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How to engage charity donors with direct marketing prize draws

How to engage charity donors with direct marketing prize draws

By Steven Dodds, Senior Planner at DMS.

At present, prize draw initiatives are a massively underused tool for charities. Although interestingly, 49% of those who give to charity have once entered a charity raffle, the lottery or a prize draw and a further 54% are more likely to donate more to charity if a prize is on offer (CCB Fastmap).

And with an additional 2.8 million people in the UK already donating to charities via this means, there is certainly a market for charities to use this tool.

It is surprising that prize draws are so underused by marketers despite being proven to be more popular for donors than direct debit or cash. So for those choosing to invest in prize draw activity, what are the key considerations to take into account?

Charities must first think about the attractions that need to be included in the prize pack to ensure consumer engagement – playability, visual appeal, the choice of prize and authenticity.

Very few are likely to enter a draw that will be time consuming, mentally taxing and complicated to submit. Consumers will also not consider donating or enter any draw if they do not trust the appeal.

Therefore the creative must include evidence of people who have previously won a prize, which is often easiest to achieve through the use of photographs and consumer testimonials.

Additionally, they must ensure that a balanced message is achieved between the free aspect of entering and the expectation of a donation. Finally, testing is a crucial part of the process and without doing so, the results could considerably suffer.

It is also important to ensure a balanced message within prize draw communications. By failing to fully encapsulate a charity’s aims in all activity, the communication is unlikely to elicit extensive support and additional donations the brand expects.

However, for charities like Cats Protection which took a brand literate approach to its prize draw, the results can be impressive. The cat charity in fact saw a 23% uplift following its activity.

To avoid disappointment for a prize draw campaign, testing is crucial. The majority of charities will boast impressive data pools, which can be utilised by direct marketing agencies before a campaign officially goes live.

Through creating a variety of test campaigns which are initially distributed to certain aspects of the pool, a model can be created which determines which prizes will work best for which audience in terms of creative, tone and visuals.

By taking the time to carry out testing, charities are far better placed to generate a prize draw campaign that is specifically targeted, engaging and encompasses the charity in question.

Additionally, this approach ensures charities are not overspending on unnecessary prize values. Testing has in fact shown that a prize of a lower value will achieve as much interest as that which is higher. For example a £6k and £15k prize will ensure equally high donations.

For many charities, prize draws can be a daunting idea, particularly because their role is to raise funds not spend them. However if executed correctly, competitions need not cost, as they can engage both new and existing donors to contribute considerably more money than was spent on the prize in the first place.

The main challenge for direct marketing agencies is achieving success in engaging consumers to both participate in a prize draw and donate money to the charity behind the initiative.

All too often customers will only be interested in how a campaign benefits them and as such will merely lose interest following the completion of their entry form.

Therefore, in order to translate these consumers into donors, it is essential that a balanced message, drawing attention to both the charity and competition is incorporated into any campaign of this kind.

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