Sunday, February 15, 2009

Christmas 2008 appeals and the recession - Results

Thanks for those who sent results in. I didn’t get a statistically useful sample beyond Australia, and only have data from Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and NZ.

One NZ charity and a large Canadian charity were both up 40-50% on Christmas 2007, which I think bucks the trend, but need more Canadian and Kiwi data. A small Canadian charity raised almost the same as 2007, and a medium sized HK charity was 40% down on last year – but their 2007 appeal beat their previous record by over 4 times. They were expecting a lower return regardless of economy, and Christmas 2008 is still one of their best results ever.

The lesson here is that regardless of the impact of the economic meltdown, it is possible to use tactics to beat the downturn.

The Canadian charity is especially interesting.

They implemented a new approach to mail appeals with some of the well published and proven direct mail techniques including, but not limited to:

1) Increase in personalisation, including personalised ask amounts based on previous giving throughout the letter copy as well as response coupon.

2) Much longer letter, that looked like a letter (4 pages).

3) Separate full page response coupon.

4) Urgent call to action throughout the copy.

5) Full on, emotional case study with clear call to action.

The increased cost of the pack were well out-weighed by the huge increase in net income. The Slideshare presentation below expands on the tactics which have worked for many charities in the past, and still seen to be working in this economic climate.

Any more case studies or results, please let me know.

A separate, more detailed blog on the Australian results will be posted later this week.

(The presentation below was originally presented at the Passion Forward fundraising conference in the Philippines).



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