FUNDRAISING NEWS: Action Research thanks donors

Annie Kelly

Medical charity Action Research's fundraising department is launching a campaign to thank supporters without asking for any donations.

The campaign, part of a new strategy to retain regular givers, targets existing donors as well as new supporters, who have been recruited through face-to-face fundraising and payroll giving.

Marketing agency Catalyst designed the mailing to resemble a personal greeting card. It shows a family group alongside a message of thanks from the staff at Action Research.

The charity hopes the personal thank-you mailing will encourage more people to give when it launches a fundraising campaign using the same creative in the autumn.

Fleur Greenwood, head of individual giving at Action Research, said the campaign was conceived as part of a wider drive to be more accountable to donors.

"There is a tendency for charities to only communicate with their donors when they're asking for money, and we wanted to move towards a more personalised approach," she said. "As part of a review of our donor retention strategy we wanted to let supporters know how much we valued their contributions and show them where their money is going."

Greenwood said charity marketing should look towards the commercial world for examples of how to retain supporter loyalty.

"Although charity direct marketing should retain its essential hallmarks, there is a lot we can learn from the commercial sector," she said. "We need to ensure supporters don't think we're just getting as much out of them as possible, which can happen if they are hit with repeated requests for cash."

John Barraclough, campaign manager at Catalyst said that a thank-you mailing is often a highly effective way of increasing donors support of charities.

"It's very rare that a charity will run a campaign without an immediate cash return, but the goodwill this mailing will generate could have a huge impact on the loyalty donors feel towards Action Research," he said.

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