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Case Study: Human Rights Campaign Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal, Part 1

August 18, 2011 By Joe Boland
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"When this strategy was laid out that we were going to focus on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I have to admit there was a lot of concern. Our most popular issue from a fundraising perspective and survey responses is marriage equality. We had to take something that was No. 8 a couple years ago on the priority list according to our member surveys and make that compelling to our donors and activists. That was a fun and interesting challenge for all of us, and brought a renewed sense of purpose and creativity to what we were going to embark upon for the year."

So HRC set out on a multichannel campaign with the goal of getting activists to take action — write legislators, sign petitions, spread the word — to repeal DADT and raise funds for HRC so it could put all its efforts in the fight. That strategy involved using every form of direct marketing you can image. HRC sent out steady streams of communication via direct mail, e-mail, social media, mobile, canvassing, e-philanthropy, merchandising, field work, tours, telemarketing and advertisements. It was about as exhaustive as a direct mail fundraising, advocacy and activism campaign gets.

What allowed HRC to pull this off was it has been using multichannel integration in its campaigns for years.

"It came naturally to our team because we've been doing it," Paine explains. "HRC has been on the leading edge of doing successful integration for the last few years."

"Generally it was more of a shift of the organizational resources," adds Associate Director for Membership Operations Jason Lott. "We just moved a lot of what we might normally be working on and made this an all hands on deck effort. For our fundraising pieces, really we were going on the goals that we had already set forward in our budget. It's just that we were focusing those pieces around DADT."

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