Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA) is a lifesaving charity that provides emergency helicopter medical services to the people of Wiltshire and surrounding areas 365 days a year. The charity receives no regular direct government funding so relies solely on the generosity of the people and businesses in the local area to keep the service running.
Core to their fundraising is the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Raffle which takes place twice a year at Christmas and in the Summer. Mail to the charity’s inhouse raffle database is used as the primary channel to drive raffle entries, supported by digital and email. Over the past 4 years the charity has cleansed and refined their data, mailing only those most likely to respond, leading to improved efficiency and ROI. However, the pool of potential responders was shrinking, and thus, a new acquisition strategy was required.
In 2020 and 2021, Wiltshire Air Ambulance tested two large-scale door drops within the Bath area, where existing data was extremely low. This was a simple donation ask and would be used as acquisition for future raffle mailings. While this was hugely successful, a door drop wasn’t seen as suitable for Wiltshire where a significant proportion of the region were already on the database.
“We estimate that we have about 10% of the entire area of Wiltshire on our database. If we were to door drop the whole of Wiltshire there would be a lot of cross-over and wastage and also, 10% of the total door drop are going to say ‘why are you sending me a ‘Dear Homeowner’ letter? I have given you £x amount over £x years …why are you sending me this?’.”
Adam Baker, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager, Wiltshire Air Ambulance
A new approach was needed if the charity was to build the raffle database.
Wiltshire Air Ambulance tested Partially Addressed Mail (PAM) as its core acquisition channel for their 2022 Christmas Raffle. PAM was a targeted opportunity for the charity to reach prospect rafflers at postcode level. As well as targeting prospects who had similar characteristics of their core rafflers, PAM allowed them to remove any current rafflers from the mailing list – reducing wastage and avoiding cross-mailing.
WAA worked closely with the data specialists at Marketreach to deliver a highly targeted PAM campaign. Marketreach’s starting point was to take WAA’s existing donors and profile them against the UK population using MOSAIC. This identified several unusual spikes in index within some categories. To account for these outliers the data specialists limited the profiling area to that of just WAA’s operating area. This levelled out the profile findings, which were caused by there being a disproportionate number of retirement and rural properties within the Wilshire area. Over-represented MOSAIC categories from the new profile were then used to score and rank postcodes in the Wiltshire catchment, creating a look-a-like prospecting model. To avoid duplications, the model was carefully de-duped against the core database, resulting in a refined and precise mailing list.
The top 30% of the look-a-like model received a colourful and impactful A4 mailing. Inside, a personalised letter, warmly addressed as "Dear friend" was included, signed by one of WAA's doctors. The letter effectively educated the recipients about the charity and the significance of fundraising through raffles. A brochure was also enclosed, providing comprehensive details on how the raffle worked, accompanied by a compelling case study featuring a young man who had benefited from WAA's services after a car accident.
To further enhance engagement, a perforated Christmas bauble was thoughtfully inserted as an engagement device. This interactive element allowed potential rafflers to write a message to the WAA team, which would then be hung on the Christmas tree at the airbase during the festive period. It fostered a sense of community and participation.
By leveraging Partially Addressed Mail as an acquisition channel, Wiltshire Air Ambulance successfully expanded its database and acquired new rafflers.
The PAM raffle mailing achieved an impressive 1.93% response rate – a very healthy result for the charity’s first foray into the channel.
The average money banked per PAM responder was £19.29, contributing to the campaign’s overall financial success. This figure wasn’t far from the campaign average of £23.26, indicating that the PAM responders were actively engaged with the charity and the cause. Additionally, the average amount banked per PAM responder exceeded the £17.16 average for rafflers acquired through online channels.
Based on these results, WAA are planning to include PAM in their Christmas 2023 mailing, using insights from responders to further refine targeting.
Source: Adam Baker, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager, Wiltshire Air Ambulance