Cover Story: Cows and Chickens and Naked Celebs! (Oh My!)
The campaign also got an extra kick from a video the organization had released in February 2005 following an undercover investigation that revealed dogs and other animals being skinned alive for their fur at farms in China. Taggart says the video was always popular but experienced a resurgence when PETA launched the campaign during the Olympics. Since its release, the video has been viewed more than 35 million times.
“The popularity of this video is amazing,” Taggart says. “It really had a huge impact on the campaign.”
Just prior to the kickoff of the games in Beijing, PETA unveiled a new anti-fur ad that depicted a naked Beard standing in front of an American flag with the slogan, “Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin. Don’t Wear Fur.”
Steve Kehrli, PETA Foundation development director, says PETA doesn’t share specific campaign numbers but that this campaign was one of its most successful.
Taggart says most of PETA’s donations are generated from direct-mail campaigns, though cash raised from e-mail appeals is increasing. And this year, PETA hopes to jump into mobile fundraising.
Currently, Bartlett says, PETA uses a free service that allows it to send text messages to people but is not involved in any actual mobile fundraising
campaigns. On Black Friday, for example, text messages were sent out wishing people a “Happy Fur-Free Friday.”
“People are out [shopping], so they aren’t checking their e-mails on Black Friday,” Bartlett says. “This is a way to stay relevant. It’s reminding people, if you go out today, don’t buy any fur. You’re staying in touch with potential donors.”
PETA’s success has to do with its no-fear approach to taking risks, trying new things, and communication and teamwork within the organization.
Bartlett, whose department is responsible for getting the organization’s mission out over the Internet, says communication between PETA’s marketing and fundraising departments really is key. Of the organization’s
173 employees, 26 are dedicated to fundraising.