Client: Unicef, United Nations Children’s Fund

Agency: Pell & Bales



Agency: In-house


Client: Help the Aged

Agency: In-house

Unicef develops donor system with emergency measures

Disasters need a speedy response. Unicef, the world’s largest

development agency for children, considered that the 60 hours’ minimum

response time to a traditional mailing was too long.

Pressure to get the mailing out quickly also meant there was no

opportunity to segment the funding requests.

To overcome this problem, it pre-selected and got phone numbers for

donors who had given a minimum of pounds 250 in either 1994 or 1995.

Highest value donors were chosen to maximise cost-effectiveness of calls

and re-emphasise their importance to Unicef.

When Srebrenica fell, the charity launched an emergency appeal. A script

was constructed using basic information provided by fax from its Bosnia


A team of eight callers was briefed and standard fulfilment literature

amended with an ‘emergency’ stamp so that subsequent response could be


Within 24 hours of the emergency being called, the highest value donors

were being phoned for a gift of pounds 250 by gift aid, and given

information on the current situation.

Out of 800 donors, 502 contacts were made over three evenings, with an

overall pledge rate of 70.19%.

It received pounds 41,490 (130% of pledge value), an overall response

rate of 63.15%, with the cost of the telemarketing campaign set at

pounds 3220, resulting in a 13:1 return on investment.

ActionAid reverses income decline with sponsored talk

ActionAid, a leading UK Third World development charity, relies heavily

on two campaigns: a classic ‘Sponsor get Sponsor’ and ActionAid Week.

By 1994 it noticed, however, that its income from the Week was dropping

and it was fast running out of potential sponsors.

Supporters, in addition, were withdrawing their support for both

campaigns, whose cost to income ratio was growing.

It decided to reappraise its approach to phone fundraising, resting

thousand of sponsor prospects and becoming more selective about contacts

for ActionAid Week.

The spare capacity at its calling centre allowed it to broaden the use

of the phone to previously untested areas and to handle calls from its

latest venture, DRTV.

The benefits were swift to manifest. Initial calling results for

ActionAid Week (60,000 contacts to end of March) suggests that the

decline in income has bottomed and will grow.

The charity can now make better tactical use of the phone, while new

campaigns have taken off, the telephone element producing pounds 1.6m in

1995 - set to rise to pounds 2.18m in 1996.

As for DRTV, it generated 1384 new sponsors and has opened new

opportunities for its trading operation.

Help the Aged’s gifted tactic

Help the Aged, which works to improve the quality of life of elderly

people at home and abroad, has to achieve a delicate balancing act:

encourage donors to give more frequently without alienating them, while

keeping costs down.

New donors are recruited using three main themes, heating and eating,

homelessness and ophthalmic, using a variety of media, cold lists, door

drops, inserts and broadcast media. Help the Aged wanted to increase the

number of new recruits giving a regular gift, 1.3% of those mailed. In

November 1994, it launched a telemarketing test to find out more about


It rang donors who had given an initial gift of pounds 24-plus, which

produced a result five times better than mail. Some 81%, meanwhile, of

new donors covenanted their gift when phoned. Placing an opt-out in

acknowledgment packs also reduced the time before the charity could make

a follow-up call.

So far this year, mailings have reached 41,438, achieving a 1.24%

response and 516 new regular givers. In comparison, it has made 8961

calls, producing a 9.34% response and 837 new regular givers. The

results speak for themselves.


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