WORKSHOP: Case Study - Animal group aims to lighten the load

Annie Kelly


Background: Brooke Hospital for Animals works to alleviate the suffering of working horses and donkeys in the developing world, by providing free veterinary services and owner education.

It treats more than one million animals through specialist clinics and mobile veterinary teams in Egypt, India, Jordan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Last year it drew up a new five-year strategy which concentrates on recruiting more supporters committed to making regular donations.

Aims: In the past, Brooke Hospital's donor recruitment had been largely based on supporters responding to events and coverage of the charity's work on TV.

It wanted to create a more reliable revenue stream through a new supporter recruitment programme that would pull in a large number of regular donors supporting the charity's work through monthly direct debits.

How it worked: The campaign was based around Brooke Hospital's projects supporting working donkeys and their owners at brick kilns in India. The charity had identified that supporters were known to be particularly interested in the welfare of donkeys working in harsh conditions.

Advertising agency Whitewater designed a campaign based around the case of a young donkey called Basanthi, who was treated by a Brooke Hospital vet visiting the brick kilns where she and her owner worked.

To connect with the animal-loving target audience and motivate them to respond, the display and mailpack copy consciously gave Basanthi "a voice" by presenting her situation in the first person.

The campaign also included a series of requests for financial support and directly linked the amount the new donor chose to give to a specific aspect of Brooke Hospital's work.

The initial campaign was launched to 85,000 names alongside press ads in a range of publications from the Daily Mail to Country Life. Inserts were also placed in specialist horse and country titles such as Your Horse and Country Living.

Results Overall, the initial campaign recruited 6,643 donors, including almost 500 regular givers. Average cash and regular donations were also ahead of target."This is clearly an encouraging start to our new programme," says Vicky Seale, direct marketing manager at Brooke Hospital.

"With so many charities losing money on their new donor acquisition and needing to balance this cost through future gifts, for us to have achieved better than break-even immediately is a massive boost."

Based on the campaign's success, a second phase of press, mail and insert activity has the aim of adding 12,000 more donors to the database.

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