1st PLACE - St Vincent’s Foundation Melbourne

July 2, 2020 Eve Heidemann

Multi-channel Emergency Appeal

The St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne Emergency Appeal launched 18th March, just seven days after the COVID-19 pandemic announcement. The primary channels were email and digital, supported by direct mail. Working from home, staff and volunteers called over 1,000 donors to promote the appeal and offer support during this difficult time.


Constant uncertainty made it extremely difficult to plan ahead. We therefore prioritised the use of digital channels to communicate information quickly and effectively. Direct mail played a supporting role for older donors without an email address or who aren’t online. 

Activities such as developing multiple video content were not in place before the appeal. Foundation staff worked closely with the Communications Team. Senior medical staff understood the importance of the appeal and provided outstanding support, often being available at a moment’s notice to provide video updates, whilst also making preparations for the expected influx of patients caused by the pandemic.  


The campaign raised close to $2 million from 1,350 gifts. The use of a multi-channel approach enabled the appeal to reach a wider audience and acquire over 250 new donors. As well as re-acquiring over 180 long lapsed donors, many of which had not donated for 5-10 years. 

We tested and closely monitored response for our online activities and reviewed content before sharing to our offline audience. We saw a significant increase and acceptance in the use of online channels with 56% of donors donating online and an open rate of emails as high as 50%.

This was our first fully integrated campaign, combining online, offline, as well as a radio campaign which achieved an exceptional level of pro-bono support from community and commercials stations. 

Video component and high volume of calls to donors were also key elements we incorporated to react to the evolving situation.

Have a look at the dedicated campaign page here, as well as these great Thank You videos: