By Sally Frank, Senior VP of Strategy and Innovation

As soon as Alabama passed legislation criminalizing abortion and imposing harsher sentences for those performing abortion than for rapists, we knew our client, Human Rights Watch, needed to reach out to donors— and quickly. 

We picked up the phone, convened a conference call with our HRW colleagues, and planned a course of action first thing that morning.

Of course, we attacked digital channels immediately, because they can be launched within 24-48 hours. By the end of the day, we had written and designed the following components that launched within 24-hours:

  • An emergency email that launched
  • A lightbox takeover screen for the homepage of the website
  • A series of ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Display targeting acquisition audiences and remarketing web visitors and previous action-takers
  • Language for HRW’s Influencers to tweet
  • A social media post for our own employees’ social media channels

Digital is key in an emergency, but most nonprofits’ donors, and most of their direct marketing revenues, come from direct mail donors. In fact, less than 10% of total US giving happens online. And 30% of new online donations come from direct mail prospects.

We knew we had to send an appeal by mail and do so as quickly as possible to harness the swell of media attention surrounding the legislation, and to integrate with the online campaign.

We had copy and design approved within 24 hours. Because we have a special Faircom New York designed Airgram Emergency package, we were able to print immediately. The mail reached donor’s mailboxes within 6 days of the breaking news.

Emergencies are in Faircom New York’s DNA. Having worked for 25 years with emergency clients such as Doctors Without Borders, Action Against Hunger, Doctors of the World, Handicap International (now Humanity and Inclusion), International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region, the Pasteur Institute and many others, we understand the need for speed and efficiency in an emergency. From cholera to ebola; tumultuous elections to unspeakable legislation; natural disasters and man-made ones, we are our clients’ partners.

Our clients mobilize within hours in the field; we respond within hours online and in the mail.

Stay tuned for an update with results from HRW’s abortion legislature emergency campaign, and news about our on-boarding techniques for new donors acquired through this emergency.

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