August 17, 2023 Christa Huff

A long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with our clients is a value of Douglas Shaw & Associates. One of the most exciting aspects of serving Scott Mission, an organization in the Greater Toronto Area we have partnered with for over 12 years, is working together to strategize the best ways to communicate with their various donor audiences.

Scott Mission is a Christian ministry of mercy and love that aims to meet the needs of people in the community with compassion and seeks to bring spiritual, physical, and emotional wholeness to lives. Their work is funded by tens of thousands of people who give generously to impact the lives of others in their community.

One piece of Scott Mission’s comprehensive fundraising strategy is to invite mid-level and higher donors to make a gift over and above their regular support to fund larger priority projects. Last fall, Scott Mission shared plans for an exciting expansion into a new facility, allowing them to reach more neighbors in need. Together, we identified this as an incredible giving opportunity to engage donors in a capital needs campaign, and we created a comprehensive communication strategy to best engage their mid and major donors.

Replacing a previously successful direct mail package, this new omnichannel campaign included a new print package, correlating custom, individualized digital pieces, and telephone components to capture the interest of these high-level donors.

The campaign messaging consisted of a leadership challenge to these donors, which became the source of an inspirational match for others. The revenue from this mid and major donor appeal was then used for a subsequent appeal as a match lead to inspire giving from general donors.

The results were amazing. We saw a 133% increase in response rate, and the average gift went up a thousand dollars higher than it had previously been.

The stellar results were not just from the custom design approach, special digital components, relationship manager participation, or scripted phone calls. The results skyrocketed because the teams at Scott Mission and Douglas Shaw & Associates share a trusting, mutually beneficial partnership that keeps the focus on inspiring donors to give generously to achieve great outcomes in their community.

A lot of work went into the planning and execution of this project. The multiple conversations required active listening, embracing shared goals, and thinking creatively. The combined teamwork made edits and revisions smooth, but above all, it resulted in strengthened donor response and increased revenue. This project was truly a collaborative success.

Key takeaways:

1. The partnership included all the key players at Scott Mission, including philanthropy and the relationship managers, marketing, communications, and data.

2. The collaborative consulting started from day one with:

  • listening to Scott Mission’s updated context and goals
  • developing custom copy and imagery designed for an omnichannel campaign
  • adapting the direct response components for use in one-to-one communication by the relationship managers and phone callers
  • coordinating the planning, scheduling, and execution to meet deadlines and keep everyone informed
  • communicating as effectively as possible with key stakeholders who are a valuable asset to Scott Mission and who must be stewarded with great respect

One principle we know to be true of direct response fundraising is that it enhances giving from all donors, including those assigned to the caseload of a major gift officer. We also know that it fuels the success of a capital campaign by priming higher level donors to respond to capital projects over and above their regular giving.