As responsible corporate citizens, the employees of one regional community bank had always dutifully participated in a yearly fundraising campaign benefiting the United Way. Over the last several years the company’s total employee participation and giving results — although not poor — had stagnated.
Every year, the employees knew when the campaign was coming and they were used to it. Articles on the company blog had been recycled each year for several years. The paper forms were always the same. The fundraising campaign activities were always the same. There was very little excitement anymore.
Copywriter Mike Sweeney, with a journalism background and understanding of persuasive writing principles, decided to test himself and see if his copywriting, direct response and communication skills could help increase this year’s pledges. As the sole internal communications person for the bank, it was really up to him to see if he could increase employee participation. Besides, his manager had just announced that due to work schedule conflicts, there would be none of the usual fundraising campaign activities.
With the challenge laid out in front of him, Mike first analyzed all of the past United Way articles that had ever been written on the company’s internal blog. He also began looking for a way to improve the paper form process people used to send in their pledges.
Besides writing his campaign articles from scratch, Mike also came up with a comprehensive campaign marketing plan including:
- Video interviews with company C-suite executives explaining what United Way does, how the non-profit is managed, and how employee giving benefits their local community
- Weekly email updates to the leadership team showing their division’s participation to foster competition
- “Power Hour” announcements and prize drawings designed to increase pledges during specific times
Next, Mike carefully thought through several online options for giving, knowing how busy people are and that most don’t like to fill out paper forms if it takes more than a few minutes. Partnering with an approved 3rd party vendor, he utilized their design software to come up with a first for the fundraising campaign: an electronic pledge form.
An electronic form eliminated inefficient use of labor associated with gathering, sorting and mailing paper forms, it made reporting more comprehensive, and it gave employees a greater sense of privacy about their pledges.
The form was carefully reworded to boost direct response, yet it was designed to resemble the old paper form so that everyone would feel comfortable with it. The form even contained pre-populated fields such as the donor’s name, email address and office phone number. All that remained was for them to select a method of giving (payroll deduction, credit card or mailed invoice) and amount. The form then automatically displayed relevant details for their chosen pledge method and calculated the year’s total giving based on their monthly amount.
Mike carefully tracked responses each day of the campaign and posted updates in his company blog articles. By keeping campaign goals in the forefront, he helped foster a sense of “we can do this” among employees. As a result, the bank reached its highest participation and giving total in many years. It also earned him notes of thanks from his direct manager and the marketing department staff.