Something to Smile About
That donor, Shawyer says, contacted the organization asking for 42 more cards so he could personalize each one and returned the cards along with his $10,000 donation.
The piece also received great feedback from Operation Smile’s in-country medical volunteers and international mission teams.
“It was a really wonderful campaign,” Shawyer says. “It was powerful. We’re grateful that we’ve been able to implement an integrated strategy in which all media channels come together not just to raise money or build a brand, but to help change the face of our world.”
Operation Smile seems to have a pretty good handle on direct mail and other more traditional fundraising and brand-awareness strategies. But it also knows when to stick a toe in fresher waters — namely social networking.
Vice President of Marketing and Communications Lisa Jardanhazy says the organization has a presence on MySpace, Facebook, uPlej and other sites, finding them beneficial for reaching younger supporters.
There are thousands of students in more than 500 Operation Smile student clubs in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, universities and medical schools around the world.
“[The clubs] are very much proponents of our expanded online and interactive efforts,” Jardanhazy says.
“Integration is really our mantra here,” she adds. “Consistent messaging, branding — not bombarding people but integrating. We’re really synchronized in our efforts.”
Since Operation Smile has reached out to so many Spanish-speaking countries, it plans to start focusing some of its fundraising efforts on Hispanic communities in the U.S.
“We’re heavy into Latin American countries — we have [a strong presence] there,” Shawyer says. “So we want to appeal to the Hispanic market in the U.S.”
It’s also excited about its recent text-message campaign — as of this writing it was scheduled to start in mid-September — which asked people to make a $5 donation by text messaging the word “SMILE.”
Related story: Operation Smile Facts