Case Study:

Ronald McDonald House
of Charlotte



Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte sought to increase their marketing and fundraising capacity through a comprehensive, multichannel year-end campaign. In addition, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte is only five years old, which is very new in the realm of Ronald McDonald Houses. This organization views their newness as a challenge, and it is critical to ensure the organization lasts.


Combining constituent knowledge and campaign strategy, Achieve developed and executed a comprehensive, multichannel year-end campaign for Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. This campaign included a direct mail solicitation using variable data, three email solicitations and website/donation page graphics to further reiterate the messaging and brand.


The campaign materials for Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte followed the story of Julia and Martyn Holmes and their twins Louie and Mia, a former Ronald McDonald family. Louie and Mia were delivered premature, and as the hospital was more than an hour away from the Holmes’ home, Julia and Martyn stayed at Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte for nearly three weeks until the twins grew strong enough to leave the NICU. More than just a place to sleep, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte gave Julia and Martyn a comfortable environment with accommodating and caring staff that helped them through a difficult time in their new family’s life.


After interviewing Julia, Achieve wrote the direct mail letter and email series from Julia’s point of view. The campaign materials communicated to donors that their support allows families with sick children to stay together through the healing process, giving them a stress-free environment and a renewed sense of hope that they aren’t alone.


For their year-end fundraising efforts in 2015, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte actually executed two separate mailed solicitations to test messaging and design effectiveness. In addition to the Achieve-designed mailer, the organization’s advertising agency put together an interactive concept, with the messaging “How much of your heart can you share?” The piece included a red crayon and an outline of a heart, and the donor would color in how much they could donate, tear off the portion and mail it back.


The direct mail solicitation created by Achieve performed better than the interactive concept, raising $34,000 versus $22,000. The overall number of donors for Ronald McDonald increased from 2014, as did the overall average response rate. Most notably, Ronald McDonald was able to raise nearly $20,000 more in 2015 than in 2014.


Ronald McDonald’s 2015 online campaign also performed much better than the national average: Its average email response rate was nearly four times that of the national average (0.23% vs. 0.06% nationally); its average online gift was also nearly four times that of the national average ($322.08 vs. $82 nationally); and its average email revenue per 1,000 emails delivered was more than 18 times than the national average ($740.78 vs. $40 nationally).


Based on the results and best practices the organization learned throughout their time as an Achieve client, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte is now positioned to increase its fundraising effectiveness in future endeavors.

Year-End Campaign

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