WORKSHOP: CASE STUDY - Poppy Appeal's email drive blossoms

ANNIE KELLY

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Background: The Royal British Legion is best known for its work around Remembrance Day and for providing assistance to ex-servicemen who fought in world wars.

Although the charity does run smaller campaigns throughout the year, it wanted to mark the 20th anniversary of the Falklands War with a targeted fundraising and awareness drive.

Aims: Through the new campaign, the Legion aimed to attract new supporters and move away from the idea that the charity only looks after older veterans.

"It's important that we establish ourselves as a body that helps all ex-servicemen and veterans, no matter what war they fought in,

said Andrew Jones, head of direct marketing at the Legion. "With the current situation in places such as Afghanistan, there may be more soldiers in need of our help in years to come."

The charity wanted to run a campaign that would broaden its reach and use digital media to emphasise that it has an important and relevant role to play in the modern world. It particularly wanted to explore different ways of reaching a younger audience to recruit new members.

By running an email campaign, it hoped to boost its online database and increase the number of people opting to receive its "Poppy Press

electronic fundraising newsletter. The Legion also hoped to raise awareness of its appeal web site, www.poppy.org.uk, which was designed to complement its main web site, www.britishlegion-.org.uk, and highlight the need for donations to support its welfare and benevolent activities.

How it worked: The digital agency Thirsty Fish was appointed to redesign www.poppy.org.uk to reflect a Falklands War theme. The Falklands site included information about what happened during the war and case studies of soldiers still affected by their service and who continue to need the Legion's help.

The charity's 2,000-strong online database was sent a targeted email campaign that asked for a donation and encouraged the recipient to forward the message on to friends and family.

The email contained a version of the Falklands story and a link that took people through to the web site and donations' page. An option for people to receive future updates about the Legion's work was also included in the email to encourage people to click through to the main site and learn more about its upcoming projects and initiatives.

The charity also promoted the campaign on the internet search engine Google, so that people searching on key words such as "Falklands

would see an ad for the site. A traditional direct marketing campaign was also run alongside the email drive.

Results: More than 13 per cent of people who received the email visited the poppy.org.uk web site, and traffic through to the main Legion site increased by around 22 per cent.

The Falklands site raised around £13,000 through online donations, with single donations rising as high as £400. "The 2002 Poppy Appeal reached a record total of £21.4million and we are confident that future fundraising through poppy.org.uk will play an increasingly important part in furthering that sum in years to come,

said Jones.

Following its success, the charity has decided to run a further email campaign to complement its main fundraising drive around Remembrance Day in November.

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