World Vision Redirects Flood Donors

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World Vision U.S. is seeing success from the new direction its fundraising campaign is taking to help the latest crisis: the flooding and subsequent mud slides in Venezuela. For the first time, donors were directed to its Web site, which, within a week, raised nearly $50,000.

More than 250,000 mail pieces went out to World Vision's existing donors on Dec. 28. A plain envelope included teaser text about the flood. A personalized one-page letter detailed the flood's impact on the region, including the number of deaths and the number of people who have lost their homes. Donors were given a choice of visiting its Web site at, filling out and mailing the attached form or calling its toll-free number.

"We have had a Web site for five years now, and people had started making donations there about a year ago," said Amy Hunter, marketing director at World Vision, Federal Way, WA. "But we finally found it viable to drive people to the site to make donations. Before, we didn't know which ones had Web access, so it didn't make sense to send them mail directing them to the Web site if they couldn't access it."

A recent survey told World Vision that between 35 percent and 40 percent have Web access.

"People are going to the site more frequently than they are calling during a crisis so we are going to make the Web a more integral part of our marketing efforts in the future," Hunter said.

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