Helping the Flying Doctor Soar – Tripling appeal net income to $1.5M annually

the challenge

Royal Flying Doctor Service Queensland (RFDS) is an iconic Aussie organisation, providing incredible, around-the-clock healthcare to Queenslanders in need.

There was a longstanding direct mail program in place, but growth was non-existent and RFDS desperately needed more income to fund its vital service.

how we tackled it

Since 2013, RFDS has worked in partnership with FED to direct and implement an entirely new approach to its direct mail program—moving away from a newsletter-only approach to authentic, story-driven campaigns. The very first appeal was a big win—increasing net income from the previous year by more than 50 per cent.

Keys to success have been the focus on articulating to donors a clear, compelling need for funding, emotional case study stories, long personal letters, touching lifts, personalised asks, rigorous targeting, multiple communication touchpoints that includes email and SMS, as well as the mammoth task of bringing high value donors much closer to RFDS’ work.

The return from investing in engaging high value appeal donors has been consistently worthwhile. Over the years, high value treatment has included invites to special donor events to see the planes and meet the amazing medical teams, hyper-personalised packs, personal videos from the CEO, unique outer envelopes (such as boxes and mailing tubes) and special gifts that relate to the case study or case for support.

the result

In 2013, RFDS’ net contribution to the appeal program was just under $500,000 per year. Fast forward to 2022, and that figure is now a staggering $1.5M annually—over a million dollars in net income growth.

The 2021 Tax Appeal was also the biggest appeal in RFDS’ history, grossing $1.1M. Back in 2012 it generated just $221k gross.

A massive driver of RFDS’ success has been the high value activity which has grown from around 15 per cent of overall appeal income in 2014 to around 40-50 per cent in 2022.

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