Our colleagues at PMG recently sponsored the DMAW Political Lessons Learned webinar—a panel discussion featuring five strategy and data experts from the political realm: digital media consultant Gayatri Bhalla, Tracy Dietz of DonorBureau, Tiffany Delgado of The Lukens Company and Chrissy Hyre of CCAH, moderated by DMAW President Heather Philpot of Tunnl. The panelists boldly (and gracefully) crossed party lines to recap the mid-term election to make all of us better direct marketers and fundraisers.

Here are some highlights from this informative session:

1) This summer’s SCOTUS decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was pivotal in altering the expected outcome of the election…and who voted. Younger voters made their turnout felt on November 8th and will continue to shape direct marketing strategies as orgs develop effective programs to reach and engage with them.

2) Spending surpassed the high-water mark set in the 2020 election cycle and OTT (Over the Top) and CTV (Connected Television) increased significantly as a percentage of overall media investments. Big thanks to Gayatri for differentiating these two! Over the Top refers to the delivery mechanism for non-cable and non-satellite content that is viewable on mobile, desktop or connected devices. CTV is a subset of OTT that is viewable on the largest home device. For example, OTT: Streaming Hulu on mobile device. CTV: Streaming Hulu (OTT media) through a stick plugged into the television.

3) Each panelist emphasized building a mobile program as a top priority. Mobile constituent/donor lists are reaching parity with email lists, and growing yours might be your single most important investment.

4) Forward-thinking organizations that invest in OTT and mobile to reach the newest generations of supporters will succeed in the years ahead. Younger voters do not read emails and they do not watch broadcast television.

5) Texting, TikTok, Streaming, Digital Video and Mobile are certainly reaching a tipping point, but Chrissy reminded us that tried and true direct response tactics are still effective, especially when organizations can enhance their audience segmentation through data sharing and targeting models based on demonstrated donor behavior.

6) Audience segmentation in political fundraising includes national donors who donate to candidates in states other than their own, individuals who donate to female candidates, or military candidates, and donors who give to lightning rod issues that may cross party lines, like we saw in this election. Interesting stuff. And Tracy emphasized that targeting the right people with the right message is crucial.

7) Whether you think “the next two years are going to be the best for fundraising” given that panic and anger are strong donation motivators OR you believe “the next two years are going to be the best for policy,” an “always on” fundraising investment in new and existing supporters via traditional and emerging channels will be critical to reach supporters where they are in 2023 and beyond.

A big thanks to the expert panelists, attendees and everyone taking the time to read our top takeaways.