« Search More Projects

Launch of “Kids in the Hospital this Holiday” campaign
“Kids in the Hospital this Holiday” eCard
“Last chance” to help families in hospital at year-end
End-of-Year Fundraising Booster Shot: Children’s Hospital Foundation
Improve Email Marketing, Raise More Money, Best Practice Implementation, Campaign Execution, Email Design, Strategy Consulting

Contact Us

The Client
The Children's Hospital Foundation (CHF) is a 501(c)3 organization that serves as the fundraising arm for Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The foundation partners with individual donors, corporations, and community organizations to help the doctors, nurses, and clinicians at Children's National fulfill their vision to transform children's health in the Washington area, across the country, and around the world.

The Problem
When Margaret Cohen joined CHF in late 2008, as the organization’s Sr. Specialist, Interactive Communications, she faced numerous challenges. First, CHF did not have a full-time resource dedicated to creating and maintaining an online communications program. Second, CHF’s email list was very old and hadn’t been used in several years. Third, the organization’s website, including its donation page, was rudimentary. “I had almost nothing to start from,” said Ms. Cohen. “I had to come up to speed quickly so we could begin to improve our online efforts. A few months into my role, I launched a holiday appeal by sending several emails to our list. We raised only $1,245 through specific donation web pages which I set up. I knew there was an opportunity to raise a lot more.”

A year later, with the holiday season around the corner, it became clear that CHF lacked the time and resources required to structure a more sophisticated online fundraising campaign from scratch. “Through the course of the year, we had cleaned up our stale housefile and optimized online donation forms,” explained Ms. Cohen. “We were eager to embark on a year-end fundraising campaign, but our internal resources were tied up with other projects.” CHF needed guidance, expertise, and assistance so they could tap into the generosity of donors and potential donors in the final months of the year. When Ms. Cohen heard about Convio’s End-of-Year Fundraising Booster Shot service, she thought that it seemed like “the most expeditious, affordable, and painless way to take advantage of end-of-year giving opportunities.”

How We Solved It
Guided by a senior consultant with considerable experience running online campaigns, the organization met their goal of launching a best-practice email campaign at year-end. Using the structure of the Fundraising Booster Shot service, CHF selected a campaign theme, provided text and photos that achieved the tone they wanted, and let Convio’s interactive team produce all the website and email campaign collateral. The team also handled the segmentation piece of the campaign to maximize open rates, click-through rates and overall fundraising results. Throughout the process, CHF participated in regularly-scheduled check-in calls, which were led by their Convio consultant and also attended by like organizations. “The Booster Shot service was a great way for me to get my head around all aspects of end-of-year fundraising – from strategy and messaging to segmentation and analysis,” explained Ms. Cohen. “It was the perfect option for us, given our limited resources.”

The Outcome
Over the course of the three-part email campaign - which consisted of a kick-off message, an eCard, and a last-chance appeal - CHF sent more than 41,000 messages. The combined emails had a unique open rate of 15 percent, leading to more than $45,000 in online donations. According to Ms. Cohen, “The program helped me realize that the value of a series of emails is greater than the sum of its parts, and that the most effective way to motivate donors was through the use of consistent, compelling stories.”

“Now I know our donors better and understand that they want us to communicate with them through a number of channels,” stated Ms. Cohen. “We are now planning more integrated campaigns, complementing our direct mail with online components in the years to come.”

Convio products used: Email Marketing, Fundraising