On Saturday 29 September 2018, we heard the news that Indonesia had been struck by a huge earthquake followed by a tsunami. Our partner organisation Handicap International operates in this country, so we decided to send out an emergency mailing straight away to ask for help for the afflicted population.
People received the letter at a time when the media was still full of coverage about the disaster. This excellent timing was thanks to our smooth collaboration with Handicap International and their quick feedback, but also to the passionate DSC team (consisting of a copywriter, graphic designer, translator, production manager, partner consultant and account manager) who ensured this campaign was ready in record time.
Handicap International was one of the first organisations to ask Belgians for financial support for this emergency situation. The large majority of its active donors – affected by the emotional images being shown on all TV channels – responded to this request for help. The response rate from this house mailing was twice as high as the average for such a campaign in 2018.
Our conclusion? We need to act quickly in the event of a humanitarian crisis and be resourceful in sending out the mailing as fast as lightning. Every day that passes after the disaster can have a negative impact on results. The more recent the disaster, the more empathy donors feel, and the more likely they are to make a donation.
The content of the letter is relatively unimportant; it’s mainly about the disaster and what donors can do to help the victims. It’s essential to be one of the first to communicate about a humanitarian crisis. It doesn’t make any sense to wait for photos of the affected areas or further information. The more prominent the disaster in the media, the greater the chance of a successful direct mail campaign.