Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What to do following Haiti?

In the days following the tragic circumstances in Haiti, many fundraisers posed the question, what should non-emergency charities do?

Should they continue to appeal to donors? Should they keep prospecting? Should they delay things till 'the dust settles'?

My colleague Ruthann and I discussed this. For about 12.8 seconds. And then realised, as I blogged about back them, that it was business as usual. Full steam ahead.

Ironically for us we were due to lodge an appeal for a client just two days after the Haiti earthquake. So when we got to work on the morning after and realized the enormity of the Haiti disaster, we braced ourselves for the obvious question that our client could reasonably ask...

Should we delay the appeal?

The brief chat with the client was just that, brief. They trusted our judgement and agreed wholeheartedly. The appeal was urgent. It needed to go out. We needed to raise the money.

And it did, it went out on time.

So what happened?

A little over 3 months since the first (of two) stages of the mailing was dropped and the appeal is rocking along nicely. Net income (that's taking into account all costs) is up around 25% on last year, and rising daily. Average gifts and response rates are both up from 2009.


Because the appeal did what it needed to do. Strong call to action, told a compelling story, used personal information, asked appropriately.

It really was, and still is, business as usual for non-disaster charities.


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