PCUSA Adopts 'Targeted Marketing' for $40 Million Fundraising Campaign

The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. will be approaching fundraising with a new approach this year to better target its donors’ needs.

“The committee really felt that this was a good focus for the future,” said the Rev. Jan Opdyke, director of the PC(USA) Mission Initiative: Joining Hearts and Hands, to the Presbyterian Church News.

Joining Hearts and Hands (JHH) is one of four major PC(USA) funding initiatives, and the effort to raise $40 million by 2007 has already passed its halfway mark in money and pledges.

During a meeting last week in Newport Beach, Calif., JHH staffers decided to find new “target marketing” approaches to bring in the remaining $20 million by deadline.

“We can now really be very specific with people, and really tailor-make some opportunities,” Opdyke said. “That’s the future.”

Such target marketing approaches include using videos on specific causes and sending them out to specific groups of donors. For example, the first re-mixed “targeted” video was made for the Presbytery of North Central Iowa and was used to help raise $250,000 for the sending out of agricultural mission co-workers to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This method “worked wonderfully, because it requires not as much staff involvement at the national level,” Opdyke said to PCNews. The approach is also very cost effective and videos can be made at “a very, very reasonable cost.”

Another aspect of the individualized campaign is the way it is marketed. In the case of the Presbytery of North Central Iowa, for example, the local presbytery members were the ones who created the awareness among their peers.

The Presbytery “created more awareness of the mission initiative and this particular position than we probably could have gotten any other way,” said Suann Nichols, the campaign’s associate director, to PCNews. This “peer-to-peer” approach is the most effective way to raise funds.

“From a professional fund-raiser’s point of view, it’s the very best way to raise money,” she said.

The denomination plans to use the North Central Iowa case as an example for other Presbyteries.