From the Ashes
Important Fundraising Lesson Learned: When you try to raise funds for something your donors don’t associate you with, they just flat-out don’t give. No matter how cool your work is.
Straw Not Quite a Draw
Submitted by Steve Maggio, DaVinci Direct
The Campaign: “The Straw Package.”
The Client: A national health care charity.
The Offer: Support the client’s world-class programs of research and treatment for asthma to help save the lives of kids suffering serious asthma attacks.
The Background: First, I met with the client. We strategized how this particular mailing would fit into its overall program plan, and I did the requisite research to find out how many people suffer from asthma, what the strengths of the client’s program were, what kind of asthma research it needed funding for, the “unique selling points” of its particular treatments for severe asthma cases, etc. I had good info to work with, but I was looking for a breakthrough idea.
So I asked my wife what to do. Not just because she’s a smart and creative person, but because she’s a nurse at a prestigious hospital with more than 15 years of experience in the pediatric intensive care unit. She’d dealt with many severe — as in life-threatening — asthma cases. “What was it like from the perspective of the patient and the patient’s family?” I asked.
She explained how the airway, in response to certain “triggers,” becomes constricted, inflamed and lined with excessive amounts of mucus. In essence, what starts as shortness of breath and wheezing can become life-threatening as the airway gets smaller and smaller. “It’s like trying to breathe through a tiny straw,” she said, “and sometimes the straw can become completely closed. The kid can’t breathe, the parents freak out and it gets very serious.”
The Big Idea: Eureka! I had my “hook.” We’d go “outside the box.” I’d create a visual analogy in the package, using one of those skinny coffee-stirrer straws.