As a result of the overseas relief agency's proactive response in Kosovo and at its headquarters in Baltimore, 20% of donors responded to the emergency appeal, raising $7.4 million in just a few months.
The mailing, created by CRS with the help of Burlington, Mass.-based Epsilon, brought in more than twice the $3.4 million collected in last year's emergency appeal for Hurricane Mitch.
Margaret Guellich, CRS' director of direct marketing, credited the success of the mail campaign to the speed at which the appeal was sent, ongoing donor education about work in the Balkan region and the decision to include in the mailing CRS donors who were considered lapsed or inactive.
While most contributions came from active donors, 10% of people who hadn't given in the past 18 months sent gifts to the Kosovo relief effort and almost 7% of people who hadn't given in more than three years responded. The average gift was $75, and the cost per dollar raised for the mail pieces was less than a penny.
Ms. Guellich included archived donors in the mailing because she had a hunch they might be interested in helping a relief effort such as the one in Kosovo.
"One of the things I would have known is that the individuals would have likely come on the file during the Rwanda crisis in 1994," she said. "I knew that they were emergency responsive."
Ms. Guellich's next step is to get new and re-identified donors to give again.
"The question is a challenge to any humanitarian organization that has identified new donors in an emergency crisis," Ms. Guellich said. "We don't go around creating emergencies. We need to learn a lot about the donor and find an