Seattle Humane Society Strengthens Relationships with Donors

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Business Objectives:   The Seattle Humane Society (SHS) is a private, nonprofit animal welfare organization that serves the people and animals of King County, Washington with a variety of programs including adoptions, veterinary services, dog training classes, a pet food bank and humane education for children of all ages.

For large donors, the SHS Development Office makes personal phone calls to learn more about them, such as what

pets they have, if they adopted from SHS and what SHS programs they are interested in.SHS also wanted to learn more about smaller donors but making phone calls to this larger group would not have been feasible.

SHS needed a direct marketing campaign that would reach donors and gather information from them in order to:

    • Develop targeted leads for potential volunteers
    • Build upon their existing opt-in email list
    • Understand what types of services current donors prefer SHS to focus on
    • Understand what type of content current donors would prefer SHS to focus on in out-reach publications
    • Improve connections to donors interested in making additional donations of time or money
    • Develop targeted leads for potential adoptees and collect basic metrics regarding their current and future animal ownership, and preferences for on-going SHS contact via phone, email or print. This knowledge can help SHS connect animals in need with the right people at the right time


The primary objective of this campaign was to gather information on donors. Unexpectedly, a campaign that initially cost the SHS $3,000 received over $4,000 in contributions.

  • 17% response rate to initial campaign – recipients provided information via either a paper or online survey
  • This campaign has been repeated three additional times and each time yielded a 14-20% response rate
  • The response mechanism used has been close to evenly split between an online survey at a Personalized URL and a printed survey.

For a mid-2010 campaign, 53% of the responses came in via reply mail and 47% via the Personalized URL

  • SHS determined that donors outside of a 35-mile radius are extremely unlikely to respond, but the incremental cost of sending to these donors is very low

Read more about how this campaign was structured and why it succeeded.

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Client Seattle Humane Society
Service Provider AlphaGraphics Seattle

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