Better Than a Four-Leaf Clover
The expanded campaign included direct marketing to Mercy Home’s donor-acquisition file and housefile; viral marketing via its Web site; corporate sponsorships; shamrock pin days; a full breadth of media and advertising, including street banners, billboards, bus boards, and TV and radio PSAs; increased publicity for the A Touch of Green event; and enlisting a celebrity spokesperson. The A Touch of Green event’s name was changed in 2004 to Shamrocks for Kids to tie in better with the overall campaign.
“All these components have increased our donors’ interest and increased the interest of sponsors to hop on board,” Schoewe says.
Revenue sponsorships totalled $76,000 in 2005, and in-kind sponsors (products, entertainment services and media partnerships) totalled $18,225. Corporate sponsorships tripled after Mercy Home had more to offer in terms of a multichannel campaign, Schoewe says.
For the Shamrocks for Kids event in 2005, 4,500 invitations were mailed to 2,600 adults (2,100 paid and 400 complimentary), an increase of 400 invitations, or 18 percent, from 2004. In 2005, more than 1,000 children attended the event.
“There was some hesitation from our board and from the head of our organization about raising the price of admission to Shamrocks for Kids to turn it into a money-making event, because they wanted it to be a family-style event, where people could bring their kids,” Schoewe says, adding that the organization decided to raise admission prices modestly, to around $50 per ticket, and focus its fundraising efforts on the campaign’s other channels.
In the mail
The Shamrocks for Kids direct-mail package tells the story of Brendan, a Mercy Home child; explains the campaign elements; and asks for donations in “magic amounts,” or multiples of $17, to inspire support.
In 2005, the campaign’s second- year, donor-acquisition response was below expectations, at 1.08 percent, but the average gift was higher than expected, at $13.96. Average gift from the housefile mailing also was lower than expected, at $20.56, but response was higher, at 9.7 percent. In 2004, there was an 8 percent response from the housefile, with an average gift of $25.