Case Study: Human Rights Campaign Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal, Part 1
Yesterday at the DMA Nonprofit Federation's New York Nonprofit Conference, the Human Rights Campaign was honored as the Nonprofit Organization of the Year. One example of just how deserving HRC is of this tremendous award is its success in repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) legislation in the military.
Over the next few weeks, FundRaising Success will share an in-depth case study on HRC's DADT repeal campaign from 2010, which is published in full in FS sister brand DirectMarketingIQ's report, "The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising."
Here is part 1.
The easy way for fundraisers to appease donors is to focus their communications on the mission subjects that traditionally resonate best. But what happens when something incredibly urgent happens that strikes a critical chord with your organization's mission, but may not be the most top of mind for your supporters? That was the quandary the Human Rights Campaign found itself in last year.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights nonprofit could not sit idly by as the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell legislation was put on the table. Repealing DADT became the organization's No. 1 priority in 2010 after much internal discussion and debate, because the outcome was a vital step toward achieving HRC's ultimate goal of equality among all peoples, regardless of sexual orientation. And the HRC staff knew it would take a huge multichannel marketing effort across the entire organization to help pass the repeal.
"This was the first time that HRC had mounted an effort of this intensity and scope," says Susan Paine, HRC's director of annual giving. "What was unprecedented about this effort was that every department across the organization, all the board and volunteers were focused on DADT.
"When this strategy was laid out that we were going to focus on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I have to admit there was a lot of concern. Our most popular issue from a fundraising perspective and survey responses is marriage equality. We had to take something that was No. 8 a couple years ago on the priority list according to our member surveys and make that compelling to our donors and activists. That was a fun and interesting challenge for all of us, and brought a renewed sense of purpose and creativity to what we were going to embark upon for the year."