Campaign of the Year: Ronald McDonald House Charities
Preemie Baby Hat Appeal
Submitted by: TrueSense Marketing
- Recipients: 5,314
- Response rate: 5 percent
- Total cost: $10,067
- Income generated: $41,503
- Average gift: $156.61
- Cost to raise a dollar: $0.24
The front of this white, plain-as-can-be No. 10 envelope doesn’t look like anything special — until you notice the word “Fragile” scrawled across the front, just to the side of the address window, “hand-printed” and underlined in blue.
Holding it in your hand, you realize there’s something in the envelope aside from paper; it’s tactile. But whatever that something is, it’s soft and squishy. And it certainly doesn’t feel fragile.
You definitely want to open it. And knowing it’s from Ronald McDonald House, you know it’s an ask and you know it’s an opportunity to help sick kids. But what’s inside, and what’s so fragile about it?
Once inside, you realize the bumpy bits are actually a hat. Like the ones hospital nurseries put on newborns.
A tiny hat. Like they put on really tiny newborns. Preemies — the most fragile little lives you can imagine.
All of a sudden, the meaning of “fragile” on the outer hits you. And the series of “wow” moments that live in this package begins to reveal itself (at least that was the word, literally, I heard over and over from our judges as they read through it).
The letter is simple and beautiful, telling the story of preemies Zack and Emmie and how their mother couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her precious, precarious newborns at the hospital while she drove home every day to get some rest at night, and how Ronald McDonald House Charities intervened and gave the haggard mom a safe and clean place to stay while the babies struggled for their little lives. It also includes photos of the Zack and Emmie in their incubators.
The letter takes all of about three minutes to read, but there’s no doubt the reader goes back to that tiny hat often while reading it.
The last thing you see is a little footprint at the end of the letter, in the P.S. It just seems sweet until you actually read the P.S. and the line of italicized type at the very bottom of the page: “Emmie’s footprint at birth (actual size).” Wow.
The package also contains a page of coupons that very simply delineate how specific donation amounts can make a difference: $100 sponsors a family for 10 nights; $420 sponsors a family for six weeks, etc. It’s a fresh take on the traditional ask string, made even more compelling by the black-and-white photos of preemies on the reverse side.
The 2013 Fundraising Campaign of the Year is a beautiful study in simplicity that nonetheless moves the reader without being brash or over-the-top. Congratulations to the folks at Ronald McDonald House Charities and TrueSense Marketing. We just have one more thing to say: Wow.
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