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Supercharged Charities in 2021 - The Why and The How

As we embark on a new year, many things are afoot in the world of Public Outreach Australia & New Zealand. We start this year with a completely new website, a new logo and most importantly, a renewed sense of purpose of why and how we are here.

Upon reflection it seems incredible that the timing of this project coincided in the same year when, more than ever before, fundraising agencies were required to knuckle down to ensure that fundraising investments were bringing the best return in order to strengthen the support to beneficiaries. Public Outreach rose to the occasion, but importantly – so did our charity partners. More often than not, it is they who have inspired us to be better and do better.

Building a House of Hope

One only has to look at Ronald McDonald Charities Sydney (RMCS) to see much of this in action. Their 2020 tele-fundraising campaign represented an opportunity to use a new channel for the organisation (online lead conversion via phone), in order to maximise a timely marketing campaign – Message of Hope.

RMCS developed a campaign which really honed in on 2020 and the reality that isolation is not a new thing for Ronald McDonald families. Whilst the need to be in isolation or practising social distancing was new to most of us last year, for many of their families, it is a way of life.

This messaging was brought forward initially on social media channels and carried right through to our call centres. Both sides were incredibly quick, adaptable and unafraid of change in the initial 10 weeks. Data lists were refined and tweaked by the charity based on regular and thorough feedback by the call centre, thus allowing the fundraising message to stabilise.

This resulted in conversion targets 19% higher than our projections, average gifts being 11% higher than we forecasted and the Cost per Acquired donor being 15% less than we initially forecasted.

The success found on this campaign was only partially reliant on ‘hard work’ – more importantly, both charity and agency gave each other permission to be creative and adaptable once we were live. This meant that each conversation was unique, new relationships were built, and we now have an enthusiastic new donor base to be proud of.

Old Becomes New

Similarly, we saw long term charity campaigns invigorated with new ideas and a new passion to do better. One humanitarian charity partner that Public Outreach has worked with for 6 years saw huge improvements in 2020 with conversion rates doubling and 6-month attrition rates decreasing by 10%.

The special sauce? The charity embracing the need to diversify online lead campaigns, their passion for market-sensitive messaging as well as an increase in fundraiser training sessions. With all these things combined, staff turnover on the campaign significantly decreased.

It went from a tough campaign for only the most seasoned and brave phone fundraisers to a campaign that everyone in the call centre requested to be on! Ultimately, callers became more invested and that passion and knowledge became a driving force for finding other like-minded members of the general public to get behind and support the charity with astonishing results.

Keeping Relationship Building at the Core

This passion for good relationship craftsmanship was also highlighted in our Gift in Will programs. On the charity side, our partner had to make a tough decision on what to do mid-way through a seasonal phone campaign once COVID lockdowns started to happen in late March.

Through joint discussion, Public Outreach and the charity came to the same conclusion: the relationships must come first and these supporters need us now, more than ever. The decision was therefore made to continue calling with slight directional changes. Ultimately the charity placed their trust in us to achieve our joint objectives.

This allowed us to continue to relationship build, understand a supporter’s intent in relation to Bequests more intuitively. Most importantly, however, it allowed phone fundraisers to make concerned citizen calls to a group of people who were mainly over the age of 60 years. At the time, they were worried and increasingly feeling isolated.

The campaign (quantitatively) stacked up well against previous campaigns. However, perhaps the biggest value was in all of the qualitative feedback that was recorded by our Quality Team. They noted a huge segment of supporters who expressed their sincere thanks to us for reaching out and how much it meant to them that a charity that they had supported for years would reach out personally and ask them how they were doing.

One of the most enjoyable things about being an agency that works with dozens of different charities is the plethora of experience and knowledge that you gather across a variety of channels. This perspective allows you to see market trends and constantly benchmark in order to improve.

In 2020, these charity experiences have also provided us with good vibes in spades. Throughout the year we saw charities trying new things, providing real and tangible benefits to donors, and working hard to re-image how individuals engaged with their brand and values.

By seeing certain charities embrace their newfound ‘supercharged’ status, this strengthened our own internal resolve and added to the already existing framework we have internally that values passion, creativity and our ability to be a catalyst for change.

We look forward to continuing to share our upcoming projects and campaign findings with you in the year ahead and beyond. Welcome to the Public Outreach creative network.

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