when it comes to how you add your seed list to your mailing. Adding Seeds is an important part of your mail strategy so that you can see that all of your hard work and planning looks exactly how you want it to when it arrives in your donor’s mailbox.


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