Indian Ocean Tsunami, 2004. Hurricane Katrina, 2005. Haiti Earthquake, 2010. Joplin, Missouri Tornado, 2011. Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, 2011.
While no one wishes for global disasters, they serve as incredible catalysts for unprecedented giving to relief organizations immediately following each event. Working with these groups can be both rewarding and challenging, especially when it comes to keeping donors engaged and active once recovery efforts are underway.
Revitalizing sustained giving programs is often an uphill battle, even in the best economic times. With today’s financial troubles, donors more closely monitor their giving, which requires organizations to be creative in their approaches. Relief organizations can increase the returns on their giving campaigns by implementing a few direct-marketing best practices, including improved prospecting, examining successful creative appeals — both old and new — and fully integrating outreach across multiple channels. With one or a mix of these strategies, charity organizations can outperform long-standing control packages and increase donations as the competition for contributions continues to grow stronger.
1. Revitalize the program with prospecting efforts
While there are many arguments stating that direct mail is in decline, per the Direct Marketing Association’s 2012 Response Rate Report, mail campaigns draw a better overall response than digital channels. In cases of existing customers, this rate is almost 30 times what e-mail appeals return. Additional studies show that a prospective donor is still far more likely to respond to a piece of mail than an unsolicited e-mail. The costs of online marketing certainly help increase its popularity, but such low costs also allow fraudulent solicitations to flood e-mail inboxes, making recipients skeptical of most of the e-mail they receive.
Organizations today have access to better information for prospecting new donors, which can increase the response rates of any campaign. This is enabled by improved segmentation, allowing organizations to better target potential givers. By narrowing down their target audiences based on age, income, self-reported interests and lifestyles, and previous charitable giving, relief organizations can better target their appeals, not only from a logistical standpoint, but also a creative/content perspective.