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Leading Children’s Hospital Grows Donor Base with Tremendous Results

A $1 billion fundraising campaign got some extra love from high-value donors thanks to a data-driven approach and a mix of digital media and direct mail.


On the eve of a $1 billion fundraising campaign launch, our client recognized that its Children’s Hospital brand presence and current donor base did not offer the scale it needed to reach the campaign goal. The healthcare provider was heavily reliant on a small pool of high-value, patient donors. Our client needed to launch an aggressive donor acquisition program to radically increase the size of its donor base and grow revenue quickly. Because brand awareness was lower than some of the competing pediatric hospitals in the area, the client viewed this opportunity as a start-up program designed to acquire donors at high velocity and to build a bigger brand presence in the market.


To help our client reach its goal, Merkle developed a community-based acquisition campaign to widen the hospitals prospect universe, focusing on direct mail, direct response TV (DRTV), and digital to acquire new donors. We implemented the media plan and creative development for direct mail and digital and worked closely with our media partners to develop the media plan and placement for DRTV. Overall, we created a foundation for driving immediate and long-term growth​:

  • Building a top-to-bottom direct response fundraising program that increased the number of donors ready to give to the big campaign​
  • Increasing brand awareness​
  • Achieving greater visibility for the  healthcare provider’s fundraising efforts with customized “always-on” reporting, increasing the healthcare provider’s ability to make better informed decisions and strategize for the future

Merkle’s analytics team worked to uncover the best list sources, channels, and audience targets to ensure an optimized ROI. Using relationships built across the hospital system, the client service team was poised to drive collaboration across fundraising and marketing which led the way to a cohesive strategy.This included messaging that was able to successfully strike a balance between brand and direct response.



Of new donors have net worth of $1 million+


Increase in active donors


Increase in revenue from expanded donor pool

Keys to success

  • Our deep healthcare fundraising portfolio
  • Experienced non-profit strategists, coupled with a strong media team
  • Specialized direct mail list planning and insight-driven creative development

Discover how we did it. Contact us today.

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