Published on

November 24, 2023

Case Study

Akkio Helps Sterling Strategies Target the Right Donors

How Machine Learning is changing fundraising
Case Study

The Challenge

Sterling is on the leading edge of Democratic campaigning, working with campaigns from the local to the national level. Offering full-service scalable fundraising, call time services, fundraising data management (FDM), and list acquisition, Sterling provides the day-to-day support that candidates need to run successful campaigns.

Its main subsidiary, Sterling Data Company, currently the second largest democratic fundraising data firm in the country, focuses on donor acquisition and contact data solutions to provide accurate email, mobile, and other data acquisition services to help campaigns reach their target donors. Now with over 1,000 candidates, PACs, and non-profits as clients, the company has seen incredible growth year-over-year.

However, as their business grew, so too did the challenge of keeping pace with the data. As Sterling CEO Martin Kurucz notes, finding the right donors, across any number of candidates, is like "finding the needle in the haystack." Sterling needed a way to quickly and efficiently surface patterns in their data in order to target the right donors with the right contact information.

Without a solution, the process of manually analyzing their data would have taken their team far too much time away from other important tasks. Further, wasted time spent trying to reach the wrong people with the wrong contact information would have been a significant drain on resources with no meaningful ROI.

“Targeting is really hard, in and of itself, and actually getting a hold of the donor is even harder. Now, doing all of that at scale is incredibly difficult.” Martin Kurucz, Managing Partner, Sterling Strategies

The Solution

Sterling started to look for a solution that could help them quickly and easily surface patterns in their data. Akkio's no-code AI and analytics technology caught their eye as a way to quickly get insights from their data. Kurucz notes that Akkio's "easy-to-use interface" and ability to "access insights at speed" were key factors in their decision.

With the unique ability to automatically clean and prepare data for analysis, surface patterns and trends, and create scalable machine learning pipelines in moments, the Sterling team knew that Akkio could help them take their business to the next level. Since adopting Akkio, the Sterling team has been able to quickly and easily get insights from their data that they otherwise would have missed. Kurucz notes that "all of a sudden, in one day, I can do as much data analysis as it would take my team a week."

Given the need to provide intelligent donor targeting across over 1,000 clients' campaigns, Kurucz notes that they're now "6 months ahead of schedule on development." Akkio has allowed the Sterling team to quickly build a powerful donor targeting solution that is saving them time and helping them raise more money for their clients. Compared to their previous analytical methods, Akkio showed 2.2X return.

Kurucz stated, "we always do vendor comparison. Akkio had the best models, pricing structure, scalability, and usability." Sterling tried other options but found that Akkio was the best solution to meet their needs.

And with the valuable insights gained from Akkio, Sterling is on track to 5X their revenue year-over-year. "It's a huge success story," says Kurucz.

Looking Ahead

Sterling is just getting started with Akkio. With new strategists, candidates, and processes being introduced all the time, they see Akkio as a valuable tool for helping them keep pace with the data. Akkio's team features will make it easy for them to onboard new users and ensure that everyone is using the platform to its full potential. Kurucz notes that they are "trying to build a product that converts more money for campaigns" and that Akkio will continue to play a key role in helping them reach their goals.

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