Web Firms Pitch In for Make-A-Wish Foundation

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I-traffic and other Internet marketing firms have donated time and resources to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help the organization raise $500,000 online for its 2000 holiday campaign.

I-traffic, the interactive marketing division of Internet consulting firm Agency.com, donated strategic, creative, account and media services, and secured the involvement of other media and marketing services firms. The campaign went live Nov. 16 and will run into January.

Media partners, including AOL, Excite, BayInsider, Black Voices and Auto Trader, are donating media inventory until they generate contributions totaling $5,000, $25,000 or $50,000, as opposed to the common practice of basing placement on the number of impressions.

Paramark is donating its AdPilot banner optimization technology, which automatically determines the banner that yields the highest response rate on each Web site and pulls those that perform poorly.

Engage/AdKnowledge has installed tracking software on the Make-A-Wish site to determine visitor activity, such as referring children for wishes, volunteering, donating airline miles or making dollar contributions -- all goals of the holiday campaign.

"We'll be looking in on a daily basis to see what creative is doing well," said Scott Sanborn, vice president of account services at i-traffic. "We'll be actively making decisions on how to improve performance. When we know which creative units are generating the most activity, we'll try to improve on them.

"Very incremental changes -- making the text italic or bold, changing the color, making the banner animate differently -- can lead to enormous improvement in performance."

After the holiday campaign ends, i-traffic plans to continue the relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, working to generate volunteer sign-ups, wish referrals and donations through an affiliate program hosted by Commission Junction that will allow Make-A-Wish to link with other sites.

Makeawish.org has earned $1 million since the site was overhauled in May 1999. In November 1999 an online donation function was added to the site, and visitors contributed $280,000 during the holiday season last year in November and December.

Petri R.J. Darby, brand manager at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, said the site receives 50,000 to 70,000 unique visitors a month.

Darby is excited by the impact of the partnership on fundraising during the holiday season, but he is also looking forward to a long-term affiliation.

"We've got the mission, and they've got the connections," Darby said.

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