Good News from MacKillop Family Services

July 1, 2020 Eve Heidemann


MacKillop Family Services exceeded a $300,000 target (50% higher than 2019) for our Paws4Kids matched giving day on 22 April – launched on the cusp of social distancing. Funds raised will continue the therapy dog program piloted through the inaugural campaign in 2019.  


Many expected this matched giving day to fail in the unexpected, uncertain conditions COVID-19 created. Pets in the Park, a large public event where we’d planned to launch the campaign, was cancelled; so we had a soft, online launch. Schools closed, meaning the school engagement pack we’d created wouldn’t result in fundraising, and photo opportunities with therapy dogs at schools could no longer be part of our media strategy. However, we repurposed the pack as a home learning kit for which schools were grateful, and our ambassadors achieved significant media.  


Paws4Kids raised $314,711 from 1279 donors, 224 of whom were first-time donors to MacKillop, through a multi-channel campaign including direct mail, social media, a MyCause web page, phone room, ambassadors, TV ads and more. 

Welcome calls were made to new donors, with 15% of those reached referencing TV advertising prompting their support; an opportunity we had taken advantage of due to the cheaper deals available at that time. Word-of-mouth from MacKillop staff inspired over 30% of new donors, demonstrating how the transparency and positivity of the campaign had also enhanced our culture of philanthropy.

We modified messages to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the program and supporters. This included a video from the Outreach Education Coordinator as term 2 started – a week before the matched giving day and when it was confirmed they could continue delivering the program as an essential service.

Check out the dedicated Paws4Kids fundraising page.

Watch this video update explaining how the program would continue through COVID-19: