When it comes to direct mail in Ireland, not-for-profits are the masters at making the biggest impact with the smallest budgets. Every cent counts. That's why they've honed their fundraising skills and learned exactly what works and what doesn't. From getting the database right to the correct copy tone to knowing exactly how much to ask for.
Focus Ireland: Focus Ireland Shine a Light Night 2012
Agency: Javelin Direct
One night in Dublin that raised over €350,000 to help prevent and end homelessness in Ireland. In a year when corporate giving was significantly down and funding gaps increasing, Focus Ireland engaged the agency to create an identity and proposition for a new top-level corporate fundraising activity that they wanted to undertake, which was in essence a sleep-out. There were many challenges, primarily the balance and subtlety required in creating the creative proposition and event identity to ensure the target audience did not feel the event was superficial, but as honest as possible a representation of what it is like for people who have not safe place to call home. Another significant challenge was the target audience themselves, as they were all top-level executives, it was anticipated that there could be great difficulty in getting past their gate-keepers. 'Focus Ireland Shine A Light Night 2012' was created, and 55 CEOs and top tier executives slept out for one night in the Iveagh Gardens on a cold October night, raising over €350,000, with a rate of return being more than 12:1. On the back of Shine a Light Night 2012, a series of think-ins are being rolled out by Focus Ireland, with these business leaders engaging them to use their influence, skills and corporate finances to put homelessness and Focus Ireland on the agenda and keep these vital services working. In just six months 10% of participants have already engaged as key partners.
Niall Mellon Township Trust: Green for Go!
Agency: DMCM/React Studios
The Niall Mellon Trust's annual Building Blitz had a very successful 10 years in South Africa housing over 100,000 people. 2012 was the last Blitz in South Africa so it was decided to move to a new location for 2013 - Kenya. This new location was a major challenge with no guarantee the veteran volunteer target audience would be interested in Kenya as they had become comfortable with South Africa. The agency developed a highly engaging Direct Mail and Facebook campaign that offered not just a unique engagement mechanism, but a great reason to respond - the offer of two free places on the Kenya Blitz. All the recipient had to do was snap the green glow stick that was sent in the mailing, photograph themselves with it in an unusual way, and upload it to the popular Niall Mellon Township Trust Facebook page. An 8% response rate was hoped for and a conversion of 5%. The actual results were astounding - the campaign received a 38% response rate with a 28.5% conversion.
Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind: Scamp to Hero Campaign
Agency: Ask Direct
The proposition was €1.50 per week ‘Sponsor a puppy’ , the low price point was essential to overcoming the affordability barrier and ensuring the largest possible number of sign-ups. The pack was designed to be vibrant, charming and cuddly, using a positive, upbeat tone, cute design and photos, with the concept of asking potential donors to “Help us turn this little scamp into a Hero”. The letter comes from the puppy himself, who asks the reader to help him become a guide dog hero like his uncle “Uri”. This is then linked to a case study letter about his uncle “Uri” and his visually impaired owner from Cork. The case study allowed IGDB to bring to life for donors the real life changing impact a Guide Dog can have for someone who is blind or vision impaired. The mailing had 4 streams: warm supporters already on the Guide Dogs database; cold records selected from known responsive lists; An Post Door Drops in selected areas of Dublin, Cork, and Galway; and newspaper inserts in two different national newspapers.The results exceeded their estimates. The number of responses to date is 20% above target, and the funds raised were 17% above target. The campaign also resulted in a solid donor database for future mailings, recruiting hundreds of direct debit donors; twice that number again in once-off gifts.
Cork Simon Community: Your Cork Simon Update
Agency: Ask Direct
With 'Your Cork Simon Update', Cork Simon Community created a highly donor-centred newsletter which talked about the fantastic work the donors made possible, rather than describing the work and activities of the organisation. The newsletter provided essential feedback on the impact of donor's gifts, gave heartfelt thanks for their support and instilled a sense of pride in the hearts of donors about their achievements. The result was a massive increase in donations - from zero for the previous supporter newsletter to over €57,000 - and an increase in donor loyalty which translated into a 10% increase in net income and 21% more donations from supporters in 2011.
ActionAid Ireland: Free Your Tax Money
Agency: Acorn Marketing
The single most important campaign any charity will conduct during the year is its taxback campaign. This campaign is a taxback campaign conducted by ActionAid. The aim was to encourage their valued donors to return their tax forms to them so they can claim money back from the Revenue on their behalf. ActionAid conducts this on a yearly basis but this campaign was different. They sought to improve results and they did by a significant amount of change in tactics. This campaign highlights how you can drive higher response rates of up to 37% by devising different target strategies and implementing several ways to contact and follow up with customers. It also highlights the importance of segmenting your data and implementing a different contact strategy according to different target audiences. It achieved a return on investment of 15:1, an incredible success for ActionAid.
Women's Aid - Joanna
Agency: Ask Direct
This campaign employed a clever approach to make the best use of the door drop medium. It beat its acquisition target by 30% and produced a 67% uplift in average gift, resulting in a net cost per new donor of zero - exceptional in a charity direct marketing campaign. The pared back creative approach used simple type on the envelope to attract attention and encourage readers to open it. A long, five-page letter dramatised the importance of Women's Aid services using the shocking story of Joanna, a woman who had been horrifically abused by her partner before escaping with the help of Women's Aid.
Bóthar: Gifts that count
Agency: Spark Marketing Communications
2010 was a challenging year for Bóthar, who experienced an overall drop in income of 35%. When planning the annual Christmas Appeal, Bóthar focused on Retention strategies. It became apparent that in order to survive, the organisation needed to learn more about donor responsiveness and place an emphasis on retention. With this focus, advertising spend was reduced and this budget was redirected to database communications. The campaign tested successful acquisition channels that offered measurability (direct mail, press inserts and Publicity Post). Direct Mail communications were segmented into Active, Inactive and Acquisition List. A control pack was developed for each segment. Three tests were conducted: front loading with gift cards, offering alternative creative, and basing the donation amount solicited on previous giving patterns. Bóthar achieved a 275% return on investment, 70% of campaign responses came in via post. The donor behaviours recorded in the Christmas Appeal formed the basis for Bóthar's donor and prospecting strategy for 2011.