Better Than a Four-Leaf Clover
Reaching out online
Mercy Home’s Web site was enhanced to promote visits and make it easy for people to donate. In mid-February, about a month before the Shamrocks for Kids event, the site frame is changed to emphasize the campaign. Mercy Home wanted to use the Internet to bolster its e-mail address file, raise revenue online and guarantee Web site credibility. Visitors were encouraged to wear the shamrock pin and make a donation.
For the 2005 campaign, there was record traffic to Mercy Home’s Web site pre-campaign to peak-campaign; the number of site visitors tripled from 5,500 to 17,000. The number of Web donors more than tripled from an average of 10 per week to 38. Although Mercy Home secured 7,534 new e-mail addresses, many were only seeking a free shamrock pin.
“Last year we tried giving away pins in exchange for an e-mail address, but this year we’re going to require the same donation as on the street to prevent getting overwhelmed by freebie seekers,” Schoewe says.
Total revenue from the Web last year was $9,535 from 267 donors, 266 of whom were new to Mercy Home, with an average gift of $35.71.
Mercy Home also contacts donors via e-mail for this campaign. In 2005, an initial e-mail — introducing the campaign, asking for donations and mentioning the pin — was sent on Feb. 24 to 3,000 addresses, and on March 17 a second e-mail was sent to nearly 10,000 addresses. That e-mail reminded recipients of Mercy Home kids’ stories and asked for $36 (one day of food, clothing and education for two children) or $144 (one day of the same for eight children). One of Mercy Home’s media partners, a local radio station, sent a similar e-mail to 13,000 listener names. In 2005, e-mail asks generated nearly $1,000, with an average gift of $77.