Phone phone-icon (07) 5588 2888

Culture Beats Strategy

Berkshire Hathaway (the company of legendary investor Warren Buffet) turns over approximately $250 billion per year, has in excess of $140 billion in cash reserves and employs over 250,000 people in all its businesses (invested in or owned), including brands such as Coca Cola & Dairy Queen. There’s also railroad & energy companies and more… and that doesn’t include his insurance and re-insurance businesses which are some of America’s largest.


You would think he would have a cast of thousands administering such a gargantuan enterprise… but no… Mr Buffet employs approximately 25 people at his head office. Warren Buffet understands the importance of culture so much, that his right hand man for decades at Berkshire Hathaway is Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman. Warren describes Charlie as Vice Chairman of Culture.


Berkshire’s success, in the main, is finding good people or buying businesses run well by good people. Warren lets them do their job and provides business counselling and guidance from time to time when requested or where the need arises.


That’s the Thomas Direct difference…


We have valued culture as an important part of our success and understood that it’s people that makes the business successful – not technology or clever strategies or the latest fad in business management which is often bandied around by organisations and people as being important. Let me prove it to you…


A good sign that a business has a great culture is in the retention of its employees.Thomas Direct have people who have been working with us for over 20 years – some even 30 – which is unheard of in telemarketing. And that’s not mentioning employees who has been with us from 5 to 20 years – all expert and experienced in raising funds for charities large and small while protecting their brand. When a company cares for the people they work with, this caring flows through to the thousands of interactions with your supporters.


Also, the management team and support teams at Thomas Direct share the same honour of being very long term journeymen. From good culture and long term experience flows all the other benefits that make a great enterprise. So when strategy and technology is implemented or improved, you’re on the front foot.

How to Use Charitable Lotteries to Raise Funds in Hard Economic Times

I don’t think I need to tell anyone reading this that we’re in challenging economic times.


Some effects of the downturn have been eased by direct government support, but now that’s starting to be pulled back. This means that people will have less money and will start to have to make cuts. Often, the first thing to go from people’s budgets is donations to charity.


While writing this, I did some research to find out what effect the global financial crisis (GFC) had on donations. I found some interesting stats from the USA: donations dropped by 7.2% in 2008 and another 8.0% in 2009. Although the reasons for this downturn are different, there’s no doubt that charities are going to struggle to maintain donations, so what can you do?


Why Charitable Lotteries Could Help


There are only a few things that tend not to be affected in a recession or downturn in the economy. These are things that usually help people to escape or give people hope, such as flower sales, chocolate sales, movie streaming, lingerie, lotteries/charitable lotteries to name a few.


With a charitable lottery, you’re giving your supporters hope of winning something that could improve their lives. This means that they can still feel good by supporting their charity but in return for their generosity, you can help them to have the great feeling associated with the hope of winning a prize. I like to call it a “Donation with a Dream”.


The prizes can vary and could include cars, houses, gold bullion, cash, holidays and lifestyle packages to name a few. This is attractive, even in a struggling economy.


What Makes a Good Charitable Lottery Campaign?

Charities have been using lotteries to raise funds for many years. At Thomas Direct, we’ve been supporting charities with their telemarketing for their lotteries for over 30 years.


We’ve been involved with some of the largest charitable lotteries in the country and know they can get results, regardless of the state of the economy. There are a lot of criteria to setting up a good charitable lottery campaign. Some of the key things are listed below:


1 – Obviously, it starts with having an attractive prize. How much you invest in that prize is key, and that depends on how many tickets you think you can sell. Usually, the better the prize, the more tickets you can sell, but of course you need a good return on your investment.


2- Given that, lotteries are best suited for charities who already have a large database of supporters. It’s a lot easier to sell tickets to your supporters, past or present, than it is to find new supporters. You could work on building supporters, but the cost and risks are higher.


3 – The next important step to a good charitable lottery is your marketing. The best marketing strategy for your lottery is an integrated one with multiple communication channels. This should include direct sales, direct mail and digital marketing as well as telemarketing.


Next Step

Now might be a good time to look at a lottery for your charity. Perhaps you’ve done one in the past and it’s time to look at it again, or you want to look at starting a new one.


We work together with a number of consultants who can help you design your campaign, or we can work directly with you by providing telemarketing for your lottery. There are over 200 staff at Thomas Direct, many of whom have been with the company for over 25 years providing a great experience to our client, not only offering tickets to your clients over the phone but great brand protection too, which is often overlooked. The culture at Thomas Direct is very special and our charities have recognised this and know that this doesn’t happen overnight.


Either way, please give us a call and we can discuss your situation to see if and how a lottery might be able to help you.

Are you sitting on rivers of gold? – Learn how the phone can reactivate previous supporter data

A lot of charities may not be aware that they could be sitting on rivers of gold, which right now could be a life saver.


Most charities have archived supporter data that has been put aside because they haven’t responded for some time through various channels. At Thomas Direct we pioneered the telephone reactivation strategy and recognised the opportunity to turn previous supporter lists, long forgotten, into hot responders.

Why Are Reactivation Strategies Important?     

As you know, obtaining new supporters and building new lists is expensive with long payback periods.


Face-to-face is one of the most common used strategies to find new supporters, but that is being challenged in today’s Covid 19 environment and It’s often a long way down the donor journey before you start to get payback, sometimes up to two years.


With your archived supporter data there’s no acquisition cost, as you’ve already acquired it. That makes it much easier to get a return on investment from your reactivation strategies.


A lot of the people on the list have responded in the past, so we know with the right strategy some of them will respond again.


Also, we are heading into what will be a tough time for everyone, including charities. We need to look at new strategies to add to the mix for raising funds, including reactivating archived supporter data.

What Are Reactivation Strategies?

Reactivation strategies can take many forms.


The first thing we need is a strong incentive to get them active again. Then we need to decide how to market that incentive. There are three key strategies you could use:


  • Digital Marketing
  • Direct Mail
  • Telephone


The first strategy is the cheapest but often does not provide the revenue volumes required. Direct mail cost more but can offer better results. The challenge with these strategies though is that they are both one way.


Telemarketing is the only strategy where we’re able to have a conversation with the supporter. It’s where, with a good script and an experienced telemarketer, we can connect the past supporter with your charity maybe bring them up to date with what’s happened since they last supported you all sorts of approaches are in play and reactivate them again.


We’re also able to monitor telemarketing by the hour to make sure we’re still getting a return on investment and if were not then we can stop. This means that you won’t waste money.


Telemarketing may be the biggest investment, but it’s the one that will get you a consistent return and where you have the most control and can be blended with digital and mail.

Next Step

I hope you found this information useful. We’ve helped many charities turn their archived data into rivers of gold and we’d love to see if we could do the same for you.


Please give us a call on 07 5588 288 if you like to discuss your situation and see IF and HOW we can help you.