Unhushed’s Marketing Automation Transformation

The UNHUSHED board poses for a group photo


open rate of UN|HUSHED’s latest newsletter


increase in open rate from Mailchimp


deliverability rate

The Challenge

  • Poor deliverability meant contacts weren’t seeing newsletters or other emails, even though they subscribed
  • Limited automation capabilities made communicating at scale with multiple buyer personas cumbersome for a small team
  • Lack of segmentation capabilities made personalization cumbersome and manual

The Solution

  • ActiveCampaign provides best-in-class deliverability so contacts get relevant content in their inboxes reliably
  • Advanced automation functionality allows for highly targeted communication to different buyer personas to drive value and build consensus 
  • Sophisticated tagging and segmentation features give UN|HUSHED the ability to personalize communication with customers and prospects, improving open and engagement rates
“Mailchimp was easy to use, but our deliverability rates were just so awful. ActiveCampaign’s inbox receive rates were way better. There were a bunch of factors that y'all were taking into account that other email providers just weren't. So we switched.” Nyk Rayne, Director of Operations and Design

UN|HUSHED, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Austin, Texas, is on a global mission to revolutionize sex education. Their goal is...

United States
Company Size
1-100 employees
ActiveCampaign Marketing + Sales

UN|HUSHED, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Austin, Texas, is on a global mission to revolutionize sex education. Their goal is clear: “We write sex ed curricula and we train educators and admin on how to use it properly and in a trauma-informed way,” shared Nyk Rayne, Director of Operations and Design at UN|HUSHED. Their uniqueness lies in their dedication to staying “technologically advanced and on the cutting edge of medical accuracy.”

The organization prioritizes its annual curricula review, setting it apart from others: “We review and update our curricula annually,” making it a dynamic process rather than a static one. This rigorous review involves different advisory councils, including curriculum, medical, and legal councils, to ensure “what we’re saying is accurate and the most up-to-date information.”

However, with ambitious goals and a compact team, UN|HUSHED faced challenges in effectively managing and marketing their curricula.

Unhushed's booth at an educator conference

Unhushed’s marketing dilemma

Before using ActiveCampaign, the UN|HUSHED team had multiple hurdles. One was the ineffective reach of their newsletters. “The issue that we ran into is that we were taking the time and the energy to send out a newsletter every month and it just wasn’t being received.” This was a significant issue as they were building UN|HUSHED, so Nyk went to work to solve the problem, reaching out to their newsletter subscribers to get feedback. “I was reaching out to some of our clientele that we knew and had enough of a relationship with to genuinely ask, ‘Do you even care about the newsletter? Do you want it? Do you want me to take you off the list? You’re here but you’re not opening them. What’s the deal?’” 

Nyk learned that in many cases, the emails were going directly to spam. She determined some of the issues lay with their tech stack. “Mailchimp was easy to use, but our deliverability rates were just so awful. We asked ourselves why. Why are we even doing this work if nobody’s looking at it? We’ve got bigger things to do.” She then went into research mode, digging into what could be causing poor deliverability rates. “I did a bunch of research and ActiveCampaign just came up over and over again as an organization that was hitting those rates. Your inbox receive rates were way better and it seemed like there were a whole bunch of factors there that y’all were taking into account that other email providers just weren’t. So we switched.”

Additionally, Nyk had many of the typical challenges of a non-profit organization. First, the team had to get creative with limited resources. Finding a solution that could enable a small team to do more was key to the success of the business. UN|HUSHED also has a fairly complex business model. While schools and educators pay to have access to UN|HUSHED’s unique and dynamic content, parent and community organizations are also heavily involved in the education of their children. The organization also depends on donations to continue operating. Having to organize and maintain communication streams for educators, school boards, parent groups, AND potential donors proved to be a monumental challenge for a lean team to manage, and they were trying to do it with simple spreadsheets and basic email functionality. 

Efficiency through automation empowers small teams to do more

Upon transitioning to ActiveCampaign, UN|HUSHED found solutions that suited their multifaceted needs. Efficient process management was paramount for the small team. ActiveCampaign’s automation allowed UN|HUSHED to streamline processes, making their operations more effective and manageable for the small team. UN|HUSHED leverages ActiveCampaign’s forms on its website for data collection that feeds people into different pipelines, tagging them with specific categories along the way. Automation, tagging, and segmentation allow Nyk and the team to manage all of their processes efficiently while also making sure each customer, donor, and stakeholder receives relevant and impactful communication. 

An automation Unhushed uses to change custom fields to tags

Tagging and segmentation for impactful personalized communication

On the sales and marketing side, tagging is essential to UN|HUSHED’s success. “All of ActiveCampaign’s tagging is pretty amazing. I have a pretty obsessive tagging setup.” UN|HUSHED sets up schools as accounts in ActiveCampaign. From there, they organize different contacts as administrators, teachers, parents, etc. by tags and ensure communication to each category is personalized to be relevant to their area of interest within the deal. Administrators are more interested in cost and licensing. Educators are most interested in the content itself and the resources available. Parents are concerned with what is being taught to their children. All of these people are key stakeholders in the process, and it allows UN|HUSHED to speak to each of them thoughtfully and efficiently to get the best educational resources possible into schools around the country. 

The many ways to use a CRM

UN|HUSHED leverages ActiveCampaign’s CRM for many of its processes, not just keeping track of leads and sales. Nyk shared that before Activecampaign, they were tracking all of their donors in spreadsheets. “Now, we have pipelines set up in the CRM for every year’s donations. We can see the same people moving through this process in a visual way that really helps us manage things. It’s much more organized and easier to keep track of.” Nyk has also built an automation connecting sales inquiries to potential deal value. When someone reaches out for more information, they share how many educators will be using the curricula. This is then calculated into potential deal size, allowing Nyk to prioritize higher-value leads at a glance. As the company scales, this will be key to helping the small team manage their pipelines.

UN|HUSHED also uses the CRM to manage customer service requests. Customers submit requests using one of the ActiveCampaign forms on UN|HUSHED’s website. From there, help and service requests go into a specific pipeline where they can be triaged and addressed efficiently. ActiveCampaign is integrated with Slack to send a message when these requests come through to make sure nothing goes unanswered and requests are fulfilled in a timely manner.

As a final bonus, Nyk mentioned, “The onboarding was great. The amount of engagement and training that I got to move everything over and really start using the platform right away was awesome.”

Impact metrics and looking to the future

With ActiveCampaign, UN|HUSHED witnessed immediate results. “It absolutely improved our send rate which was our initial problem… and then just all the additional features that we’ve been able to use have made it so worthwhile,” Nyk shared. The significant boost in open rates compared to their competitors was a testament to ActiveCampaign’s efficiency. “Our open rate is pretty baller… I’ve been able to look at it in comparison to other clients of ActiveCampaign and… it’s pretty great.”

The proof of UN|HUSHED’s success is in the numbers. Highlights include:

  • 60.3% open rate of UN|HUSHED’s latest newsletter
  • 238% increase in open rate from Mailchimp
  • 99% deliverability rate

When asked if she’d recommend ActiveCampaign to her peers, Nyk shared, “It’s a no-brainer. The capabilities of the software versus the cost are just so exponential. It absolutely improved our send rate which was our initial problem, but all the additional features that we’ve been able to use have made it so worthwhile. I didn’t even realize I had some of the problems that were solvable through a solution like ActiveCampaign. So yeah, I would say that you’re wasting time and money to even consider anything else.”

UN|HUSHED’s journey with ActiveCampaign is not just about marketing automation but about realizing its mission more efficiently. With their dedication and ActiveCampaign’s robust features, the sky’s the limit for the positive impact this nonprofit can have on sex education.

If you’d like to see how ActiveCampaign can help you accelerate your business growth like UN|HUSHED, try out a 14-day free trial today!

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