Legacy recently won the 2010 national FIA Award for Excellence in the budget renewal (division B) category for its 2009 ANZAC Day appeal. Corene Strauss reports that data mining, collaboration and a general combined to march Legacy into exciting new territory and a record result.

Legacy recently won the 2010 national FIA Award for Excellence in the budget renewal (division B) category for its 2009 ANZAC Day appeal. Corene Strauss reports that data mining, collaboration and a general combined to march Legacy into exciting new territory and a record result.
Campaign objectives

A key objective of Legacy’s 2009 ANZAC Day appeal was to increase awareness and support for the contemporary nature and need for Legacy’s services. Specifically the organisation aimed to increase the response by 15% from the previous year’s appeal, and it hoped to piggy back off the ‘Raise a Glass” promotion by beer brand VB which raised over $1 million to be split evenly between Legacy and the RSL.

Tactical shifts a portent to better results

The Legacy 2009 ANZAC Day appeal witnessed some important departures from the usual way the organisation had approached direct mail campaigns in the past.

Traditionally, all Legacy direct mail appeal letters were signed by the president. For this Anzac Day appeal a high profile, trusted and respected signatory was recruited – General Peter Cosgrove. As a former chief of defence force and current legatee he had an excellent connection to the cause, and his contemporary image matched the brand positioning. He was also the spokesperson for the VB Raise a Glass appeal.

This appeal marked the first time an external consultant was engaged (Vic Zacharias of Focus Fundraising). This provided fresh insights in strategy and creative collateral, and sourcing and selecting data.

Another big difference was the collaboration of different Legacy branches. Although initiated by Sydney Legacy, this campaign encouraged other Legacy clubs to participate for maximum exposure, consistency and economies of scale. The Melbourne and Brisbane clubs came on board, and this had the added benefit of sharing new insights and knowledge amongst Legacy colleagues.

Lastly, the appeal involved a follow-up campaign for the first time. This was mailed about six weeks after the initial campaign and achieved a terrific response.

In-depth data mining hits the target

Mining and segmenting data was far more comprehensive for this campaign than ever before. All options were explored, including mailing to lapsed donors of more than five years, which resulted in a surprisingly positive ROI.

A new segmentation model based on previous donation behaviour helped target the approach better. Variable data was also used in several paragraphs of the letter, as well as adding a personalised hand written note next to General Cosgrove’s signature. This note, which was also customised by segment, aimed to reinforce the ‘ask’ and make it more tangible.

There was an acquisition component to the appeal, and recipients for this segment were sourced from lists which matched existing donors as closely as possible in terms of geography, physical address, age, nationality, net wealth etc. Additionally, we created personal letters for names sourced by the Legacy family as potential prospects for donation. Third party donors were also mailed seeking their ongoing support.

Short and sweet – creatively speaking

The appeal letter was short and sweet, a two pager with an integrated coupon on the first page. A signed postcard with a picture of the family featured in the letter was also included as a lift device. Although the lift piece was the subject of much internal debate, it was trialled based on complaints from existing donors over lengthy appeal letters and the associated expense.

The ‘ask’ encouraged the reader to remember families left behind by those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for protecting our freedom, and reminded them that members of the Australian Defence Force are still being killed in action today. The levels of ask related directly to a variable donation grid calculation based on the largest amount previously given.

The letter featured a compelling case study of a young family in which the father had died. The widowed mother of three was left in financial difficulty, compounded by one child being diagnosed with ADHD and an oppositional defiant disorder, while another had cerebral palsy. The letter explained the range of ways Legacy successfully assisted the family, both financially and emotionally.

Challenges and lessons learnt

The most significant challenge was working collaboratively with other Legacy clubs for the first time. Gaining buy-in and consensus with colleagues was not always easy, and appeasing committees and traditions within individual clubs was tricky within the deadlines.

It was also difficult to reach all donors across the country because there is no central donor database for the estimated 25,000 active donors giving to different clubs.

We discovered:

Working collaboratively was constructive and mutually beneficial for all involved. Using an external consultant as “expert advisor” helped take the heat out of any potential conflict and contributed to professional development. Being open to ideas is important. The follow up campaign was not on the radar or comfortably accepted by management until the results came back. Data mining and segmentation is king. Creative is queen. A compelling story is ace! Working towards a national approach to direct mail fundraising would be beneficial.

Results – ANZAC Day Appeal

Sydney Legacy20092008
Donors mailed (unique)6,7665,077
No. of Responses2,142715
Response rate31.70%14.10%
Total income$177,528$77,782
Average Donation$83$109
Total Cost$11,585$6,077
Net Profit$165,943$71,705

Note 1: Donors mailed (unique) is actually number of unique donors contacted via mail. The total number of mail packs sent was 11,400 including the follow-up. There was no follow-up in 2008.

Note 2: Only campaign direct mailing costs have been included above, i.e. design, printing, mailing house and postage. External agency costs are not included and Legacy staff costs would not have exceed $10,000 for both years.

Note 3: Only Sydney Legacy results are shown as space restrictions do not allow for results from Melbourne and Brisbane.

About Legacy

Legacy is a voluntary organisation dedicated to caring for the dependents of deceased veterans. The organisation was born out of the spirit of a digger promising his dying mate he would look after “the missus and the kids”. Support and services now includes the dependants of members of today’s Australian Defence Force who lose their lives as a result of military service. Legacy’s service is available to some 115,000 widows and 1,900 children and dependants with a disability.