The 10th Annual Gold Awards for Fundraising Excellence
Email House Annual Operating Budget $10 Million or Over
Year End Renewal
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Submitted by RobbinsKersten Direct
Response Rate: 0.04 percent
Total Cost: $20,000
Income Generated: $103,650
Average Gift: $202.84
Cost to Raise a Dollar: $0.19
Why It Won
MD Anderson Cancer Center’s year-end renewal email campaign received high marks from our judges for its creative blend of fundraising and festivity. Sent to the organization’s house file, the email series had a dual aim: to raise money while creating a unique onsite display to encourage patients at MD Anderson’s Houston campus. “The root of the offer was that with each donation made, MD Anderson would add a personalized link to a paper chain installation,” explained Polly Papsadore, vice president of marketing at RobbinsKersten Direct, who designed the campaign. “Each link would include the donor’s name.”
It was a fantastic concept, but there was one major obstacle: Would donors be able to see how adding a ring to a paper chain correlated to the hospital’s cancer research, education, patient assistance and other work? Would they donate? It would take a strong, cleverly conceptualized, flawlessly executed campaign.
It delivered. Strategically timed to launch before Thanksgiving—ahead of the competition and before the hospital’s constituent-base began holiday travel—the campaign’s emails featured a clean, image-heavy template with obvious calls-to-action. As the deadline neared, the campaign ratcheted up the urgency, replacing the header image with a countdown timer and adding a larger donation button. The result? A 778 percent increase in donations over 2013 and more than 10 times the revenue—and one long, festive paper chain.