Case Study: American Lung Association’s Remarkable 50% Base Expansion

member winback
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The American Lung Association (ALA) faced a problem with their subscriber base. As time went on, more and more donors became disengaged with ALA. A whopping 75% of their donor file had not interacted with them for over a year. On top of that, new subscribers would sign up but then not engage, adding to the number of lapsed subscribers instead of being active.

So, how could ALA win back 2.3 million lapsed donors? And how could they ensure that new donors stayed engaged from the get-go?

To tackle this challenge, ALA recognized the need to upgrade outdated technology. They invested significantly in SalesForce Marketing Cloud, unlocking a range of powerful new capabilities they had never utilized before. The question was how to leverage these capabilities to turn their engagement around and start growing their active donor base again.

CEO Harold Wimmer prioritized reversing the decline as a critical strategy. With the guidance of the formidable new CMO, Julia Fitzgerald, ALA embarked on a long-term plan to boost engagement and drive member growth, immediately impacting lapsed subscribers.

We are still benefiting from their work years later.

A Winning member winback strategy

To achieve aggressive growth of the donor file, ALA aimed to launch ongoing Welcome Stream and Member Winback Campaigns. These campaigns were designed to reactivate lapsed donors, engage new donors from the start, and recapture recently lapsed donors. However, ALA recognized the need for a comprehensive roadmap to implement up-to-date, CRM-driven donor marketing. So, we guided them through a step-by-step process, ensuring they had a clear path to success. We helped them:

The outcome of these foundational steps resulted in the creation of two meticulously planned campaigns that aim to reengage lapsed donors and attract new donors right away. Namely:

Game Changing Results: Fifty Percent Growth in Two Years

ALA surpassed its campaign and growth objectives, remarkably expanding its active donor database. By tapping into a previously untapped resource of dormant donors, including those inactive for an extended period, ALA swiftly recovered a significant portion of their previous losses and kickstarted a period of robust growth. Moreover, by implementing a welcome stream that consistently engaged donors throughout their first year, ALA successfully mitigated the risk of further attrition and substantially enhanced donor retention rate. 

Among their successes were that:

Association Growth Takeaways

The long-term roadmap gives them a solid foundation to get as much as possible from their data and technology investment. The successful member win-back campaign and welcome stream are templates to target new segments of donors and drive even more growth. In addition, ALA now has the skills and processes in-house to evolve ever more successful campaigns themselves, building on the platform we helped them create.

For another case study of explosive membership growth, see Case Study: The Executives Club Of Chicago’s Membership Doubled

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