Using fundraising thermometers in multi-channel and multi-goal campaigns

When you’ve set a goal for your campaign, whether it’s for a number of donations, new members, or a dollar amount, the goal and deadline can create excitement and urgency to compel constituents to donate. A dynamic thermometer can provide an update of real-time progress towards that goal.

PETA’s recent Global “Stop Animal Tests” Challenge had a goal of $500,000 that would be matched towards their work of stopping experiments on animals in laboratories around the world. This challenge is a great opportunity for the organization, not only because it’s a generous amount, but because the matching gift offer can motivate a lot of people to donate! PETA made the most of the challenge by rolling out a multi-channel campaign to their constituents: direct mail, telemarketing, and online.

In direct mail and telemarketing, PETA explained to constituents that there was a $500,000 match opportunity. While telemarketing pledges and reply cards from direct mail can take weeks to come in, online efforts produce much more immediate responses. To accommodate this we specified that $250,000 of the goal we aimed to raise online. This subset of the goal allowed us to set up the thermometer to a $250,000 goal and anyone who visited the page could see the current progress. It also allows PETA to communicate to their donors within just a few days that the goal was reached, instead of needing to wait for all offline gifts to be mailed and processed.

Direct mail and telemarketing URL’s directed people to an online donation page that included the multi-channel $500,000 goal. We still included a thermometer here, but it wasn’t dynamic. The alternative is to have a manually updated thermometer. At set intervals this page was updated to match the progress of the multi-channel campaign. This strategy allowed for a lot of cross-channel integration and accommodated some inherent differences between those channels.

Amanda MacCullough is an Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.  Contact: