TrueSense Marketing  ●  5/15/2019

Case Study: New Creative Leverages Good Storytelling and Your Brand

Powerful, persuasive creative — the face of who you are — focuses on using your mission and brand to engage the heroic hearts that will help you reach your goals. Formulaic creative, which uses tactics that wobble along a disingenuous line in order to force your donors to feel a certain way, are rarely grounded in strategy and almost never work.

Successful fundraising creative focuses on your donor.

We believe The Salvation Army empowers the donor to Do the Most Good — unlike many charities which speak to the idea of donors empowering the organization. This donor-focused positioning is one of our core creative principles and is critical to building relationships with your supporters


Don't be shy about reminding donors and friends that The Salvation Army has a Christian mission that impacts the world. That is because we know from the research we conducted on Salvation Army donors that 30% identified “sharing God’s love” as your most important service priority.


Bringing Your Stories to Your Donors

The secret to reaching your donors through their hearts is storytelling. And in all cases, great storytelling requires great resources. Our expert storytelling team scours our clients' resources to uncover the compelling stories, video, and photos best positioned to inspire giving.

We also regularly go out into the field — to food pantries and Corps Community Centers — to speak directly to the people whose lives have been changed. We engage with them on one-to-one levels, getting the powerful stories and first-person testimonies that resonate and motivate. Then we bring these stories to donors in our campaigns, in a variety of ways.


Putting It All Together: A Case Study

We asked ourselves the question: Can we more successfully integrate the power of The Salvation Army’s brand into a longstanding, proven Thanksgiving donor appeal? We came up with a concept that is essentially a “best in breed” approach to test against the control.

The test package we developed is an Annual Thanksgiving Appeal, which has an envelope headline that immediately sets a tone of donor affirmation and positivity, not fear or guilt. Our goal? Motivate donors to give and feel good about their impact. The Salvation Army’s branding guidelines were applied to enhance specific fundraising leverage points: offer specificity; urgency; emotionally resonant storytelling; and visual and messaging brand integration.

When tested, it was mailed to 97,850 donors across eight Divisions.

TSA creative package



The Results?

Results for $10-99.99 (0-12 months) donors; and $25-99.99 (13-24 months) donors:

  • 6.9% response rate
  • $37.21 average gift
  • 4.4 ROI
  • $28.84 net revenue per donor

Results for $100+ donors, 0-24 months:

  • 5.4% response rate
  • $154.19 average gift
  • 14.4 ROI
  • $142.31 net revenue per donor

This package was so successful, it is now one of our controls.


To learn more about how we can help your fundraising grow, Talk to TrueSense.


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