An overhaul of The Taronga Foundation’s database is paying dividends, and Shanthini Naidoo explains that being able to identify potential donors is just one of them.

In just three months The Taronga Foundation’s Oceans 100 fundraising program is nearly halfway to its million dollar goal, and being able to identify and target specific prospects has been an important ingredient in the success of the campaign.

With the aim of securing 100 donors to give $10,000 each, the idea is to “turn 100 into one million” as part of a wider appeal towards Taronga Zoo’s new mega Great Southern Ocean’s exhibit, due to open in 2008.

Already the Oceans 100 campaign has been supported by 31 donors to the tune of $465,000.

The “umbrella” Great Southern Oceans (GSO) Appeal has raised $4.5 million to date towards a target of $10 million, which will be used for the construction of the Great Southern Oceans exhibit, and establishment of its research, breeding, conservation and education programs.

Diving into the Database

One of the key reasons for the effectiveness of the campaign to date is a new ability to target specific donors. In the last 12 months a new approach to data management and analysis, including implementation of new database software, has allowed the foundation to identify potential donors with the capacity and interest to support projects.

Three years ago the zoo had around 4,000 supporter records spread across myriad databases, with little coordination of donor history and tracking.

Now the Taronga Foundation has 27,000 active donor records without duplication and with up-to-date payment, pledge, event attendance and donor stewardship information.

While better analysis and segmentation of data is now leading to more effective targeting of donors for fundraising initiatives like the Ocean’s 100 campaign, the new data profiling capabilities are also helping with acquisition programs, including the purchase of external mailing lists that better match zoo donor demographics.

Taronga’s “OCEANS 13” lead the way

At an event to publicly launch the Great Southern Oceans Appeal, the decision was made to also promote the Ocean’s 100 campaign.

This decision took into account the significant campaign target, the fact that the umbrella GSO capital appeal had raised almost 50% of its goal, and finally Unilever/Streets had recently been signed as a major corporate sponsor for the precinct.

Prior to the event a number of Taronga Foundation and Zoo leaders involved with the Great Southern Oceans Appeal pledged their support for OCEANS 100, providing a “leadership” group of donors who could be announced at the event.

The invitation to the launch event at Bondi Icebergs was mailed to 189 prospective donors as well as Taronga Foundation Governors and Patrons. At the event, attended by more than 100 guests, the first 13 high profile OCEANS 100 members were announced, with guests encouraged to pledge their support as well.

An Oceans 100 direct mail ask for $10,000 was sent to guests and prospective donors immediately following the event. The post-launch media coverage and excitement provided additional profile for The Taronga Foundation’s cause in the lead up to a mailing to a list of 35,000 people a few weeks later as part of a more public appeal.

It is planned that further marketing activity for OCEANS 100 will occur in the next 12 months to reach the target of $1 million by June 2008.

Mail-pack recipients 189
No. of Oceans 100 donations 31
Amount raised $465,000
Highest donation $100,000
Average donation $15,000
Response rate 16
Cost* $21,000

*Costs include launch event, design, printing and mail out of pledge cards and invitations.

For more information on the Oceans 100 program and Taronga’s Great Southern Oceans Appeal visit the appeal website:

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