Six years ago, Amnesty International—an iconic brand with a 40+ year history in the grassroots and direct mail fundraising space—found its program in a state of crisis. For three consecutive fiscal years, the program had experienced sharp declines in virtually every metric—gross revenue had declined 15%, new donor counts were dropping and, most concerning, donor retention was falling even more rapidly, resulting in an active donor file that was just 75% of what it was in 2011.
Not surprisingly, Amnesty decided to make some changes and ABD Direct was honored to be chosen as their new direct mail partner.
Our first step was to do a comprehensive program audit deconstructing all elements of the program—strategic and creative, donor development and acquisition. Initially, we found little to feel good about. Not only were the numbers of donors declining but the value of their donors was also falling. In partnership with the Amnesty team, we established a new series of key performance indicators against which to evaluate the program and identified a number of culprits we believed were responsible for the decline, including:
We understood immediately that there was not just one silver bullet answer to this crisis and set about implementing strategies to address what we saw as the program’s most destructive weaknesses:
INCREASE IN GROSS REVENUE
INCREASE IN RETENTION
INCREASE IN DONOR VALUE
Every December, Amnesty International holds Write For Rights, the world’s largest grassroots human rights campaign. We were, however, surprised to discover the organization had never integrated Write For Rights into its direct mail program.
Beginning in 2015, the direct response team worked closely with program staff responsible for Write For Rights to address this missed opportunity. Deadlines for selecting the prisoners of conscience to be featured were adjusted, fundraising permissions were obtained, and photos and other campaign graphics were coordinated.
The result was a new direct response campaign that not only produced a very successful pillar appeal but helped to dramatically increase participation in this critically important human rights program.