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Case Study: Nonprofit Leverages Data-Driven Direct
Date: October, 2014 --
In this Fresh Data Case Study we’ll take a look at how a
non-profit utilized local targeting within a multi-channel campaign involving
direct mail and radio, yes radio, in order to achieve their fundraising goals.
We’ll further demonstrate how their effective use of data-driven tactics
contributed to enhanced response and brand recognition metrics and provide
useful tips on how to make use of these tactics regardless of your own brand
vertical. This case study was complied by Data Services, Inc. in cooperation
with our friends at the Prescott Report.
Dyrenes Beskyttelse (DB) uses a mix of radio, direct mail
and post cards to secure donations for its operations in Denmark. Its
challenges and methods will be familiar to US non-profits, and the results of
its marketing tests of media will be useful to US companies as either
confirmation or correction of a chosen marketing path.
DB is one of the biggest Danish organizations focusing on
animal protection and is as well-known as the ASPCA in the United States. Their primary focus is on house-hold pets and
they support animal welfare through a network of animal shelters. As in most countries, these facilities care
for abandoned and abused pets and endeavor to place them into new homes. As in many countries, the activities are
funded through donations from the public.
Just as in the US, it is important for a non-profit
organization to show its donors how their money is spent. It is also important
for the fundraising arm to show that its marketing kroner are spent
effectively. And, of course, it is
important for DB to create awareness and get close to the target audience.
The Campaign & Media
In September 2011 DB launched a multi-media fundraising
campaign addressed to both existing donors and prospects who reside near four
selected animal shelters. Three media were selected:
1. Radio commercials:
The campaign was begun with radio commercials one week before the direct mail
campaign was to be dispatched. Listeners were urged to send a text message in
order to donate $9.00.
2. Direct Mail:
4,000 of the 80,000 current donors to the organization received a solicitation
letter. There were four versions with pictures and copy relating to the animal
shelter which was located closest to the donor.
3. King Size Post Card:
These were mailed to 40,000 prospects who lived close to the animal shelters
and may or may not have known of their existence. They had the same message and
layout as the direct mail piece.
The core message was identical in all media: never before
had so many animals needed help. Both
written solicitations requested donations through the text message route, and
the direct mail piece to existing donors also included a bank payment
authorization form which a donor could complete and give to her bank
authorizing a donation from her account to BD.
(Interesting side note:
This payment device, called a “giro” or “bank transfer”, is common in
Europe. Rather than filling out and sending a check to the payee, the account
holder completes the “giro” (transfer authorization) form provided in the
letter by the charity and leaves it with her own bank, which makes payment from
her account. If you’re not using this payment option already, test whether
providing the giro doesn’t give a lift in response. The donor doesn’t have to
look for a check or credit card or do anything but sign her name and enter her
account number and bank name on the form provided.)
During several weeks after the start of the campaign, the
independent research company Milward Brown Alstad Research carried out an
online survey to which 171 recipients of the print media and 175 radio
listeners reported their impressions of the campaign.
The results are very enlightening.
Media serving as
origin of the donations
print media 23%
Interest and branding
Print Media Radio
Memory 52% 20%
Interested 72% 56%
Relevance 57% 44%
mouth 38% 17%
effect * 3.75 3.42
it is remembered that the advertising was sent by DB.
Synergy with radio
Radio + Print Print Media
Like to read
donate 24% 13%
News value 42% 29%
Branding * 3.83 3.72
of the positive image of DB
Print drove the most donations, which is not unexpected
given the mailing to the donor base. For all targets, print by itself is
considered more memorable, interesting, relevant, and worth sharing than
messages through radio. As we all know,
print is powerful.
Nevertheless, the analysis also shows that direct mail and
radio work very well together, the partnership of radio commercials and the
printed word is nearly twice as effective at driving donations as print alone,
and print and radio together created a higher branding effect, which one hopes
will carry through the year to the next campaign!
Not to be lost in all this is the effective segmentation of
the donor audience to receive a postcard with the closest DB location to their
physical address. This is an effective tactic that should be tested by
marketers with brick-and-mortar locations, be they non-profits, retailers or
any other vertical.
Remember that Data Services, Inc. can help make sure you
have the current addresses of your loyal contributors and help you optimize delivery.
Putting in place effective address hygiene and data management practices,
especially for those prospects to whom you are reaching out to for the first
time, would also be in order. Furthermore, if you are using radio, we should
examine your lists to see if segmenting them by broadcast area will be
possible, so you can talk to your donors while they’re reading your campaign
letter! How about a 24% response rate like DB?!