Reinforcements for a Small Shop
Launched in 1991, the Israel Guide Dog Center is the only internationally accredited guide dog program in Israel. Dedicated to improving the quality of life of visually impaired Israelis, the center breeds, raises and trains its highly specialized guide dogs to respond to Hebrew commands and to navigate Israel’s uniquely challenging environment. The center also provides PTSD and emotional support dogs to veterans and children with special needs.
Charged with raising significant funds to support this crucial work, the organization’s U.S. office has a small staff. Nearly a decade ago, we began partnering with the Israel Guide Dog Center to support its U.S. fundraising efforts. In addition to creating marketing collateral, each year we’ve provided design and writing services for the annual fund appeal, which mails three times per year.
Using stories and images that illustrate the independence and confidence that guide dogs restore, our goal was to inspire U.S.-based donors to give over and over via the annual fund appeal. By providing the Israel Guide Dog Center’s U.S. affiliate with design, copy and project management, we aimed to give the organization a more professional end product and a seamless experience.
Working closely with the executive director of the U.S. office, we created annual fund packages that included a stand-alone reply mechanism, an insert, and a letter that paired poignant storytelling with informative content and eye-catching design. From a feature on the center’s 500th client-dog match to a letter introducing a women whose embarrassed family had hidden her partial blindness, we seized timely opportunities and provided varied insights into the complex world of visual impairment and guide dog training. This strategy served to engage and inform donors on an ongoing basis.
After segmenting the Israel Guide Dog Center’s first mailing we worked on, funds raised from lapsed donor reactivation increased by an incredible 566%. Over the last five years, both the average gift size and the total giving attributed to the annual fund campaign mailings demonstrated an upward trend. In 2022, both metrics more than doubled 2018’s results, with an average gift increasing from $152 to $394.
“Prior to working with Iris Creative, we did everything ourselves, from copywriting, to design, publishing and fulfillment. As our list grew, it became apparent we needed professional help. After interviewing several firms, we selected Iris Creative — and it was the best decision we ever made. Our communications instantly became more professional, and having one firm responsible for the message, look and feel of our appeals took us to a whole new level.”
— Mike Leventhal, Executive Director, Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind