Bas, a new fundraiser at a Dutch charity decided he needed to get out and meet some donors.
He looked at those donors who had given by direct mail, since that was most of them. The third donor he spoke to (of a dozen he tried to call) agreed to meet him. Indeed, she sounded excited. Her name was Jeanette.
Every Christmas for four years Jeanette gave €250, and for the big fistula appeal last June, a year ago, she gave €1,000.
She also gave €500 last February, but this time to a young girls’ education appeal. All were in response to letters she’d received from Bas’s charity, like the one below, which was their upcoming appeal.
Bas had been to a few conferences, and knew he needed a case for support. But that seemed like it would take a lot of time to develop from scratch.
Now that Jeanette had agreed to meet, Bas had a look in more detail at her giving history. She seemed to respond really well to issues about children and young people.
And the next direct mail appeal was all about fistula – something she had given very generously to in the past.
He decided the easiest thing to do would be to take the personalised direct mail she would be getting in the post and deliver it by hand. The brilliant communications team in the charity had researched the topic really well.
They had lots of photos for the direct mail campaign (many more than were used) and videos too. They were running the videos in posts on social media and on their website.
He printed the photos out on good photo paper – like one of those envelopes of photos we used to get before photography went digital. He also got the videos transferred to his Samsung tablet.
He had a good, long chat with the communications people, who had met the people featured in the appeal. Now he had a great – albeit second hand – story of the project from someone who’d been there.
He would love to have taken one of those ‘witnesses’ with him, but he knew he would be visiting lots of donors, and dragging a communications or programs person to every one would not make financial sense. He had to make this work on his own.
Now he had a great case study – basically the next direct mail appeal – and some extra material. All at hardly any cost of money or time.
Jeanette loved it. She loved the time he gave her, the videos and the photos. He made her feel special. And she really cared about the young people he talked to her about. She used to be a nurse, and knew all about fistula – a horrible but easily cured condition, which without treatment causes lots of problems for victims.