Humane Society Marketing Strategy – Give and You Shall Receive


You know times are tough when the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has to start giving things away to get you to donate.

But I have to give this non-profit organization credit where credit is due. They know just how to pull on your heart-strings, and the gift they sent convinced my teenage son that I should donate.

What did they send?

Before I get to that, let me start by saying that I have been a member of the HSUS in the past. That’s why I’m still on their mailing list. But I haven’t given in a while, because I like to spread my charitable contributions around a bit.

Anyway, I went out to my mailbox the other day and found a large, floppy envelope inside.

The address label had a picture of a dog and cat curled up together on a rug, and above my name and address were these words: Enclosed: A Gift of Comfort and Warmth!

The envelope contained a light-weight blanket with the picture that was featured on the address label.

My son was standing next to me as I opened this envelope. I told him how surprised I was that the HSUS was resorting to giving out blankets to get me to donate. His response took me by surprise, and convinced me that this organization was on to something. His words, “Well, Mom, you have to donate now. That’s a nice blanket.”

HSUS Gift Blanket

And this, from a teenager! Can you imagine the reaction from a family with younger children?

I bet this turns out to be a very successful fundraiser. The profit potential is big, if other people react the way my son did!

Let’s say the blanket cost them about $3. Their minimum gift requirement is $8. That’s a net profit of $5 right there. If they sent this out to 500,000 people, and got a response rate of 2%, they could easily make at least $50,000 from this campaign. Obviously, that doesn’t take into account the advertising campaign’s production costs – but I suspect a majority of the respondents will donate more than $8.  I know I will.

The HSUS does a great job defending and saving thousands of dogs and cats, kittens and puppies from cruelty, abuse and even death. The organization is certainly a worthy one.

But I’m impressed with this new marketing effort.  Looks like they realized that in tough times, you have to be willing to invest a little bit more, in order to get a bigger return.

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