In 1968 a plumber called Peter Button stood on the shoreline of Wellington harbour. He watched in horror as the inter-island ferry Wahine sank during one of the worst storms in New Zealand history. As Peter watched the struggling rescue effort he uttered Life Flight’s founding words: “There has to be a better way”. Peter’s dream of an emergency air service had begun.
Despite a limited catchment area, small marketing team and shoestring marketing budgets, the organisation today is a thriving charitable trust providing helicopter rescue and air ambulance services based out of Wellington Airport. It flies thousands of people each year and needs to raise $4-$4.5 million per annum from fundraising activity to provide these essential aero-medical services.
Christmas is a difficult time of year where the appeal is competing for attention with much bigger national charity appeals and commercial organisations. A key strategic advantage is information gathered through a rigorous Direct Marketing testing programme implemented six years ago. All strategy, concept, patient interviews and copy writing was completed in-house, as was all the data analysis, segmentation and cleaning. There was a high degree of complexity in the data-work with three regionalised versions, a 3rd party test message and a 2nd mailing to non-respondents.
The accumulated a wealth of information about what donors want and would respond to saw the culmination of those efforts: The Christmas Appeal 2013 was Life Flight’s best performing pack ever.