The desire to live the Greenpeace mission by engaging in action-oriented campaigns is something that the organization recognizes in its donors and would like to foster. A characteristic common to most of the 170,000 active donors (averaging 55 years old) is the desire to be part of an organization that stands up for what’s right, Sherrington says.
Two-thirds of Greenpeace USA’s e-mail list are non-donors who engage in action campaigns. Sherrington sees opportunity in getting action constituents to give as well as in getting active donors to become more involved with action campaigns.
“Our vision is to build an infrastructure that puts us back across the country, building our base, closely aligning financial support with activism,” he says. “We want donors to participate in actions, and we want activists to donate.”
The bottom line is getting people to broaden their interaction with Greenpeace.
“The mantra here is inspiring supporters to act, whether that’s giving money or taking action,” he adds. “What I expect is that we deliver a ‘Wow!’ experience. Who gets inspired by mediocrity? The theory is that more involved people are closer to the mission and their contributions will grow.”
An example of the “Wow!” experience in action was an integrated fundraising and activism campaign protesting the Japanese corporation that owns frozen-seafood company Gorton’s, along with part of a whaling fleet that has been targeted by various groups for the killing of endangered whale species.
(For a detailed look at the steps of the campaign, see the sidebar.)
The anti-whaling campaign included direct mail, telemarketing and e-mail and, in addition to a monetary ask, engaged donors and members in an action campaign where they created origami whales and sent them back to Greenpeace, which then gave them, en masse, to Gorton’s. More than just a petition, it was visual and tangible and it really allowed constituents to directly participate in the organization’s mission.