Digital Consultancy NextAfter Doubles Repeat Transactions with Census Embedded

NextAfter, a consultancy for non-profit digital fundraising, uses Census Embedded to double second transaction rates for its clients. Census Embedded accelerated their time-to-market by six months without increasing headcount.

Headquarters Plano, Texas Team Embedded Use Cases Ad Audiences, Email personalization Featured Integrations BigQuery, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, HubSpot

NextAfter is a specialized consultancy that helps non-profit organizations with digital fundraising. NextAfter helps organizations like Save the Children, Boy Scouts of America, and Greenpeace to acquire new donors and maximize the value of their donorbase. Their mission is to inspire the world to become more generous.

  1. Doubled second-time transactions for clients — Census Embedded enables NextAfter to automate marketing audience management across email and ad channels, doubling the amount of second-time transactions for their clients.

  2. Capabilities in weeks, not months — Census Embedded helped NextAfter provide integration capabilities to 200+ destinations in a few weeks, rather than an estimated 6 months to build their own MVP to a handful of destinations.

"We evaluated what it would take to build these capabilities, and it was a six-month process to create an MVP with just a handful of platforms. It just didn't make sense. With Census Embedded, I can keep my development overhead low and focus on what makes NextAfter unique. Moving faster is going to translate into much better results and ROI long term."

Kevin Peters
Kevin Peters,  Chief Technology Officer • NextAfter


The Challenges

1. Manual file uploads meant missing out on a critical targeting opportunity

To manage their client’s marketing audiences, NextAfter initially downloaded CSVs from their BigQuery data warehouse, and then uploaded these audience files into their marketing channels. Because of the manual effort, NextAfter’s audiences were only refreshed monthly at best.

This meant that NextAfter was missing over 30 days of remarketing to first-time donors. Driving a second donation during this period generates significant increases to the lifetime value of a given donor.

“The first 90 days of a donor’s journey are critical. That’s the same for any customer in any industry, and it’s the key for us because we focus a lot on lifetime value. If I can get a second gift from a donor within the first 90 days, the value of that donor is 3x to someone who donates on day 91.”

Kevin Peters
Kevin Peters,  Chief Technology Officer • NextAfter

2. Building integrations to each Marketing API would be a monumental undertaking

Marketing platform APIs are remarkably complex. They contain hundreds of seemingly similar endpoints. Each API has its own unique authentication methods, rate limits, and error handling. NextAfter ruled out building Reverse ETL integrations due to the time it would take to build robust pipelines for their clients’ scale.

“We did try to build our own Reverse ETL integrations. And the reality is that there are just too many endpoints and nuances in the connections. It would be one more thing to maintain, and one more thing to break in the process. It became evident that we needed to outsource these integrations to get up to scale quickly because our customers didn't care how we did it. They just wanted it done.”

Kevin Peters
Kevin Peters,  Chief Technology Officer • NextAfter

The Solution

Automated audience management built on the data warehouse, without increasing engineering headcount

NextAfter uses Census Embedded to provide automated, omnichannel marketing for their clients. NextAfter aggregates their clients’ data into a data warehouse (Google BigQuery), creates first-party audiences in SQL, and then serves these audiences to marketing platforms with Census Embedded.

With Census Embedded, NextAfter focuses on the campaigns it would like to run for its clients, not the plumbing it takes to make it happen. Using Census Embedded’s Connect Cards, NextAfter authenticates with its clients’ marketing systems securely. They then create, schedule, and sync audiences for their clients using the Census Embedded API. Census Embedded provides Kevin’s team with observability and alerting capabilities to manage audiences at scale.

NextAfter case study architecture


Result #1: 

Doubled repeat donor rate for clients

"We have seen second gift conversion rates nearly double with a full implementation," says Kevin. By breaking through authentication and data export obstacles, Census Embedded enables NextAfter to deliver highly differentiated results for its clients.
Specifically, NextAfter is able to run several marketing campaigns for their clients at scale:

  1. Omnichannel marketing campaigns to retarget first-time donors. “As a donor, the only way I give a second gift is if I feel like my first gift was put to good use,” explains Kevin. “We've now started piping that data into email marketing platforms and Facebook for campaigns in the first 90 days after a first donation: thanking the donor, giving them stories of impact, showing them videos, offering them e-books, and more.”
  2. Effective Winback campaigns based on fresh audiences of lapsed donors. With up-to-date audiences in Ads platforms, NextAfter ensures the right messages are reaching the right people. If a “lapsed” donor – who hasn’t given for over a year –  comes back and makes a new donation, they are removed from these remarketing campaigns, ensuring ad spend is always put to its best use.


Result #2: 

Advanced time-to-market by 6 months without increasing headcount

Instead of 6 months to develop an MVP of several Reverse ETL integrations, NextAfter accelerated their product roadmap and acquired the ability to support 200+ destinations with confidence for their clients.
In a world where technology leaders are being asked to do more with less, Kevin also kept his development team lean. Engineering resources have been focused on differentiating services and capabilities for NextAfter’s clients. 

“Development overhead isn’t just cost. There's the management aspect, the hiring aspect, building up a team, maintaining that team. When we're trying to get to market as quickly as possible and serve as many clients as possible, the faster we can move, the better.” — Kevin Peters, Chief Technology Officer

Looking forward

NextAfter is a great example of how marketing agencies can differentiate themselves by driving client results and efficiency through technology.

“Today, customers expect to be treated like individuals,” says Kevin. “They expect you to understand what they've done in their whole journey because they've gotten used to the Amazons of the world that can personalize their experience. When you can't do that, your brand is seen as lesser, and your customers are less likely to convert again.”

Kevin is excited to roll out these new services to more of their clients.

“My goal is that we can bring more advanced marketing capabilities to the nonprofit world: organizations that are fighting from behind, that are dealing with substandard tools, and that don't have the knowledge or the capability to do the heavy lifting. The more technical aspects we can manage, the more we can achieve our mission. We want people to be more generous.

Ready to deliver impactful results for your customers, not just data in flat files? Learn more about Census Embedded today.

From your data warehouse to your favorite apps. Without code or engineers.

Start using Census today by booking a demo with one of our experts.

  • Start a trial
  • Book a demo

Talk to us

No more engineering favors or tickets. Stop waiting weeks for customer data that will drive revenue.

All badges Q3 2023