Bread for the City (BFC) isn’t just a food bank. They are helping residents of DC develop their power to determine the future of their own communities. They offer medical services, career services, legal aid, and more to DC’s most underserved communities to reduce the burden of poverty. The groundswell of energy in the racial justice movement in the summer of 2020 was very close to BFC’s mission as they have spent years working to uproot systemic racism in DC. However, BFC rarely touched on this topic in direct marketing.
Our goal was to develop a campaign that drove home the intersectionality of BFC’s mission and the most pertinent social justice movement of a generation.
A concise two-page mailing was the organization’s first appeal focused solely on uprooting systemic racism and how BFC programs support that mission. It was a risky topic to discuss as we weren’t sure how the audience would respond. Bold letters on the outer envelope read: Because Wishing for Justice Doesn’t Get it
The copy of the letter urged the community to continue taking action for justice. It pointed out that while the COVID-19 pandemic had hit the people it serves especially hard, BFC had not backed down on its commitment to pressure “DC and federal officials to put people first in all recovery initiatives.” Putting donors at the center of the solution to “free others from racial, social, and economic injustice” was a powerful statement that inspired the DC community.
Not only did this campaign surpass all expected metrics, but it was the best–performing appeal in the August timeslot in the previous six years.
This campaign brought in 58% more gross revenue than the previous year’s appeal.
The mailing net per donor improved by 26% over the previous year, despite a slight increase in costs. The average gift increased by $11.
Additionally, this was the first appeal to the influx of new donors from the COVID-19 acquisition a few months prior received. This new topic gave them the opportunity to hear such a strong message from BFC soon after their first gift, which helped spur further giving from this group throughout the year.