Category Archives: Integrated Fundraising

Greater Vancouver Food Bank logo

Greater Vancouver Food Bank

Greater Vancouver Food Bank:
Integrated Holiday Campaign

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank provides food to more than 27,000 people each week in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster. Serving families, children and seniors, the food bank is there to provide support not just for today but for every day going forward – no matter how long or short. The food bank works to empower their members by providing healthy and sustainable food in a dignified manner, plus education and training so that one day these individuals can provide for themselves.

The Challenge

In 2014, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank made the jump to integrate their Holiday Campaign during an already very busy time of year. They found that more and more donors were going online to make their donations and it became very clear that the food bank needed to increase their presence online to meet this growing desire for integrated communication with their house donors and prospects.

The Solution

HMA helped the Food Bank coordinate their first fully integrated holiday campaign in 2014 using direct mail, emails, Facebook advertising and website updates. With similar design elements and the teaser line: “You can turn Christmas from a worry to a joy,” this campaign was a great success coming in 35% ahead of our projected targets. But we knew that there was even more potential for growth and we had only just caught a glimpse of the possibilities.

The Results

Fast-forward to today. From 2014 to the 2017, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank has seen a 38% increase in revenue from their Holiday Campaign alone. Online donations account for 56% of the total giving to the 2017 Holiday Campaign which shows the importance of integration.

In 2017, HMA and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank worked together to develop four direct mail pieces, a five-part email series with varying segments and testing, Facebook posts and a designated landing page/donation page. In 2017 we have surpassed our targets and we look forward to what the future brings for this campaign.

Covid Urgent stamp

Fundraising Success in Times of COVID-19

Fundraising Success in Times of COVID-19:

When our clients and friends asked us if they should continue with their fundraising in the early days of COVID-19, our team’s collective sentiments were:


“If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.”

“If and when you do ask, be sensitive to the situation we’re all in and create your messaging accordingly.”

“Hold your donors close. Do everything in your capacity to show them how grateful you are. Call them to check in on them, even if they haven’t given to you recently.”

“Stay fluid and switch gears as the pandemic and climate evolves.”

“Be honest. Tell your donors if you’re struggling to meet the needs of your beneficiaries due to cancelled events and other lost income. Tell them if the people you help have greater needs due to the pandemic.”


A food bank client saw a dramatic increase in mail and online revenue over March and April. Their house and prospect mailings that were sent days before the pandemic was announced surpassed targets. Their timely decision to re-launch a Virtual Food Drive in March of 2020 raised 42% more income than all of 2019 in just 4 months’ time. In April they received 38 requests from donors asking for more information about leaving gifts in their Wills. These donors had received a COVID-19 impact report newsletter that also featured information on Free Wills that seemed to inspire their requests. These requests account for 31% of the total requests for the year. We applaud their ability to switch gears and turn their Spring Appeal and Summer Newsletter into COVID-19 themed pieces all while putting a high priority on gift processing and thanking donors. Great work!

One of our hospital clients saw incredible results to an Unaddressed COVID-19 Emergency Appeal. The short letter asked donors to help buy 3 things: Masks, Gowns and a Ventilator. The results were stunning. The campaign raised 180% higher gross revenue than projected, 21% more gifts than projected and a 131% higher average gift than projected.

Another health client sent an urgent mailing and e-mail series to all donors letting them know about lost revenue due to cancelled events and the increased need of the patients they serve. The mailing raised 50% more than its usual performance. And the e-mails raised five times more than they typically raise through their year end e-mails, which until now have been their best performing e-mails. Kudos to them for the wonderful job they did thanking every donor who gave with a personal e-mail, call or thank you letter.

And a university client sent an urgent e-mail series asking donors to support a Student Emergency Fund. The e-mails generated close to $16,000 from 76 donors. Fifty-one of these donors were new donors. And one gift was for $10,000!

We’re so proud of our clients for their hard work and dedication to their donors during a difficult time.

University of Alberta logo

University of Alberta

University of Alberta Case Study

The Client

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of Canada’s top teaching and research universities.

The Challenge

Two years earlier, the University created a legacy campaign that was unsuccessful. The planned giving department approached HMA to test a campaign and asked us to use the same donor’s story. This was a novel approach and turned out to be a wise one. It gave us a test of creative: a campaign done by the University’s experienced communication staff VS. legacy experts at HMA.

(Both campaigns had a similar budget, but the internal campaign uncovered zero confirmations and just one lead. The HMA campaign uncovered 16 confirmed legacy donors, and 96 good leads – which could potentially raise millions of dollars in additional income.)

The Solution

HMA recommended sending select donors a highly personal mailing. We took the previous story, improved the creative, and sent this to 2,500 donors. The campaign was designed to identify individuals who had already left the University in their Will, people considering a legacy gift, and those interested in more information.

The Results

The results exceeded our client’s expectations:

  • A response rate of 15%
  • 16 uncovered legacy gifts with an estimated value of over $1 million
  • 96 leads were generated from donors saying they intend to leave a gift, are seriously considering it, and/or would like more information about leaving a gift.

Besides the confirmed bequests and leads, the survey identified 21 donors who indicated interest in making a gift of $5,000 or more to a special project.

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