Seeing an acquisition campaign from the point of building a warm list – through their conversion to donors – is admirably outlined by a case study from Amnesty Spain.
In the spring of 2003, two Nigerian women in the north of that country were to be executed under the muslim law of ‘sharia’. There was a global outrage at the thought of two women – who had children out of wedlock – would be put to death while the men involved in the relationships would not be punished.
In response to the human rights situation, Amnesty Spain created a campaign web page that asked Spanish citizens to leave their email as their signature to an online petition protesting the possibility these two women could be put to death for a situation the men, who were equally responsible for, would go scott free.
The Spanish citizenry responded incredibly and in a matter of weeks, over 240,000 emails were collected. After 20,000 emails were rejected, 220,000 emails were sent out.
The results were better than anything that Amnesty Spain could have expected. This email solicitation – seeking to convert petition signers – yielded 1,022 monthly (.46% response) committed donors giving 13 Euros a month (approximately 14 dollars a month) for a yearly total of approximately $159,000. There were also 688 (.31% response) single gift donors who gave an average of 50 Euros (approximately 55 dollars) each for a total of $37,840. With a total of approximately $10,000, the ROI was very impressive for an acquisition campaign.
An important test was conducting during this acquisition/conversion campaign. Half of the warm list was sent a text only appeal while the other half received an HTML version that added a picture of one of two Nigerian woman holding her child. The Amnesty logo was also a stylized graphic (please see a sample below). The HTML version received a 50% higher response rate and was clearly the winning solicitation.
Two months after the first acquisition solicitation, Amnesty Spain ran the petition campaign again. They gathered another 200,000 emails and subsequently emailed another conversion email to the 180,000 emails that made it through the purging.
This time out, an HTML only version was sent out (since it had outperformed the text only version by 50%). The results were even better than the first appeal:
- 1,478 monthly committed donors giving 14 Euros a month for a yearly total of approximately $250,000
- 977 single gift donors giving 44 Euros for a total of approximately $45,000
Not every organization can expect these kinds of acquisition results, but it does show when there is a high profile event connected to an organization’s core mission, online acquisition techniques like contests, quizzes, and petitions can gather incredibly larger warm lists – which then can be subsequently converted to online donors. Every organization should take inspiration from this example and try to duplicate its ROI success – perhaps with the same kind of 20:1 return
Amnesty Spain’s challenge is now to show annual fund discipline in creating a plan to not only execute more acquisition campaigns in the future, but to renew the monthly and single gift donors they’ve found in these acquisition successes.
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