With a newsletter encouraging online donations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Rosemere achieved a staggering £21.36 return on every £1 they spent. Here’s how they managed to raise so much for critical medical work at this uncertain time...
Many charities have felt the full force of COVID-19’s disruption. The Rosemere Cancer Foundation, who support world-class research and treatment in Lancashire and South Cumbria, were no different. For years, they relied on community events and mailed donations, but since the overwhelming majority of their donors are elderly and shielding, both of these strategies were no longer safe.
Dan Hill, the foundation’s Chief Officer, was already planning a shift to online contributions. Yet the virus outbreak forced him to accelerate this change or risk losing the funding that patients rely on. We’d been brought on to handle Rosemere’s printed newsletter [LINK > Direct Mail] as subscribers grew beyond a number they could manage in-house. Now, though, we had a bigger task: ensuring the charity could survive and thrive by putting the right message out there.
This special newsletter had to be emotive. We therefore kept the design minimal, so that the words could speak for themselves. Our strong relationship with Dan and his team – as well as our affinity with their cause – meant that we were trusted to express such a personal message in the right way. By May, we had completed a few first drafts. By June, we were ready to print and take care of all the distribution too.
Overseeing the mailing ourselves meant that cost could be trimmed back wherever possible – a huge priority for Rosemere. By keeping the price down on consultation, design and delivery, we helped them make the most of existing funds. Once the digital platform was in place, we could send the bulletin out to almost 4,500 people in the region at a price they were very happy with.
Our bulletin broke all expectations. In just six weeks, 10% of newsletter recipients made £28,000 in donations to the online portal. Prior averages had been around 3%, meaning that we’d more than tripled their regular donations target.
Dan and his team could confidently say that their print investment paid off. As their costs have to be approved from above for any mail campaign, it is hoped that they may be freer with the budget for future newsletters, keeping interest alive for long-term donors.
It also paves the way for additional communications, capable of building those one-to-one relationships that are so key to sustained support. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with Rosemere for many years to come.
“Our relationship with Empine has grown from strength to strength over the past 3 years. Their professionalism, customer service and attention to detail are fantastic and without their support, our new approach to engaging our supporters and stimulating donations at this challenging time wouldn't have been possible. We look forward to continuing this development of our supporter communications in partnership with Empine and growing our income to underpin the essential projects and services we fund for local cancer patients ”
Daniel Hill - Chief Officer for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation