Africare’s funding was stretched to the limit at the end of 2014, as the organization used available resources to help slow the Ebola epidemic in Western Africa. Heading into year end, Africare sought to shore up its revenue and prepare donors for the coming challenges of the new year.
Objective: Avalon was tasked with providing up-to-the-minute information to donors about the Ebola epidemic and Africare’s role in responding to the crisis. Additionally, Africare was seeking to revitalize its low-dollar donors’ metrics overall.
Strategy/Audience: Taking advantage of the prime year-end fundraising time slot, Avalon designed the Africare in Action: 2014 Year-End Report appeal. The package featured a comprehensive memo describing Africare’s significant accomplishments in 2014, addressed to Africare President Dr. Darius Mans from key on-the-ground program staffers. The message outlined the challenges for the year ahead as the focus shifted from preventing Ebola to rebuilding in the wake of the crisis. This included Africare returning to its core mission of working in partnership with Africans to build sustainable, healthy, productive communities.
The memo also highlighted Africare’s significant humanitarian work in the face of the Ebola epidemic and the need to extend services throughout their programs in the affected countries. We sprinkled handwritten notes from Dr. Mans in the margins throughout the memo to highlight key takeaways. The package also included a personalized lift note from Dr. Mans urging supporters to review the enclosed memo from his staff and extend their care and support during this time of rebuilding.
The mail universe included traditional 0-24 month donors with a giving range of $10-999.99.
Results: The Africare in Action package’s mix of stated accomplishments, coupled with the challenges ahead, inspired and motivated Africare’s donors, earning the highest response rate for an Africare direct mail appeal in more than three years. And this appeal garnered a very healthy $119.48 average gift, even though the highest previous contribution of 43 percent of the target audience was less than $100.
Year end is a good time to help your donors take stock of your organization’s accomplishments for the year that’s coming to a close—specifically highlighting the achievements your donors have helped you reach. And of course, take time to remind them of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the new year and how their support will make a difference.