Washington – At the Direct Marketing Association’s annual Nonprofit Federation conference Jan. 25 keynote speaker Vicki Escarra, president/CEO of America’s Second Harvest, spoke about a continuing passion for organizational causes and her organization’s success with donor relations.
In March 2006, America’s Second Harvest designed a new direct mail piece that brought in more than $1 million alone. In fact, Ms. Escarra cites the organization’s direct marketing program for helping to triple the nonprofit’s revenue in 2006.
“We have to keep people interested and engaged in order to have them involved with our causes,” she said.
America’s Second Harvest has 207 food banks nationwide, with more than 50,000 agencies serving more than 25 million Americans annually. It delivers more than 2 billion pounds of food per year and has more than 1 million volunteers across the country.
“I think it’s important that we as Americans understand hunger,” Ms. Escarra said. “One in eight Americans don’t have enough to eat.”
Five percent of the nonprofit’s donations go to the homeless population, while the majority is given to senior citizens and poor working-class families.
“The face of hunger for me is a seven- or eight-year-old child who doesn’t have enough to eat on the weekends,” Ms. Escarra said. “Or it’s the senior citizen or the working parents who work two jobs and still don’t have enough money for food.”
The results of the organization’s direct marketing campaign were reflected during the hurricane season of 2005, where the nonprofit served more than 6.5 million people, with 4 million of them being first-time users of the food bank. The nonprofit raised an extra $35 million during that time period.
The organization conducted quantitative research to seek out the most qualified donors to target with its direct marketing efforts.
“As we move ahead, we are putting an intense focus on technology and our people within our organization,” Ms. Escarra said. “We must develop and mentor for the future.”