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Increasing donor acquisition with SMS


  1. Increase ROI
  2. Reduce time spent on email campaign creation
  3. Deliver relevant and personalised content


  1. An ROI of 22:1
  2. Two B2B Marketing Awards

The Brand

Wood Green Animal Shelters is a registered charity that has been taking in and re-homing animals since 1924. The charity re-homes over 5,000 animals a year and has set national standards in animal care. They also work hard to increase the public’s awareness of its responsibility towards animals in society.

The Goal

In 2010 the shelter saw an increase of 20% in the number of animals being brought in for care and re-homing. This meant the Christmas period was going to be busier than ever as over 900 animals were
depending on them for food. As they rely entirely on public support they needed to find a way to increase the amount of donations they were receiving in order to afford to feed all the mouths.

The Strategy

In the run up to Christmas 2010, Wood Green Animal Shelter ran their ‘Hungry Mouths Christmas Appeal’ to increase donations. The campaign strategy was to provide a way for people (especially commuters) to donate with ease. For this reason they chose to use SMS as a channel as this would allow commuters to donate quickly and easily. For every donation received, Wood Green would receive at least £2.67 of the donated amount.

They promoted the SMS campaign in the following ways:


> On-site banner
> Regularly updating Facebook and Twitter asking people to text to donate


> An appeal on each animals kennel card which read: ‘Please help to feed me this Christmas. Just text ‘Hungry’ to 70003 to donate £3. That’s enough to feed me for 2 days!’
> Posters on 80 trains running 7 days a week between Huntingdon and London King’s Cross Station
> Posters on the platforms at Huntingdon and Peterborough Station

The Functionality

The Adestra API also queries the MessageFocus database to prefill any information that is already held. This also means that the pop-up is programmed to not appear again if someone has previously submitted their details. Adestra’s API is easily adaptable for use across multiple sectors and e-commerce scenarios. It’s a simple, automated way of capturing data and uploading it, avoiding the traditional manual process.

The Lessons

Dennis Publishing use the MessageFocus Approval System for all of their subscription email campaigns.

The simple process of approval as part of campaign set-up ensures all marketers are sending with confidence regardless of whether it’s their newest employee or their most experienced marketer.

The Results

652 donations have been received so far, with a very successful 276 donations over the first 11 days of the campaign. With this significant data capture of new donors, 14% of these have been converted into regular donors and more are following suit. The SMS campaign has achieved an ROI of 12 for every £1 spent on the campaign. It has also allowed Wood Green Animal Shelter to acquire new donors quickly and easily.

So far we are all extremely happy with the response and we’re hoping that SMS will be something that we can use to gain new donors on each acquisition campaign we do. We’re now hoping to contact these new donors and ask if they would like to make a regular contribution to our charity. Rosie Blanning, Donor Development Officer