Agency: WWAV Rapp Collins
Campaign: Direct Donor Marketing
During 1994, the NSPCC commissioned an independent National Commission of Inquiry into the possibility of identifying all the causes of child abuse and putting a “full stop” to each one. Its conclusion that abuse was preventable in 94 per cent of cases led to a four-year direct marketing programme to support the Full Stop campaign, unveiled in 1999.
The NSPCC has been a forerunner of using DM in fundraising – including running the first charity direct response TV (DRTV) commercial – since its first direct mailing in 1980. The four-year support campaign for Full Stop would involve increasing direct donor marketing’s contribution to dependable income. An intensive and sophisticated direct marketing programme was pursued to increase dependable net income and provide tangible, long-term support. The programme elicited half a million new supporters, with support and donations peaking during the launch of the campaign.
The NSPCC has established cold direct mail, door drops and DRTV as viable recruitment media with an acceptable return on investment. During 1998, for example, 20 per cent of its recruitment budget went on responsive commercials with a 1:1 return on investment. However, new products needed to be developed to expand the proportion of donors recruited who would provide long-term, dependable income, since only 40 per cent of one-off cash donors ever give a second gift.
Moving or recruiting donors to standing order or direct debit has two advantages. It enables donors to provide accrued income at no marketing cost after the first year; and the lifetime value of such donors, compared with cash givers, is up to three times as great and retention levels are 90 per cent. Significantly, a distinct sub-set of such donors are aged 34 to 45, with young families and above average incomes – a previously untapped charity audience.
Regular giving had been tested successfully through door drops and cold direct mail campaigns. The NSPCC developed a DRTV commercial, called “Open Your Eyes”, to recruit committed donors. The commercial, tested during autumn 1999, was a success, and was rolled out at Christmas.
The charity also tested the new concept of the paperless direct debit agreement on DRTV. Previously, the rate of responders converting to standing order was less than 50 per cent. With paperless direct debit, conversion rates were substantially increased. Face-to-face recruitment also acquired 20,000 new regular donors giving almost &£1m per year.
A donor segmentation project was undertaken to build a lifetime value model. This model was able to predict donors’ contributions within six months of their recruitment. Donors’ propensity to respond to different appeals – for example cash appeals, regular giving and upgraded giving – was also modelled and appropriate approaches developed. This helped increase response rates by up to 20 per cent. A lifecycle model was also developed which divided donors into four stages: recruitment, engagement, maximisation and lapsing.
Direct marketing and direct response advertising were integral to the NSPCC’s Full Stop campaign. Traditional direct response media were used to invite people to sign a pledge to end cruelty to children. This offered three levels of commitment. The results were: 101,584 were recruited for fundraising, 126,610 for campaigning and 90,168 for giving.
Committed income has undergone a sharp increase for the NSPCC. Net income from direct donor marketing became the single largest source of voluntary income, at over 35 per cent. The charity forecasts unprecedented levels of income from this source alone in 2000. Donor recruitment continues at a high level, with a positive return on investment.
In the years between 1994 and 2000, direct donor marketing has increased its contribution to overall net income for the charity by 169 per cent. New regular giving products have been directly responsible for a 650 per cent growth in committed income during the same period, while reducing attrition from 60 per cent to less than 10 per cent per year.