Second Harvest Heartland – Multi-touch for middle & major donors

Year-over-year growth achieved in identifying strategies for improvement

The challenge

Second Harvest Heartland asked us to help them cultivate their middle and major donors. We advised them that a limited‐time campaign, using a specially crafted series of communications, focused on an extraordinary goal inspires action. SHH identified their Share Fresh produce capture program as an innovative and high potential program that could inspire donors to invest in SHH in time for the harvest season. Their goal was to raise $250,000 to capture an additional 1.2 million pounds of produce and provide more than 900,000 meals to hungry neighbors for summer 2014. Such a big goal demanded a big idea.

Russ Reid solution

We created a multi‐touch, integrated middle and major donor campaign focused on conveying the urgency and reality of the problem in the region:

  1. Main Mail Package: The eye‐catching 9” x 12” package featured a highly branded, brightly‐colored green outer envelope that enclosed a personalized prospectus on the program, a lift note that shared the story of a program recipient and produce box tags for the donor to sign and return to SHH to further their involvement.
  2. Follow‐up Mail Package: The complementary package served to remind the donor of the campaign deadline. We incorporated similar campaign imagery and elements, such as a second lift note, to effectively integrate this mailing with the main package.

SHH - multitouch

  1. Phone Outreach: Two weeks after donors received the main mail package and during the week they received the follow‐up mailing, they also received a phone call from Second Harvest Heartland’s phone outreach partner, Aria Communications, inviting them to give to the campaign. This additional touch point bridged both mailings with a personal reminder that encouraged donors again to contribute to the campaign goal.
  2. Email: We designed a three part email series, each fully integrated with the print creative, to be strategically delivered to donors during the campaign timeframe:
    • Email #1 introduced the campaign concept to donors within the digital space two weeks after the main mail package was delivered, as phone calls were underway and when the follow‐up package arrived in homes.
    • Email #2 was delivered to donors on May 15 as the final reminder of the campaign deadline.
    • Email #3 thanked those donors who gave to the campaign for their generosity and reported that, with their help, the goal had been met.

SHH email

Within each touch point, the messaging localized the issue through use of market‐specific need‐ based statistics and highlighted the stories of families who have been helped by the Share Fresh program. Additionally, the offer strategy leveraged the generosity of a group of donors who agreed to match the first $50,000 received by May 15. With this in mind, we centered the offer around the May 15 deadline, reiterating the urgent need for assistance, while simultaneously emphasizing the donor’s multiplied impact. The offer:

Your gift by May 15 will double in impact to help Second Harvest Heartland capture an additional 1.2 million pounds of farm fresh produce for hungry seniors, children and families right here in our community.

Together, the messaging and offer inspired donors to act quickly and effectively communicated that neighbors are hungry and going without because there is un‐harvested food going to waste in the fields.

The campaign also invited donors to contact their Personal Relationship Manager for more information about the program. This engagement strategy gave SHH’s PRMs something to talk about that a good number of donors found new and exciting.

Finally, to cost‐effectively ensure that the campaign spoke to the right audience, we applied a custom segmentation strategy based on each donor’s recency, frequency and monetary gift history to maximize both response rate and average gift. In partnership with Target Analytics, we then incorporated this segmentation methodology with major gift likelihood scores that allowed us to further refine the audience. Lastly, we complemented the campaign audience selection with a tailored ask strategy based on each donor’s unique giving behavior, wealth indicators and target annual gift ranges.


Within the first 15 days, the campaign generated over 20% of Second Harvest Heartland’s net revenue goal, an incredibly strong start to the campaign considering that these initial results are solely attributable to the first touch point – the main mail package.

With all campaign elements working together in the market, Second Harvest Heartland surpassed their net revenue goal of $250,000 after only 75 days with gifts still coming through the door!

Undoubtedly, the multi‐touch, integrated campaign worked. It strengthened Second Harvest Heartland’s relationship with their most valuable donors, raised $250,000 to expand the Share Fresh program, and most importantly helped provide 900,000 meals for hungry families this year.

To learn how Russ Reid can help your Food Bank grow beyond, please contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

View a downloadable PDF of this case study.