Case Study: DemocracyInAction Delivers
Problem: DemocracyInAction, a nonprofit organization that provides eCRM and online advocacy tools to other nonprofits, needed to upgrade its e-mail delivery system.
Solution: DIA partnered with Message Systems, an e-mail software provider, to deploy its Delivery Manager software.
DIA has been on a growth curve over the last few years, thanks to it's clients' demand for mass e-mail blasts. Today, DIA sends e-mail blasts to upwards of 6 million people a day, with that number ballooning to 8 million as the presidential election nears.
But DIA was hampered by its own growth. Its previous e-mail delivery system couldn't handle that volume; it could only send 100,000 messages per hour. It could take all day to send out one client's e-mail campaign.
"We were noticing that we were spending all day just watching the e-mail server send e-mail, which you shouldn't have to do," recalls Andy Tomasello, director of network operations at DIA. "At that point, we knew we were going to have to spend some money and get something that was a solution as opposed to a stopgap measure."
In late 2005, DIA turned to the Columbia, Md.-based e-mail software provider Message Systems and its Delivery Manager software.
A campaign that used to take an hour to send now takes about five minutes. And, as opposed to 100,000 messages per hour, DIA can now send 1.5 million to 2 million e-mails an hour.
For DIA, the speed of delivery is particularly important because the content of its e-mails are generally time-sensitive, political calls to action. "With these messages that are trying to impact votes or have their constituents contact a congressman to take action, the ability to get them to their designated targets in a timely manner is paramount," says Barry Abel, vice president of field operations at Message Systems.
In addition to problems with speed of delivery, DIA's previous e-mail delivery system was unable to handle bounced messages, leading to campaign mailings with a high percentage of bad addresses. This in turn landed DIA and a number of its clients on Internet service providers' blacklists.
The new Delivery Manager software addressed the deliverability issue as well. Its real-time analytics allows DIA to immediately identify why a message doesn't reach its intended target. This can occur for several reasons: The recipient's mailbox is full; there's a system problem at the ISP, such as a down server; an invalid address; or the message is marked as spam. All of these possibilities, along with several more, have been coded in the software. DIA is then able to take appropriate action based on the bounce code of the message. If it's an invalid address, for example, the name will be deleted from the list.
And it's worked. DIA's deliverability rate now nears 99 percent, and blacklisting from ISPs is no longer an issue. This represents a 20 percent improvement from DIA's previous e-mail system.