impact stories blog

20 Years of Impact

Today marks the official day of Impact Communication’s 20th anniversary.  If you’re reading this, you’ve played a part in Impact’s journey. Thank you.

We were thrilled to celebrate earlier this month with those who have supported this company in countless ways. Thank you to everyone who could make it to the event – it was a wonderful night spent with great company and sharing fond memories to commemorate this magnificent occasion.

Impact began as a one-person shop, when President & Creative Director Kathy Swayze decided to pursue her passion. Over the years, we have been honored to work with over 300 organizations on the front lines of change. We feel incredibly fortunate to work with world-changing organizations and some of the most committed, intelligent, hard-working people in the world.

For the past 7,300 days, we have drawn inspiration from the amazing work of clients who seek to connect orphaned children with new homes . . . protect and rescue mistreated animals . . . defend our natural environment . . . sound the alarm for human rights violations . . . eradicate senior poverty. . . and much, much, more. We are incredibly fortunate to work with people like you who are dedicated to changing the lives of others.

Today, as we celebrate this anniversary, we have our eye on the next twenty years. And we’re thrilled to share with you the new look of Impact Communications – a fresh new logo for the chapters ahead.

Thank you to all who have supported us the past 20 years – we are eager to accomplish more and excited for what the future holds.

Provide a warm welcome to your new donors

I purchased something online from Jet. I didn’t give it much thought–it just popped up as I was searching for a product I needed to buy. I went ahead and bought it, but then Jet welcomed me in such a special way that I had to sit up and take notice. A link to their welcome message is provided below.

As you look, ask yourself, what it would take to welcome new donors to your organization in a similar exciting way. Not much really. Just a video camera and a nice script from someone on your team saying, “Welcome. We noticed you joined and we are really excited!”

Think it would have an impact on long term donor retention? I do!

– Kathy Swayze

Take a look at their welcome message here.



Impact is Hiring!

Read on to learn how you can join our team of passionate fundraisers!

Impact Communications, Inc., based in Washington, DC, is seeking a FUNDRAISING CLIENT LIAISON with direct marketing experience to join our highly collaborative and fun team. You will work closely with our VP Gift Planning to oversee marketing campaigns for environmental, civil liberties, and social benefit organizations. Responsibilities include marketing strategy, client management, client meetings (some travel), writing direct mail packages, email campaigns, and more; and managing copy development and print production. Ideal candidate will have bachelors degree and 2-3 years experience working in a nonprofit organization or an agency serving nonprofits. For more info: To apply: email resume and cover letter by October 15th to


Photo credit: the Italian voice Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license


#WednesdayWisdom: Your Impact

“There’s no greater gift than thinking that you had some impact on the world, for the better.”

-Gloria Steinem



Photo credit: Ms. Foundation for Women Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license

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Bon Voyage to Our Amanda

I am filled with pride to announce that Amanda Marcucci has accepted a new job with The International Fund for Animal Welfare. Serving as Development Project Manager, Amanda will be developing and managing communications to the IFAW’s major donors.

Though all of us at Impact and our clients will miss her greatly, we know she will excel in her new position at IFAW. Amanda’s dedication to her clients and her colleagues is second to none.

For the last five years, Impact has benefited from her talents as Amanda grew from a part-time Operations Assistant to an experienced Client Liaison & Production Manager. Her work at Impact has helped our company grow and made the organizations we serve more successful in their efforts to create a better world.

A search is currently underway to hire a new Client Liaison & Production Manager and Impact is committed to continuing to provide seamless service to the clients Amanda managed.

I want to publicly thank Amanda for everything she has done at Impact over the last 5 years. I am so grateful for all she has brought to us day in and day out – her drive to constantly learn and improve, her dedication, her humor, and her patience. I will continue to watch her career with pride, knowing that I had the honor to mentor her in these early stages of her professional life.


First time gifts of $1000 in the mail? Yes, You Can!

I’ve worked in the direct response fundraising field for 30 years. And as far back as I can remember, the conventional wisdom was… you just can’t acquire high dollar donors through direct mail. After all, people reasoned, nobody will rent their best donor names. You have to bring donors in at the low dollar level and move them up the pyramid. Case closed.

But now we have new ways of selecting lists for acquisition mailings and models that can predict higher capacity among your prospects. It’s a new day. Here are some phenomenal results shared recently by Save the Children and the ASPCA during a session at the Bridge conference.

Save the Children tested their control acquisition lists with an ask string of $250, $100, $75, $50 and $30 against a list that had been optimized, using Abacus, for midlevel giving. The ask string on the test was $2500, $1000, $500, $250 and $100. So, what happened? Response rate in the test was down a bit but the average gift was up by 768%.

Now, this mid-level optimization is standard in every Save the Children acquisition campaign and they are running lapsed names through the model as well. In 2018 so far, Save the Children has acquired 600 donors straight into their midlevel giving group at $1,000. But what’s even better, they are also tracking repeat giving and have found that 60% of new donors from the optimized lists gave again in their first year, compared to 42% of new donors from the control lists.

The ASPCA also tested acquiring mid-level donors through the mail, targeting higher dollar lists and adjusting their ask string to $250, $500, 1000. Their initial test was a big win with a .78% response rate, a $348 average gift and net profit from acquisition. And Impact’s client National Park Foundation has acquired more than 200 donors with first time gifts of $1,000—simply by adding the $1,000 option to the acquisition reply. Imagine what will happen when they roll out their high dollar optimized list strategy and some copy tweaks promoting benefits!

The times they have indeed changed. Many organizations are having success acquiring new first donors with gifts of $500, $1,000 or more.  What have you found? Share your success or ask us a question. We’re always happy to talk about all things fundraising.

– Kathy Swayze

No-Cost Communications Help for Nonprofits

Our friends over at Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication recently announced an amazing pro bono program for nonprofits with small budgets but big communications needs.

Social impact organizations can apply to work with Georgetown’s graduate students on projects centered around communications, fundraising, or journalism—for no charge. It’s an invaluable opportunity.

The application deadline is August 21, so don’t hesitate to click here and apply today.

Photo credit: Serge Melki Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license

#WednesdayWisdom: Good Business

“It is prodigious the quantity of good that may be done by one man, if he will make a business of it.”

-Benjamin Franklin



Photo credit: Robert Linsdell Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license

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#WednesdayWisdom: Donors Invest in Ideas

“Donors don’t give to institutions. They invest in ideas and people in whom they believe.”

-G.T. Smith



Photo credit: Delta News Hub Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license

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#WednesdayWisdom: Little Bits of Good

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

-Desmond Tutu



Photo credit: Ben Sutherland Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license

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