Case Study:

St. Vincent Meals on Wheels

THE CLIENT

Located in Los Angeles, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels (STVMOW) is the largest privately funded Meals on Wheels program in America, serving over 2,700 meals a day to homebound seniors and providing meals for many other local programs through its own on-site kitchen.

When Schultz & Williams (S&W) first partnered with SVMOW in 1989, the program had only a few thousand donors and no development program. Since then, we have worked together to:

 

  • grow the donor base to over 40,000 donors
  • create mid-level and monthly giving clubs
  • develop and promote a planned giving legacy society
  • revamp the website and online marketing program

Highlights

Growing in More Ways than One

A 28-year client of Schultz & Williams, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is today the largest privately funded Meals on Wheels program in America, serving more than 2,700 meals a day. Its base of support has grown to more than 22,000 donors.

Keeping the Program Fresh

For a client of this stature and that has a mature mail program in a highly competitive marketplace, it’s critical to keep the donor acquisition and renewal programs as fresh and innovative as possible.

Achieving Strong Response

The ways S&W has been able to achieve strong response and increase STVMOW’s revenue annually is through continuous programmatic and donor-trend analysis; list and segment testing; and the development of new campaign, program and marketing initiatives.

The Challenges

One of the challenges of working with St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is keeping the program fresh and innovative, which can be especially difficult in a competitive market for a mature mail program like theirs.

The Solutions

We have been able to achieve strong response and increase SVMOW’s revenue annually through: continuous programmatic and donor-trend analysis; a strategic package, list and segment testing; and the development of new campaign, program and marketing initiatives.

Those identified as “renewal only” donors are being mailed on a strategically reduced schedule this calendar year, ensuring that they are still being asked year-round during key campaigns while also minimizing costs.

Here are some of the notable achievements we accomplished together:

 

  • S&W continuously tests markets, lists and packages. By doing this, we opened a new market for the organization—the Catholic market—which resulted in a 6% increase in prospects for the acquisition program. We also tested several new package formats and found two new formats that beat the previous controls by 5% and 8%, respectively. As a result of our testing process, we’ve seen anywhere from 3% to 5% annual growth in donors and revenue.
  • As part of our work to enhance SVMOW’s mid-level giving program, Circle of Angels, S&W refined audience segmentation and targeting, optimized communications across all channels and added stewardship offerings including personal contacts. The result is a program that solicits a targeted 2,000 donors and generates over $600,000 annually.
  • A competitive market analysis showed that food bank and mission programs were mailing their Thanksgiving appeals earlier. Since this is traditionally the strongest appeal of the season, S&W moved up the appeal to ensure that our “ask” came ahead of the competition’s, and we added a follow-up campaign to capture late donations. This resulted in a 57% increase in donations and a 52% increase in income over the prior year.

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