WORKSHOP: Case Study - EuroPacemakers follows the net route

ANNIE KELLY

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Background: The British Heart Foundation has been supported for several years by a group of professionals called EuroPacemakers. The group gets together to run sponsored events once a year, usually cycle rides through France. The riders raise money through business contacts, friends and family.

Aims This year: EuroPacemakers aimed to cycle 2,000 miles to Italy and raise around £1 million for the British Heart Foundation. It wanted to boost awareness of the event and encourage higher levels of sponsorship.

The group believed that the most effective way to communicate this would be through a strong visual message. A campaign was planned to show footage of the ride itself to demonstrate to potential supporters that the group was prepared to undertake a strenuous challenge on behalf of the charity.

The group also wanted to expand its support base by asking existing donors to pass the appeal on to contacts.

How it worked Since many of the potential supporters were busy professionals, EuroPacemakers needed to design a campaign that would be immediately accessible and would reach people at their place of work. It was also vital to maximise on the immediate impact of the campaign, and enable people to donate directly.

Frontwire, a video streaming company, designed an email campaign that was sent out to more than 2,500 people asking for sponsorship on both a corporate and individual basis.

The email contained a video, which showed clips from the previous year's bike ride, and recipients were encouraged to view the footage, visit the web site(www. europacemakers.co.uk) and then donate online or download donation forms.

EuroPacemakers also enhanced its web site to include additional information and provide links to different relevant sites including the British Heart Foundation. Information about Gift Aid donations was also provided.

The email included a voice-over explaining the purpose of the challenge and detailing some of the conditions that cyclists had to endure throughout the trip. "Our aim was to show what people were giving their money to,

said Stephen Pratley, account director at Frontwire. "We wanted to take a slightly different angle and decided to concentrate on the commitment of the people embarking on this trip. Most of the recipients were business contacts who would know that these are not professional athletes, and we hoped that this would help boost donations."

Frontwire also tailored each email to reflect the different history of association that the contact had with the charity.

Results: So far the campaign has raised around £22,000 for the British Heart Foundation. More than 40 per cent of recipients chose to view the video, and around 15 per cent of those who watched the film then went on to pledge financial support.

As a reflection of the success of the email video campaign, EuroPacemakers has started to send out updates to supporters, along with videos and photos of the trip. It is also planning to extend its online activity next year, and is considering using email video to drum up more support for the campaign in 2003.

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