TechnoServe taps Merkle unit for direct mail donations processing

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TechnoServe, a nonprofit organization focused on using technology to help fight poverty in developing countries, tapped Merkle subsidiary Response Management Group to manage its nonprofit direct mail donation processing, said TechnoServe senior director of communications Anna Gibson.

Merkle's Response Management Group was awarded a three-year contract after an “extensive” review that took place over two and a half months. Roughly 30 agencies participated in the RFP. Gibson said Merkle “knocked everyone out of the park” with its pitch for the nonprofit's direct mail donation processing responsibilities, which include data capture and fulfillment of personalized acknowledgments for more than 20,000 gifts received by the organization annually.

Steve Gregg, VP of sales and marketing for Merkle's Response Management Group, said he was confident his agency would win the account, in spite of how widely TechnoServe had cast its net.

“We had a pretty clear understanding of where they were at and what they were looking to do,” he said. “They were taking a ‘best of breed' approach. I think for them our referrals were important … but also our ability to be able to come out and kick the tires and engage in a conversation about what they need and what we can do.”

Until now, all of TechnoServe's direct mail and donations processing was handled in-house. Gibson referred to the company's previous situation as “untenable.”

“The staffing model we used before was from before you could scan [documents]. Things were being done in a way that was very human-labor intensive,” she said. “We needed to revisit that. The opportunities for mistakes and error are obviously much higher.

She said staffing costs were also a consideration in choosing to outsource TechnoServe's direct marketing, and noted that the ongoing transition to Merkle's more automated processing of gifts is already helping the nonprofit save money, although she said she expected it to be costly in the beginning.

Gibson said that she also recently selected Mal Warwick Associates to provide direct marketing consulting services, and hired Infogroup to handle the nonprofit's list services.

Neither Gregg nor Gibson disclosed the terms of the deal.

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