A Strategic Refocus for 2019

This month I’ve asked Amy Bobrick, Vice President of Strategy at Merkle Response Management group, to share her journey over the past year of refining and realigning our Rapport offering. In her role, Amy leads the development and execution of strategic donor engagement solutions that allow nonprofits to tackle the many challenges of fundraising and improve performance in key areas.

To keep up with Amy’s strategic perspective, check out her blog, Pushing the Envelope.


A Strategic Refocus for 2019

Written by: Amy Bobrick


The best strategic partners are constantly learning and growing. As Merkle RMG’s resident strategist, that’s been my focus over the last year.

After hours of listening and discovery, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the challenges that nonprofits are facing today. Armed with that knowledge, I’ve worked to strengthen Merkle RMG’s solutions so they meet those needs. That’s been pivotal in the development of our signature offering, Rapport.

 Refresher on Rapport

I started at Merkle RMG in 2017 as the company’s first Vice President of Strategy. Bill recognized the industry’s need for answers to the ongoing challenge of donor retention.  I joined the team with the express purpose to create easy-to-implement, fully outsourced donor retention solutions.

So, I developed Rapport — a collection of turnkey solutions addressing the primary areas of a fundraising program. Each solution is designed to remove the burden of strategic development and execution coordination from the nonprofit. Rapport marries industry best practices with our existing technology and established workflows to deliver a seamless and effective stewardship program with little effort from the client.

A Year of Discovery

The past year has been a busy year — filled with continued industry research, conversations with existing clients and other industry thought leaders. We discussed everything from fundraising strategy and budget roadblocks to operational pain points and changes in giving.

These takeaways and insights are what helped me realign Rapport’s solutions with what nonprofits need most today. I’ve refined — and redefined — its offerings to address specific fundraising challenges linked to changing donor behaviors and demographics, economics and fundraising strategies.

I have simplified the offering, so its value proposition is clear: increased retention and lifetime value through a focus on stewardship and cultivation.

Rapport now comprises five turnkey solutions:

  • Donor Stewardship. Keeping existing donors engaged through consistent communication with a personal touch that makes them feel connected and appreciated.  
  • New Donor Welcome & Conversion. Acknowledging first-time donors with immediate, authentic engagements that bring them closer to your cause.
  • Mid-Level and High-Value Donor Services. Nurturing your most important supporters with exceptional experiences that inspire ongoing support and larger gifts. 
  • Sustainer Retention. Maintaining and growing your sustainer program through proactive outreach and thoughtful engagement.   
  • Undeliverable Mail Services. Identifying, fixing and reducing undeliverable mail with returned Nixie processing, our Proprietary Address Correction and Enhancement (PACE) service, and re-mailing services.

Each of these solutions is flexible and customizable. We’ll also help nonprofits choose the right services that address their specific objectives, and then implement that solution without disruption to their program.

We’ve done the heavy lifting and laid the groundwork, so implementing a new program or augmenting an existing one is like pushing the “easy button.”

Knowing More So We Can Do More

Taking this past year to better understand the industry’s needs has helped me contribute to Merkle RMG’s knowledge base, and it’s allowed me to redefine several promising industry solutions. I’m excited that we have relaunched Rapport so that it’s aligned with the industry and our clients’ needs.

As part of the Rapport relaunch, I’m publishing a number of white papers on the fundraising areas mentioned above. The first one on donor stewardship discusses the current state of donor retention, my thoughts on how we got here, and the steps nonprofits can take to change their course. Look out for additional thought pieces over the coming months — we have a lot of ideas and strategies that can help nonprofits adapt to a changing giving landscape.

To learn more about Rapport, visit our Strategy & Analytics page. Or, contact me directly at (301) 797-4468 or ambobrick@merkleinc.com.