Case Study: hjc and San Diego Humane Society

Case Study: hjc and San Diego Humane Society

hjc started working with the San Diego Humane Society in July 2012. We immediately saw that they already had a best practice year end campaign in place. 

They were utilizing:

  • A home page hijack
  • Compelling storytelling and video content highlighting the work of San Diego Humane Society
  • Email series
  • Stewardship emails to break up the asks
  • Ads on their website for the year end campaign
  • Focus on December 30th and December 31st giving

The Challenge

Finding new and additional ways to reinforce this campaign and build on their existing success.

Recommendation 1: Introduce symbolic giving. This would help us find a new donor audience as well as engage existing donors who wanted to give a gift in lieu of a holiday gift. San Diego Humane Society launched Wags & Wishes.

Results: Wags & Wishes was a success and reached its goal. 35% of donors were new online donors. Most interestingly, we found that while there was a 50:50 split in donors choosing the pre-set gift amount or entering their own amount, the average gift for the donor entered amount was double the pre-set value average. Giving donors the choice really paid off.

Recommendation 2: Email resends. In the busy holiday season, we know people do miss emails they may have wanted to read, so we thought that resending to non-openers might be a good technique to test.

Results: While the open rate and click through rate of these emails was expectedly lower than the original send, San Diego Humane Society generated additional revenue from these resends, with very low unsubscribe rates.

Recommendation 3: Online advertising. Knowing that the San Diego Humane Society had secured television PSA slots and were frequently in the media, we felt it was important to reinforce the online campaign with online advertising. We tested a small spend using Google AdWords and Facebook.

Results: We saw a 420% ROI on our Google advertising campaign. San Diego Humane society keywords were the most profitable.

Overall campaign results

1)      23% growth in EOY giving 2012 over 2011, facilitated by growth in the number of donors and the average gift

2)      Stellar email performance, with open rates, click through rates, response rates and unsubscribe rates beating out most benchmarks

3)      Over 740 new online donors recruited

What they did right

1)      Started planning many months in advance!

2)      Told their story and showed their mission through video. Who can resist watching a puppy or kitten video?

3)      Sent thank you messages and stewardship to donors as well as appeals. It’s not all about the ask, even during the holiday season.

4)      Optimized their website so people could easily find how to give online. You could not have missed the donate online links.

5)      Secured a matching gift to further incentivise online giving. Taking direct mail best practice online is great way to energize your online fundraising campaigns.


posted on Jan 31

Leave a Reply