Canadian Diabetes Association: Diabetes Summer Surge Campaign

Exhibited by
SOFII
Added
May 12, 2013
Medium of Communication
Direct mail, online
Target Audience
Individuals, regular gift
Type of Charity
Healthcare
Country of Origin
Canada
Date of first appearance
June, 2009

SOFII’s view

This exhibit is an excellent example of how you can maximise the potential of your existing donors in an impressively short amount of time. It uses friends groups creatively and demonstrates the power of an integrated campaign and how online media can be used with great results.

Stephen Thomas Ltd.

Name of exhibitor

Stephen Thomas Ltd.

Stephen Thomas Ltd (ST) conceived, developed and executed a strategic, branded and integrated campaign to mobilise the friends of the Canadian Diabetes Association around the need to raise funds urgently. And we did it, from scratch, in less than 40 days. We branded it the ‘Diabetes Summer Surge’ and followed a simple philosophy to generate a successful and inspiring outcome:

‘When you're in trouble, you go to your friends.’

The core of the approach was to focus on converting the friends of the Canadian Diabetes Association to become fundraising ambassadors – rather than focusing on new donor acquisition. Friends fell into two distinct categories: direct mail donors and other supporters or members for whom we had email addresses. While the direct mail donors had been part of a regular communications cycle, the second group had not been communicated with on a regular basis.

Background

In April 2009, the Canadian Diabetes Association needed to increase their revenue to avoid a serious financial shortfall by the end of their fiscal year, 31 August 2009. They also wanted to build their ability to raise funds online.

‘Friends’ were mobilised like never before. By using online media we were able to engage, influence, and connect a varied group of people with each other and get them to pass the excitement onto their friends.

Special characteristics

There were two components to the Diabetes Summer Surge campaign - peer-to-peer fundraising and direct mail.

Peer-to-peer fundraising: 90,000 Friends of the Canadian Diabetes Association were asked to hold their own virtual, ‘Diabetes Summer Surge Event’. There were four suggested categories of events: social, challenge, virtual, or celebrations. ST designed a Diabetes Summer Surge identity that was showcased on the microsite (also created and launched by ST) where visitors could find information, sign-up and manage their event online. We launched an email, social media and internal staff campaign to create awareness and drive traffic to the campaign microsite. A strategy for other media also supported the overall initiative.

Direct mail: a ‘health alert’ themed mail package was designed by ST, stressing that we are living through a diabetes epidemic and need to find a cure. A follow-up package was mailed one month later. Emails were sent to those direct mail donors for whom we had email addresses, to generate a lift in response.

Influence / Impact

‘Friends’ were mobilised like never before. By using online media we were able to engage, influence, and connect a varied group of people with each other and get them to pass the excitement onto their friends.

Results

In just three short months, the Diabetes Summer Surge campaign raised more than $620,000. Email open rates, click through rates and website traffic generally exceeded expectations and industry benchmarks. Online events raised more than $800 each and, on average, received 11 donations per event. More than a thousand people joined the fan page on Facebook, inspiring the social media site to write a case study on the success of the Diabetes Summer Surge fan page.

Merits

Diabetes Summer Surge was an innovative project that redefined the term ‘integrated campaign’, producing great results from its imaginative use of online media. The campaign raised over $620,000 in just three months. The entire campaign was conceptualised and executed in only 40 days.

In just three short months, the Diabetes Summer Surge campaign raised more than $620,000. Email open rates, click through rates and website traffic generally exceeded expectations and industry benchmarks.

This campaign was renewed and launched again in 2010 by CDA.

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If something needs doing, turn to your friends. Among its most prized assets Canadian Diabetes has upward of 90,000 friends who responded very positively when asked to help, given good reasons for doing so and a choice of media through which to engage. Above is the home page.
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Canadian Diabetes email message.
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Canadian Diabetes facebook fan page.