Case Study: The National Kidney Foundation


National Kidney Foundation Success Story

Doubling Email Engagement Metrics with Accessible Personalization


Empowering Non-Technical Marketers to Adopt SFMC

When the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) migrated to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the team was excited to take advantage of customer journeys and personalization opportunities for more resonant experiences, but Marketing Cloud’s code-intensive segmentation requirements were the direct opposite of the intuitive UX they had previously enjoyed.

That’s where DESelect came in. Since their plug-and-play implementation, the NKF’s small e-mail team creates segments with ease for 12 million emails sent annually.


  • Facilitate team's Marketing Cloud adoption
  • Activate CRM data to maximum effect while bypassing time-consuming SQL and AMPscript use
  • Integrate seamlessly with Marketing Cloud


  • Roughly doubling key email engagement metrics, sharp rise in CTR, ~50% lower unsubscribe rates
  • Able to nationalize personalized email campaigns for local events and operations – no AMPscript required
  • Non-technical marketers have a better grasp of the NKF’s data model & Marketing Cloud use cases

DESelect has been more impactful than Marketing Cloud itself…it gives us access to so much in Salesforce. Also, it's improved our Salesforce skills because we must identify the data that connects the two platforms and have a deeper understanding of how the data architecture works.

Sara ValenciaEmail Marketing and Automation Director


How The National Kidney Foundation uses DESelect Segment

  1. Manage large segments (e.g., healthcare providers, donors) while creating targeted niches (e.g., patients by type, healthcare specialists)
  2. Combine different Salesforce objects into one data extension, then sending to Journey Builder
  3. Enhance personalization without the need for AMPscript by adding dynamic custom values into data extensions
  4. Review performance quarterly with the DESelect team to explore opportunities to further impact marketing operations
  5. Enrich imports for very complex journeys with data views, external APIs, and data that lives in Salesforce – all without the need for Automation Studio


Why The National Kidney Foundation Loves DESelect Segment

  • Built for creative marketers and technical marketers alike
    “We are not technical marketers. In nonprofit, you have to do more with less. I was formerly in fundraising and spent most of my career doing solicitations, annual fund appeals, direct mail; and I fell into email marketing. We are digital marketing strategists, more so than developers or those very tech heavy roles that you expect to see in a Marketing Cloud system.”
  • Time savings and faster campaign creation
    “We are setting up campaigns and journeys to help folks get emails out the door way faster than when we were just using Marketing Cloud Connect.”
  • Allows teams to focus on their primary responsibilities
    “We gave time back to our fundraising colleagues who should be out there in the community building relationships. The amount of time they are able to dedicate to email marketing is literally zero with all they have to do. With DESelect, we take that burden off of them.”

Q&A with Sara Valencia from The National Kidney Foundation

  • [Unprompted]

    I would not use Marketing Cloud, ever, without DESelect. At this point, if I had to learn SQL, it's an additional expense to my organization to find those classes and take the time to learn that skill, there's no way. This was the right choice 100 percent. I would tell anybody who's on the fence about DESelect, do it, just absolutely do it.

  • Have you seen DESelect make an impact on the campaigns you push out?

    What we are seeing is a consistent rise in CTR. So, email engagement metrics have doubled in most cases. We have seen a reduction in unsubscribe rates as well. So that has also decreased by half in many of these cases.

  • How would you explain the impact of DESelect to your boss?

    We were able to take hundreds of emails and improve them very quickly. Being able to streamline campaign processes is always a big sell, along with taking this new model and scaling it up for other programs that are locally produced – it’s going to save everyone time and stress.

    The proof is in the metrics you see after launch: improvement of email engagement and subscriber retention. I’ve only seen positive results so far from being able to do this.

  • How would you explain DESelect to a colleague?

    It's a great tool to bypass SQL and create combined data segments and advanced lists.

    The drag-and-drop building is a bonus. If you're looking for an easy user experience, DESelect has kept list-building simple. It’s very satisfying to grab whatever you might need and drop it into a filter or data extension.

  • What’s your most interesting success story with DESelect Segment?

    Our unsubscribe rate went down for a particularly stubborn segment where historically we see a high attrition rate per annum. We are seeing better CTR rates when we use DESelect versus a Salesforce report because we're able to overlay behavioral filter sets that track behavior or engagement.
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