Alabama Kidney Foundation

The Challenge:

The spread of COVID-19 has heavily impacted the charitable and non-profit community. Due to health concerns and mandated social distancing guidelines many charities have had to cancel their major events of the year. The Alabama Kidney Foundation (AKF) is the only Alabama state-based organization providing financial assistance, education, and support services to kidney patients in need. Now more than ever, kidney patients are relying on the Foundation for support and services as they are among the population that is most threatened by the COVID-19 virus.

The Alabama Kidney Foundation relies on their annual Kidney Walks for a major part of the funding for the Foundation’s Financial Assistance Program. However, the walks for the months of April and May were all suspended due to the coronavirus. Despite the canceled events, the Foundation still needed the support of the community in order to meet the growing needs of their patients.

The Solution:

Walker360 assisted the Foundation with a direct mail piece that was intended to promote the Kidney Walk and encourage supporters to donate. Direct Mail is a powerful fundraising tool, and we always advise our clients to follow the 40/40/20 rule on a direct mail marketing campaign by focusing on the quality of the list, the content or offer and the overall presentation.

The list: the mailing list was compiled by merging three different lists. The first list was provided by Jim Wilson, the Honorary Chair for the 2020 AKF Montgomery Kidney Walk, which consisted of his personal acquaintances and business associates. The second was a membership list from a non-profit organization that Jim Wilson is involved in. And the third list was from the AKF. The final mail count was 3,780 pieces.

The content: non-profits like the AKF, are not selling a product or service which makes it impossible to do a strong “offer”. Instead, they must use compelling content and benefits to engage their audience. This piece consisted of a compelling “ask” by using a strong personal appeal from the Honorary Chair himself that explained the great work that the foundation does and encouraging people to donate.

The presentation: The envelope utilized a “teaser” which was printed in color on the front to increase the open rate. The contents consisted of a personalized letter printed in color with a direct appeal from the Honorary Chair. The letter had a tear off with suggested donation amounts and additional methods to donate and/or support the Foundation. A reply envelope was also included in the mail piece to encourage immediate action.

The Results:

At the time of mailing the 2020 Montgomery Kidney Walk was still scheduled for May 2nd. However, due to the coronavirus all walks were suspended. Yet, despite the news of the cancellation, the mail piece exceeded expectations. The responses were filled with donations varying from $100 to $1,000 with a total donation of over $11,500! AKF’s return on investment totaled 334% for this direct mail piece.

If you would like contribute a donation to the Alabama Kidney Foundation cause or stay updated in their latest efforts, check out their website at

Return on Investment

"The campaign was based on people’s connections to Jim Wilson, the Honorary Walk Chair. We were lucky to have a very concentrated campaign with a contact list from Jim full of people who wanted to support him as well as the Alabama Kidney Foundation. And with Paul Millo’s expertise we were able to add features to the piece that increased the response and donation amounts. Using the pre-determined amounts, the tear off sheet and an option to donate online really helped to increase the number of donations and the amount per donation. Even after the state shutdown and the Walk was canceled, we continued to receive donations! We were extremely pleased with the campaign’s success and look forward to our next one. "

Shannon Morrell Middle Alabama Regional Director