2014 Gold Awards for Fundraising Excellence Campaign of the Year: The Children's Center
“We entered this competition to share with other nonprofits what has worked for us,” Thompson writes. “To inspire use of their imagination to connect with generational donor audiences in new and relevant ways, beyond the traditional approach. And to say, ‘Think outside the proverbial box. Get creative.’”
Response rate: 3.42 percent
Total cost: $122,613
Income generated: $487,171
Average gift: $2,619
Cost to raise a dollar: $0.25
Sometimes, it still pays to think inside the box. But it all depends on what’s in there. Our judges were downright giddy to get their hands on this stunning campaign from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to fund its new Buerger Center. The allure of the hefty mailer, in box form, grabbed them right away.
Inside, they found highly personalized elements including personalized blueprints of the building and a handwritten note from CHOP’s executive VP (with his business card and contact info).
This mailing, which went out to low-dollar donors, midlevel donors, major donors and the hospital’s board of trustees during a peak fundraising time (November to December 2013), was a risky one. The hospital had never mailed to both low-dollar donors and major donors at the same time. The package also needed to redirect donor attention from patient stories (the crux of all previous fundraising efforts) to funding a building. There was no choice but to make it genuinely unique.
“From using a Buerger Center-branded box as the carrier to including personalized blueprints of the building, the intention was for the donor to feel that they had been hand-selected to receive an exclusive invitation to become part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Christina Kukelhaus, an account executive at Schultz & Williams.