September 22, 2021

Data Axle Appoints Five Industry Nonprofit Leaders to New Strategic Advisory Board

Leaders from Habitat for Humanity, UNICEF USA, American Heart, Make-A-Wish and Social Solutions to help chart future-focused roadmap for nonprofit clients

DALLAS – September 22, 2021 — Data Axle, the leading provider of data, data-driven marketing and real-time intelligence solutions, today announced the formation of a new strategic advisory board serving its nonprofit division. This new working board—comprising top leaders from the world’s most renowned nonprofit organizations—will play an integral role in charting Data Axle’s course into a future in which fundraising success will be contingent on seamless omnichannel donor engagement. Formation of the new board closely follows news of the company’s two most recent strategic acquisitions, Lake Group Media and DonorBase.

“Data Axle’s commitment to serving the ever-changing data needs of the nonprofit world are unparalleled in our industry,” said Data Axle Chairman and CEO Michael Iaccarino. “The formation of this board—stacked with leaders who are driving change at today’s most esteemed charitable organizations—is yet another example of how we continue to deepen this commitment and pivot solutions for an omnichannel reality.”

The new board will work with the company to provide strategic guidance on the fundraising strategies being employed to drive robust donor acquisition and retention among Data Axle nonprofit clients, and will partner with Data Axle leaders as they envision how products and solutions can be evolved or built to better serve the omnichannel needs of tomorrow’s charitable organizations.

“While today’s nonprofits focus heavily on their direct mail programs, we know that the future will belong to those organizations that can pivot to meet the omnichannel communication expectations of tomorrow’s donors,” said Data Axle’s Nonprofit Solutions President and Strategic Advisory Board Co-Chair Niely Shams, who was promoted to her role this past April as a part of the company’s commitment to helping nonprofits prepare for an omnichannel future. “The strength and expertise of this innovative strategic advisory board is testament to Data Axle’s foundational role in driving nonprofit marketing success, and we look forward to working with these top industry minds as we chart our course for meeting and exceeding the future needs of our clients.”

In addition to Shams, who will serve as co-chair of the board, the founding members of Data Axle’s nonprofit division strategic advisory board are:

  • Co-Chair: Jonathan Reckford, Chief Executive Officer – Habitat for Humanity International, Inc.: Since 2005, when he took the top leadership position, local Habitat organizations in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries have grown from serving 125,000 individuals each year to helping more than 5.9 million people last year build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. He served on the Federal Reserve of Atlanta for six years. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Urban Steering Committee for the World Economic Forum. Reckford also sits on Data Axle’s board of directors.
  • Helene Vallone Raffaele, Vice President, Donor Strategy and Experience – UNICEF USA: During her tenure, she has raised more than $1 billion from individual donors and leads the largest small-donor fundraising program for the organization. She leverages her multi-disciplinary expertise to drive organizational transformation. Helene has developed innovative strategies through diversification aimed at acquiring and stewarding high-value donors. She is an early adopter of leveraging data insights in developing a progressive audience-led approach rooted in donor centricity. She is a contributing member of numerous international committees giving her a global perspective on effective fundraising and engagement.
  • Becky Johnson, Vice President, Donor Experience and Executive Lead, Digital Transformation – American Heart Association, Inc.: Since joining the American Heart Association in March 2018, Johnson has set a precedent for insight-driven programs, effectively elevating the impact for the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to defeating cardiovascular diseases and stroke. She is leading the digital transformation for the enterprise and direct-to-donor direct response fundraising. She held various roles in the PepsiCo organization over a 16-year tenure, culminating as Vice President and General Manager for the $3.2 billion Cheetos and Doritos Kids and Teens business unit. She serves as a NED for the Alex and Lee Family of Companies, serving on the Compensation and HR Committee for the $2 billion wholesaler and grocery retailer.
  • Sylvia Hopkins Hanneman, Vice President, Marketing and Digital – Make-A-Wish Foundation International: Hopkins joined Make-A-Wish International in 2011. In 2020, she returned to her former position of Vice President, Marketing and Digital, after overseeing a two-year transition during the infrastructure change, leadership adjustment and relocation of the operational head office, when she served as Chief Administrative Officer. Her primary objective today is to build data-driven decision-making processes to ensure Make-A-Wish continues learning and optimizing its actions and performance. Her team is responsible for global marketing, including all digital marketing and fundraising, public relations, internal and external communications, creative services and management of global brand campaigns and signature events.
  • Erin Mulligan Nelson, Chief Executive Officer – Social Solutions, Inc.: Nelson serves as the CEO of Social Solutions, a Public Benefit Corporation and the leading provider of cloud software for nonprofit and public sector social service organizations, providing them case management, participant connection, outcome analytics and funder enablement solutions, enabling them to maximize human outcomes, increase efficiency and increase funds raised. Prior, Nelson was CEO of Calytera, a government technology software company. Before that, Nelson served as CMO at SunPower and Bazaarvoice, where she helped lead the company through IPO in 2012. She spent 11 years at Dell, rising to CMO, where she led the e-commerce business and managed a $13 billion P&L.

About Data Axle
Data Axle is a leading provider of data, data-driven marketing and real-time business intelligence solutions for enterprise, small business, nonprofit and political organizations. The company’s solutions enable clients to acquire and retain customers and enhance their user experiences through proprietary business and consumer data, artificial intelligence/machine learning models, innovative software applications and expert professional services. Data Axle’s cloud-based platform delivers data and data updates in real-time via APIs, CRM integrations, SaaS, and managed services. Data Axle has 45+ years of experience helping organizations exceed their goals. For more information, visit