A different message
But after collecting record sums through the Internet late last year, MSF had to rework its January mailing to address the tsunami disaster and alert prospects and donors on how it will receive such funds.
“That mailing focused on the fact that it was the ongoing support of our donors that allowed our medical teams, many of which were already working in the affected region, to rush to help those in urgent need,” Walsh says. “Going forward, the emphasis will continue to focus on the link between MSF’s quick response to emergencies and the strong private support we receive from our donors.”
MSF, like other conscientious nonprofit organizations, understands the benefits of holistically integrating its marketing channels. When donors give online, for example, they receive a thank-you note via e-mail, as well as a direct mail package two weeks later that thanks them again and illustrates some of the organization’s accomplishments in 2004.
“Online gifts are considerably higher than direct mail, averaging in the $185 range for the under $500 population,” Walsh says. “We also receive quite a few large donations online. For donors who give more than $5,000 annually, the average gift is around $6,200.”
In 2003, for the first time, the U.S. section of MSF established a major-gifts program with the goal of raising $30 million in new money over the next five years. Prior to the new initiative, there had been no MSF staff member or program in place to proactively cultivate major donors. Big gifts on the order of $5,000 just came in via direct mail and the Internet year after year.
“As we’ve started to grow our major-gifts program, there has been more recognition that our direct mail has brought a lot of people spontaneously up to this level,” Walsh says proudly. “It’s very rare that you see a direct mail package go out and come back with a $5,000, $10,000, even $25,000 gift.”