Cover Story: 2009 Gold Awards for Fundraising Excellence
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
"Department of Defense" Campaign
Submitted by Lautman Maska Neill & Co.
Income Generated: $69,085
Average Gift: $86.03
Out-of-Pocket Costs: $950
Response Rate: 0.98 percent
Cost to Raise a Dollar: $0.01
This series of e-mails — each with a slightly different twist from its predecessor — from the PCRM was a tough read, as the e-mails used graphic descriptions (with appropriate warnings) and other highly emotional copy addressing the pain and suffering of animals being used in combat training by the Department of Defense. And that, of course, is one of the things that made it so successful. Add to that a good amount of personalization; smart design; copy that stresses to recipients how important they are to the cause; and bold banner ads that point to the matching-gift opportunity that was the impetus for the campaign, and you can see why it was declared a winner.
In December 2008, a PCRM donor offered a $25,000 match for gifts made online by the end of the year, which is what prompted the series of e-mails.
From the entry form: "The results were astounding. So much money was raised after just the first two e-mails that the match was increased from $25,000 to $75,000. When the final e-mail was sent on Dec. 27 as a last chance to give, more than $69,000 was raised — prematch. In total, this campaign, which created a real story and consistent messaging, raised far more than PCRM expected."
Keep 'em 'Cuse: The Syracuse Responds Initiative
Submitted by Syracuse University
Income Generated: $1,028,160
Average Gift: $940.57
Out-of-Pocket Costs: $48,240
Response Rate: 1.19 percent
Cost to Raise a Dollar: $0.047
Our judges were highly impressed by this effort, a 45-day fund- raising marathon intended to secure additional scholarship support for students affected by the economic downturn. This was a true multichannel, seamlessly integrated effort that involved e-mail blasts; direct mail; one-on-one communications and solicitations; an enhanced Web presence; a phone-a-thon; and a PR push on the campus, local and national levels, among other elements.
Sustained over more than a dozen touchpoints, the branding and messaging were strong and focused, and never strayed from the goal at hand.
Even the entry itself was impressively systematic and presented in a no-nonsense, easy-to-follow way — close to 50 pages, each in its own plastic cover and bound in a folder, representing every aspect of the campaign with detailed descriptions and results. Of course, we don't judge entries based on how they're presented to us, but as one of our judges said, "The detailed presentation of their entry reflects the level of strategic planning that went into the campaign by the entire team."
Human Rights Campaign
"Defeat Proposition 8"
Submitted by Human Rights Campaign
Income Generated: $1,465,558
Average Gift: $90.58
Out-of-Pocket Costs: $25,050
Response Rate: 1.78 percent
Cost to Raise a Dollar: $0.02
When we realized that we had received an entry from the Human Rights Campaign and that one of our judges was a former (and fairly recent) HRC employee, we felt compelled to pull the HRC entry out of the running. But our other judges did take a look at it and felt that it deserved recognition. We don't know if it would have won had it been considered with the rest of the e-philanthropy entries, but we certainly didn't want to overlook it.
The campaign encompassed a series of e-blasts to encourage fundraising around numerous challenges to marriage equality — and HRC's response to them. Over the course of the year, HRC raised money for television ads, encouraged supporters to create personal fundraising pages and hosted wedding registries for couples who wanted their guests to make donations to HRC in lieu of gifts.
From the entry form: "Although the primary goal for the campaign was to raise funds … it [also] was important that we convert current online activists (non- donors) to donors — 5,834 new donors were eventually converted from our activist files. In addition, we sought to build our list through tell-a-friend landing pages. By the end of the campaign, we had increased our online activist universe by 29,012 names."