Client: Unicef, United Nations Children’s Fund
Agency: Pell & Bales
Client: Help the Aged
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.