FEBC Australia and eTapestry

FEBC Australia is part of FEBC International, a global media ministry spreading the Gospel via radio and internet to inspire people to follow Jesus Christ. They broadcast in more than 50 countries, in 130 different languages, for more than 2500 hours daily. Each year, they receive 9 million listener responses via letter, calls and SMS saying their lives have changed from what they hear and see from FEBC.

FEBC Australia is primarily a fund-raising field and, with no government funding, raising funds is a critical must for the organisation.

Time-saving particularly for end of month reconciliation meant that what used to take someone three days to do, now only takes 12 minutes.
– Philippa Lowe, Operations Manager, FEBC

Key Challenges: Lack of engagement and low-level brand awareness

Philippa Lowe, Operations Manager, FEBC Australia, comes from a strong communications and agency background, having consulted on brand and public relations and engagement to some of Australia’s fast growth companies.

Prior to her joining the organisation over two years ago, while there had been a regular mailing approach to fundraising and donor engagement – the challenge of being more visible in a competitive landscape was one that hadn’t been tackled.

“There is an incredible high level of trust within our donor database – however part of the challenge for us – and other not-for-profits – is to ensure awareness and having new supporters on the trust journey with us,” said Philippa.

“New donors and supporters were not being reached through the means of email and social media.”

The FEBC Australia brand had also received less profile building and engagement outside of its existing donor database. “You could best describe it as the world’s best-kept mission secret,” said Philippa. “FEBC was delivering great success and cost-effective impact globally, yet we weren’t shouting it from the rooftops to attract new supporters.”

The original focus for FEBC Australia was ensuring the organisation had the right systems in place – Philippa realised there was no point developing and putting in place a great engagement strategy, if FEBC Australia didn’t have the right systems in place to capture the data that would emerge from higher supporter awareness. The FEBC team is relatively small, so they are required to be resourceful and not reinvent the wheel all of the time.

FEBC was using an older database that didn’t allow for sophisticated data mining and there was minimal integration with their financial system.

“In the first year we began the conversation about bringing on board a donor relationship management system, what we needed to make this happen and what internal skills sets were required,” said Philippa.

According to Philippa there were several reasons the FEBC decided to bring on board the eTapestry donor management solution.

Firstly, the solution provides a lower cost of entry and is relatively easy to use. Because it’s a cloud-based solution we don’t have to worry about retraining an entire organisation or have to think about specific IT resourcing.
– Philippa Lowe, Operations Manager, FEBC

Changing the fundraising landscape and impacting lives ‘one radio’ at a time!

eTapestry’s integration into FEBC Australia proved itself during its most recent Christmas Giving Campaign.

Traditionally, FEBC Australia had followed the ‘typical’ Christmas gift catalogue approach which listed all the ways a recipient could give to an FEBC project, or buy a radio, or electricity to keep a transmitter on air. Research into past campaigns showed the most popular Christmas gift catalogue choice was making a $30 gift to give a solar or wind-up radio – the other gifts offered drew less gifts – so the small internal marketing team decided to develop a niche campaign focusing upon the humble radio.

The campaign message and creative:

Reach out with a gift that goes further: a small, ribbon-wrapped radio on the front of a printed mailer that ‘opened’ like a gift, and showed just how far a small, $30 radio gift can go and the massive impact it can have.

Secondary messages: that you can give the gift of a friendly voice this Christmas, and by giving a small amount you are involved in something huge.

The inside map illustrated FEBC’s reach, reminding the recipient that for $30 they can reach out and go further with FEBC:

  • Go into more than 50 countries
  • Multiply hope for more than 2500 hours a day
  • Reach 2 billion people who have not heard the Good News in their heart language
  • Speak in 130 different languages
  • Be involved in global social programs that are changing lives

FEBC Australia was aware of the competitive giving landscape and sought to demonstrate the very real return a supporter’s $30 can achieve.

  • One radio is shared by up to 25 people in a village
  • FEBC measures listener calls, emails and SMSs, knowing they receive 9 million listener responses annually saying how lives have been changed

All combined into a powerful sub-message demonstrating how a small financial gift goes a long way, shifting giving fatigue (what impact can I have? I haven’t got much to give!) to optimism and excitement (look at what I can do with just $30!)

The campaign offered brand congruence across multiple channels: print, email, PR, web advertising, event sponsorship and store inserts. The direct mailer (pictured) of a small gift-wrapped radio was sent shrink-wrapped so had opening appeal, and opened out into a six panel that included a global map of FEBC’s reach, and examples of how radio offers the hope of Christ and changes lives.

Supporters began calling as soon as the mailer landed, commenting how lovely it was and how different it looked. It achieved great cut-through.
– Philippa Lowe, Operations Manager, FEBC

The printed mailer was supported by email follow-up and an online gift page using eTapestry’s DIY donation forms and email campaign module. Rather than a constant ‘give now’ follow up message, the email and social campaign focused on the impact one small radio was having.

FEBC set itself a significant stretch target, of impacting 50,000 lives at Christmas, meaning a $60k fundraise in two months.  By the end of the Christmas campaign, FEBC raised funds to place more than 2200 solar/wind up radios into the field, impacting almost 56,000 lives, and reaching a $67K fundraising total.

In direct comparison: the previous year’s gift catalogue campaign raised $35,947 in ten months.

For FEBC Australia to go close to doubling the previous year’s amount raised – and in just two months – demonstrates the campaign’s freshness, appeal and how it captured people’s imaginations.

“Within 20 days the campaign raised more than $30,000. Not only did we outdo our stretch target but by the end of the campaign we acquired 88 new donors and reactivated almost 200 supporters (that had not given in the prior calendar year),” said Philippa.

The efficiency of a good donor management solution goes a long way – and even helps tell a story!

When asked about the other benefits the solution is bringing to the faith-based organisation there are several Philippa highlights, but at the top of the list is efficiency.

With eTapestry, Philippa could slice and dice the data with, “the ease of taking online donations, next to the integrated email marketing module, allowed us to achieve campaign congruency and model best-practise fundraising of mixing offline engagement with online gifting opportunity.

Each morning I could run reports to help me monitor the success of the campaign and view the results via eTapestry’s dashboards. Having that data at my fingertips was a great way to support and encourage the team during a busy, fairly high-stress time.
– Philippa Lowe, Operations Manager, FEBC

Philippa is upfront and bold in saying that what she does in her daily operations role is not just about fundraising, it’s about storytelling, and the eTapestry donor management solution helped facilitate this.

“As long as the system makes it easy for us to tell our story then it’s great – it’s the story that’s going to touch people’s hearts,” she emphasised.

The success of this campaign is just the starting point for FEBC.

Even from a time-saving and administrative perspective the solution provides huge benefits for FEBC.

FEBC employed a database specialist to write a program that enables integration between the Xero financial system and the eTapestry solution, meaning time saving on accounts: “Time-saving particularly for end of month reconciliation meant that what used to take someone three days to do, now only takes 12 minutes,” noted Philippa.

There’s no doubt that the efficiency of a good donor management solution goes a long way, and the FEBC organisation clearly has proven this to be the case.

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