Forest & Bird’s interactive print campaign by Ogilvy & Mather continues to forge ahead, and this time Listener and Forest & Bird readers will be asked dig deeper and reach for their $10 and $50 notes.
So far, so good. May donations did increase with the $5 campaign. Forest & Bird marketing manager Phil Bilbrough says there were 15 online donations totalling $2788, with $2000 (12 donors) coming in during the campaign week which ran 23 June – 3 July. These are all regular giving donations, so they roll over at the end of the year, and they ranged from the minimum $5 per month to $39 per month.
“We also have had a few $5 notes sent in, which wasn’t the purpose, but I think that’s quite fun,” says Bilbrough.
There was also a jump of new visitors to the main site on 24 and 25 June, with 1030 and 1119 new visitors – where the norm is around 500 new visitors per day. There has been a slight increase in traffic to the join-us page (which gets between 5 to 10 sessions per day) over the past few weeks.
Up until now, most Forest & Bird members have been recruited on the ground through a face-to-face recruitment programme – 40 to 50 conversions per week – but the cost of acquisition is high, especially on a charity budget like Forest & Bird’s. The print campaign is hoped to increase traffic to the website and sign-up page, and if it turns out to be more cost-effective, Bilbrough says perhaps online-recruitment from advertising campaigns could replace recruitment on the ground.
He says it is challenging to market a polarising charity like Forest & Bird but it is important to stay visible.
“I feel that charities can go off the public’s radar very quickly and generally only re-appear when there is a news item about their sector; for us the examples include mining and milling fallen trees etc. I feel that those news items and media coverage are okay, but they can polarise the public about our organisation, so that kind exposure doesn’t completely work for Forest & Bird," he says.
"In the 90s we made a mistake of not talking about Forest & Bird and we didn’t appear to do any brand advertising, and as a result our membership fell year after year only to be turned around about four years ago. I think Forest & Bird and other charities need to advertise and front foot our messaging,” he says.
The $5 note campaign has now come off the Listener and is now is going to territory yet unexplored by Forest & Bird: New Idea.
“It’s interesting because we wouldn’t have thought about New Idea before. We don’t advertise a great deal, and tend to go for audiences that have indicated they have an interest in the environment. New Idea is more of a Hollywood mag – not that I have anything against it. But it is part of the reaching more widely – a new era for Forest & Bird. We are there for younger people worried about the environment. We can give them independent information about the state of our freshwater, our seas and our native forests and we can give them a voice and an opportunity to do something about it.”