Our clients’ success proves that when strategy comes first, everything that follows happens more efficiently, creatively, and cost-effectively. ST’s Strategic Solutions practice has one focus: to help charities raise more money.

That’s why each of the service offerings you see below lead to insights and recommendations that help you understand your donors better, help donors feel more connected to your mission and your brand, and inspire them to donate more, and more often.

Strategic Coaching and Consulting

Perhaps you have questions about strategy, campaign development or analytics but don’t want to sign on to a long-term agency contract. That’s where Strategic Coaching from Stephen Thomas Ltd (ST) comes in!

With ST Strategic Coaching, you get the opportunity to talk one-on-one with a strategic consultant on the topics that matter to you most. You set the subject, priorities for discussion, choose the time that works for you, and your ST Strategic Coach will offer fundraising advice and strategic guidance in any number of critical areas, including:

  • Overall individual giving fundraising strategy
  • Monthly, mid-level or legacy giving
  • Digital fundraising: integration strategy, design, content, channel choice
  • Brand: messaging consistency, sub-brand development, brand integration throughout fundraising channels, Direct Response brand guidelines or addendum to existing mother brand guidelines
  • Donor research, personas and messaging strategy
  • Donor segmentation
  • Data analytics and results review
  • Creative audit and recommendations including copy review and feedback for direct response campaign
  • and more!

Sessions are typically by phone or online and can be one or two hours in length over a duration of up to four months.

Supporter Survey Products

Traditional donors are becoming harder to find, and the next generation of supporters have been dramatically affected by job loss and financial uncertainty.

Each have different expectations, motivations to give and ways of supporting their favourite charities than they did just last year. If your organization wants to be set up for success, you must be aware of these motivations and expectations and tailor your program to meet these needs, now more than ever.

With more than 40 years of results-driven expertise, Stephen Thomas Ltd (ST) is your best choice to help you objectively survey your supporters, so you can build a program that will harness their values and motivations, and ultimately drive more revenue.

ST Surveys typically take one of two forms:

Digital and/or direct mail blast to broad supporter audience. These surveys are uniquely tailored to your organization and go beyond simple demographic information to help you understand the values and motivations of your supporters. Selected information generated through the supporter survey can be captured on your database and used to enhance personalization of future fundraising appeals. These surveys also help to uncover leads for legacy and mid-level giving.

Targeted telephone interviews are typically used to target a smaller group of supporters or key
stakeholders. The interviews are customized to answer a specific question you might have or to help provide information to enhance and guide another project (i.e., brand refresh). These one-on-one interviews are typically 45 minutes to one hour in length, and may include questions around what is truly motivating your current supporters and how they perceive your organization.

Whether you want to generate more revenue from existing supporters, feed the pipeline of legacy or mid-level leads or simply learn what your supporters are thinking, ST Supporter Survey Products will help you generate insights from your supporters that will ultimately help you raise more money.

Supporter Experience Mapping

Have you ever put yourself in the shoes of one of your supporters? As the need for donors to feel engaged and empowered increases as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, supporter experience itself is increasingly becoming a truly durable competitive advantage.

You need to look beyond simply what communications supporters receive, to how they feel and the emotional experiences that are tied to the overall experience.

Let the ST team show you how!

What is supporter experience mapping?

Mapping the supporter experience is the process of designing, outlining and charting a donor’s engagements and interactions with your organization. This exercise allows you to view your organization through your supporters’ eyes and see the experiential moments that matter — the moments where your supporter decides to continue their support of your organization or leave altogether.

By mapping the process from an experience perspective, you will be able to pinpoint areas of improvement and strategize with your colleagues about how to resolve them.

Supporter Experience Mapping Workshops are typically held over a period of two to three days and include up to 25 key stakeholders from your organization. Each workshop begins with a half-day training workshop, followed by custom mapping sessions of several supporter journeys each. There is also time allocated for discussion around strategic approaches to improve the supporter journey, as well as ordering of priorities and alignment on next steps.

It is recommended that anyone who comes into contact with a donor, or drives the donor experience, be included in the session — from web developers and those who answer the phone to fundraisers.

How can a supporter experience mapping session help you raise more money?

  • By mapping the donor experience, participants are forced to look at your donors’ journey through the eyes of your donor. This is essential for fostering empathy for your donors and creating a journey that builds a lasting relationship that makes sense to both the donor and your organization.
  • Understanding the dynamics of your current donor experience and strategically building more effective donor experiences based on the outcomes of the mapping will help improve retention, satisfaction, loyalty, commitment and, ultimately, lifetime value of all types of supporters.
  • It will help you focus on investing in the donor touchpoints that are most likely to encourage donors to continue to support your organization (rather than leave) and improve their emotional connection with your brand.

Giving Program Brand Creation (Monthly/Intermediate/Legacy)

Donors today expect deeper levels of personalization and engagement when interacting with the organizations they support.

ST can help you move from an organization that, like other non-profits, simply allows for different types of giving to one that is differentiated by encouraging another level of engagement in your giving programs — one that’s much more meaningful to them. ST is uniquely qualified to work with you to develop strong, meaningful sub-brands that appeal to donors and drive more revenue for your mission.

The first step is assessing what is unique about your cause in the minds of donors, what motivates them and how to marry those insights to strengthen your brand message into a promise that donors feel emotionally connected to.

While the process of program sub-brand development is unique for each organization, it could include:

  • High-level brand audit
  • Discovery workshop
  • Donor survey or interviews
  • Findings presentation
  • Persona development
  • Concept creation
  • Brand name development (plus logo & tagline if applicable)
  • Representative messaging and design
  • Full creative development (i.e., brochure, welcome pack, webpage design)
  • Brand addendum (to motherbrand guidelines) or full standalone guidelines

Integrated Donor-centric Fundraising Plan and Messaging Strategy Package

Building on solid fundraising data insights, ST will help you segment and determine who has the highest likelihood to donate to your organization.

From there we will assist you in personalizing your communications to specifically speak to your donor where they are in their journey with you, which will help you attract and retain your donors and ultimately raise more money for your mission.

ST’s proprietary strategic process includes the following:

  • A constituent review and analysis
  • Results review and analysis
  • Segmentation identification with rationale (based on outcome of constituent review)
  • Discovery workshop facilitation
  • Donor Survey development/deployment and/or Donor Interviews for key segments
  • Brand/Digital/DM landscape review (top key areas)
  • Integrated fundraising message development based on mission and vision statements created
  • Representative messaging development per key segments including high-level engagement strategy and communications plan recommendations with focus on the DM and Digital channels (thematic calendar)
  • Findings Presentation

Social Media Advertising

Running ads through social media can be a simple and cost-effective way to gain supporters and donors, upgrade existing donors, or reengage lapsed donors.

The first step to creating these ads is to properly set up your Business Manager account. This means account permissions, audience building, pixel tracking and more. Once your Business Manager is set up, you’re ready to build your first campaign!

Using Facebook Business Manager, your organization can run ads optimized to get donations for the lowest cost-per-acquisition. With careful timing and by targeting affinity audiences, custom audiences, retargeted web visitors (and any other audiences or demographics that are relevant to your mission and message), you can engage those who are most likely to boost potential response and revenue.

Let the team at ST do the heavy lifting for you! Whether you need to set up your account, or you’re looking for ways to elevate and optimize your next campaign you can choose a bundle that best suits your needs.

Email Marketing

Email fundraising can be an incredibly cost-effective and efficient way to increase donations. However, if not done right, your email risks getting deleted from inboxes without even a second glance. So what’s the solution?

Sophisticated, personalized messages, reaching the right audience, with the right message,
at the right time. And the easiest way to do that is through a well-set up email service provider (ESP), with clean data, segments, and automation.

Implementing email automation allows you to set an email or series of emails to send based on a
specific trigger, such as time or donor action. For example, you could set a welcome series to launch as soon as a donor has made a gift on your website, or an upgrade series to one-time-gift donors to encourage them to convert to becoming a monthly donor.

Through your existing ESP, we can develop and deploy any number of emails or email series, creating welcome and stewardship series, segmented emails speaking specifically to donors’ interests, and personalized acquisition, upgrade, or reactivation campaigns. Adhering to email marketing best practices like strong creative and effective targeting through segmentation, combined with customized fundraising solutions allow for an increase in online donations as well as cultivation of new supporters.

Our service offering varies depending on your needs. At the basic level, we will help you strategize your communication approach and messagingand develop artwork and copy. For more complex programs, we may recommend a series of emails or automation.

Donor File Audit

Unlike appeal or campaign reports that measure the performance of a single activity, the ST File Audit takes a macro view, analyzing the performance of various segments of your donor base over time.


By looking at your donor segments separately (first-year, repeat, lapsed, monthly, e.g.), we can evaluate past performance, pinpoint areas where you’re doing well, apply what is working to areas that aren’t and even predict future performance.

The comprehensive analysis offered to you by ST, your seasoned data experts, will empower you to take your organization’s fundraising to new heights. ST’s Data Audit will provide you with five-year trends on KPIs like renewal rates by segment, overall file retention, lapsed reactivation rates, attrition, upgrades and long-term value, along with recommendations. You can present the findings from this tool to your Board of Directors or use it as the foundation of your case for support to get additional funding for your program. You can give your teams real and achievable targets, all with the goal of maximizing your ROI.

The ST Data Audit is just one more way ST helps you raise more money. We enjoy nothing better than to gather and tell stories based on the data. Upon completion of your audit, your dedicated data expert will present your file audit live, either in person or by video conference, to you and your stakeholders.

You will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the findings so that you have a fuller understanding of the steps needed to achieve the goals you have set out for yourself.

Not all file audits are created equal, and with that in mind, ST offers tailored file audits, built to address your unique requirements. Your organization may need a “top to toe” file audit, containing a fully comprehensive report of your entire donor base, or you may want to zero in on the performance of one segment of donors or determine the efficacy of a single program over time.

ST’s File Audit is a fundamental tool in developing strategy to help you raise more money. With the findings of your file audit, we can help you develop a customized strategy to achieve your goals.


Transform your data into meaningful metrics and provide immediately actionable insights to help you effectively manage your direct response program.


Our goal is to monitor the performance of various segments and creative tests in order to help you make the best strategic and tactical decisions. Easy-to-use performance measurement reports augmented with insights and recommendations from your ST team will help you optimize
marketing plans and ensure the best possible program performance and ROI.

Why are Dashboards important?

Donor data is your most important asset, but the real value of data is only realized through the delivery of rich and applicable insights. ST’s agile and robust Dashboard reports provide summary and detailed views, such as:

• Program results compared against budget
• Campaign performance, analyzing performance by various segments and packages
• Program comparisons against prior year performance

Clear, comprehensive Dashboard reports from ST will allow you to best invest your limited time and resources into the initiatives that will boost your retention, increase your revenue and, in turn, grow your net revenue.

How can ST’s Dashboards help you raise more money?

• Timely, actionable insights and recommendations from your ST team will improve program and campaign performance and help you achieve your goals.
• Strategic effectiveness is evaluated through performance results and testing to increase learning and improve decision-making on a continuous basis.
• Charts and graphs track progress at a glance toward achieving targets.
• Year-over-year trends and a breakdown of data about response, gift size and net revenue provide a picture of ROI based on direct response efforts.

Attribution Analysis

If you’ve ever thought, “geez, why aren’t results from my direct mail campaigns better?” you may
not be seeing the whole picture. In fact, your direct mail may be driving donations to other response channels.


Let ST’s Analytics & Insights team help you see the whole picture and demonstrate the full impact of your fundraising and marketing efforts on your bottom line by helping you identify donations prompted by direct mail that were received through other response channels.

How does it work?

• ST compares your mail files with all unattributed donations (e.g., incoming phone donations,
white mail, online donations) and uses multiple matching protocols to ensure reliable attribution.
• This analysis can be applied to acquisition mailings by working securely with your lettershop or list provider.
• Reporting frequency can be customized: semi-annually, quarterly or ongoing (i.e., per campaign).
• These findings can appear alongside your regular results and be customized to your response channels.

Why is Attribution Analysis important?

Attribution Analysis is critical to accurately evaluating the return on your direct mail investments.
The proportion of donors receiving direct mail who then donate through a different response channel(especially online) has been steadily increasing. By accurately attributing your donations, you’ll be prepared as this trend continues — and can develop informed strategies and investments related to your direct response program — ultimately helping you raise more money.

Let’s talk fundraising.