“People who were already living with low incomes who now have no income … parents who can’t take a day off work to protect their own health or care for sick children … seniors who can’t afford food and shouldn’t risk leaving home to go grocery shopping anyway.”
These are the neighbors who faced an uphill battle in the new normal of social distancing, closed businesses, and uncertainty of 2020. Already supporting the community with food, legal help, and medical services, Bread for the City (BFC) took on even more financial burden to sustain their neighbors in this time of crisis. From shifting food delivery directly to homes when BFC’s Food Pantry closed to offering free COVID-19 testing, BFC knew it needed to do more to help keep the DC community safe. But it also needed a plan to come up with the additional revenue that such programs would cost.
We knew this was the time to double down on outreach for new donors and to bring long-lapsed supporters back to the file. BFC’s previous acquisition that mailed in March had performed well due to the mailing arriving in homes right as the pandemic hit. Could we add an unbudgeted acquisition mailing to reach even more people… and help even more neighbors?
For the mailing, we used a clean outer envelope with “Emergency Request” in bold red to convey urgency. Readers were pulled into concise messaging about BFC’s work to deliver meals through the pandemic, provide COVID-19 tests, medical care, and other community services during a global pandemic and growing community emergency—all in a two-page mailing. But we also infused the messaging with a call to the DC community to stand up and weather the crisis together.
Reaching out for new joins is always risky, and the client was nervous to mail an additional acquisition campaign (with unbudgeted funds and during a pandemic that no one could predict or anticipate, nonetheless). But with so much on the line, the potential payoff far outweighed the risk, and we were able to deliver a uniquely successful campaign. The urgent acquisition mailing:
Fighting through the uncertainty and leaning into timely and urgent causes sometimes requires venturing out of our comfort zone. It isn’t just longtime donors and familiar audiences who are eager and willing to help – and it’s our job to bridge new donors with special client missions.