Protecting Paws: Revisiting offline marketing to increase donors for the RSPCA

The Client 

The RSPCA is the largest animal welfare charity in the UK, specialising in animal rescue and furthering the welfare cause for all animals.  

Karen Pierre (Marketing Manager – Donor Recruitment) approached us based on an established and successful relationship from her previous role at the charity, Blind Veterans UK. 

The Challenge  

The RSPCA’s core fundraising audience was rapidly declining due to the impact of GDPR and the pandemic. They were early adopters of the opt-in approach leading to a decline in their contactable base for future fundraising appeals.  

The pandemic put a halt to face to face fundraising, and sponsorship events such as runs, walks, even office-based events. Add to this the fact that Direct Debit cancellations were increasing as donors were feeling the financial squeeze of furlough and redundancies. 

The RSPCA needed an alternative to events and F2F fundraising that had the scale, reach, and targeting potential, but was agile enough to get up and running in a short space of time. A much-needed letterbox campaign was used as part of the Christmas appeal, through a change in the approach to the data use (Legitimate Interest).  

The Strategy 

Edit took a bespoke approach to meet the requirements of the RSPCA, enabling them to be hands-off by utilising our data experts and Account Managers, we planned an end-to-end campaign including brief, creative input, planning print, and delivery of letterbox media including Door Drop, Partially Addressed Mail and Direct Mail.  

To ensure best practice around letterbox marketing, Edit’s Data Protection Officer worked alongside the RSPCA legal team to ensure they were operating under best practice guidelines and remaining compliant across Door Drop, DM, and PAM. From creative to targeting, it was of paramount importance to exclude vulnerable audiences where possible and protect both the RSPCA brand, but more importantly, prospective donors. 

Edit were able to establish audience insights which included emotional and behavioural data, as well as using Experian’s MOSAIC data to understand the existing donors. We used this data along with JICMail survey data to decide where we could grow the donor base most effectively and within which channels. We also looked at historical campaign data using AdDynamix so that we could understand how and when the RSPCA letterbox media would be delivered to households vs other charity campaigns. 

The key to success also came from the integration of all channels and their consistent messaging, as well as the correct layering of media, beginning by using ATL activity (Television and digital) to build a halo effect for the letterbox activation campaigns to drive response. 

Together, Edit and the RSPCA produced print and creative efficiencies by utilising the same letter pack across all channels. We used 3M VAS eye-tracking software to ensure the creative was optimised for response, making changes throughout the pack to ensure it delivered a succinct and powerful message that would drive response. Our Data Protection Officer had final sign off on all creative to confirm that offense was not caused by any materials being sent and again protect both brand and prospects. We partnered with Whistl who handled the delivery helped us to create the model build for the door drop, and PAM. 

The Result 

The campaign was a resounding success. Together we achieved: 

  • An increase in donors by 47%, and a 61% increase in ROI. 
  • An 88% increase in total donations and a 30% increase in average donation amount. 

Edit gained valuable insights from the campaign data analysed providing key take outs to inform future campaigns. For instance, we learned that almost half of the Door Drop responses came via digital channels and so we will be implementing more digital donation options into future campaigns, including Alexa integration and QR codes. 

The Future  

Due to the success of the campaigns delivered so far, the Edit and RSPCA partnership continues with a Summer letterbox campaign testing the channels during a previously untested time of year, and plans for Christmas 2021 are already underway.  

Added Value

In tandem with Edit’s sustainable credentials, the RSPCA wanted to make more sustainable choices for their letterbox campaigns. They wanted a campaign which would deliver a high impact, strong results, and have a positive impact on the environment. Whilst there was an additional cost for using FSC approved stock and carbon balanced paper for the entire mailing pack, the campaign still delivered a reduction in cost per donor of 38% vs. Budget. Great news for the RSPCA and the environment. 

The digital footprint of the campaign was also kept to a minimum by simplifying the number of variants through keeping the same base creative across all offline acquisition mailings, and no new photoshoots were required which added savings on resource and travel. 

Data was cleansed prior to mailing to ensure no unnecessary mailings were sent to protect the recipient, brand identity and of course, reduce the volume of inaccurate mailings and therefore be more sustainable. 

If you would like your print and data audited for sustainability, Edit can help you kick start your journey – contact us here. 


The RSPCA were really pleased with the outcome of this campaign, Karen Pierre and her team shared the following comments:

“Working with Edit feels like a partnership.  

Our main fundraising audience was declining due to the impact of GDPR and the pandemic, Edit gave us bespoke solution – a rigorous planning process with data driving every decision. Their efforts resulted in a resounding success, a record-breaking campaign which returned a 151% increase in donors.” 

“They truly offer the “full service” which makes the entire process streamlined and reduced stress for us! They are reliable, great with schedules and feedback, but most importantly they know when to bring the right people in to handle the job.” 


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