ORBIS Sets Its Sights High (1,281 words)
A child born with cataracts sees the world and his parents as shadows.
Due to glaucoma, this young mother could barely see her baby girl.
A 90-minute operation could cure this young girl.
SightFlight—it's their only hope of ever seeing again.
You can make blind eyes see.
Without the benefit of a globally recognized name like the Red Cross or even an obvious cause like the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ORBIS—an organization dedicated to fighting blindness worldwide—knew it had a tough task ahead when it set its sights on mailing to solicit donations in the United States.
In the past, ORBIS depended heavily on corporations, foundations and international fund-raising efforts (particularly in Hong Kong) to support its programs around the world. "But all along, we recognized the U.S. as the biggest fund-raising market, and wanted to explore the marketability of our organization here in the States," recalls Peter He, manager of donor relations and an eight-year veteran of the New York-based organization.
The problem was that ORBIS had tried to launch a U.S. fund-raising campaign a couple of times in the past—once in the late seventies when the organization existed but had not had its first flight and more recently in 1994—but both failed miserably, according to He. "We were not able to pull staff off of other projects to commit fully to direct mail," he explains. With the problems in Asian economies of late, He says it has become imperative that ORBIS establish a credible presence in the U.S. fund-raising community.
What was needed: a dedicated team with the expertise to make the U.S. effort a success. Eleanor Cicerchi, vice president of development & external affairs-Americas for ORBIS, was the guiding force in putting such a "dream team" together. Cicerchi called a colleague, Alice Zea, at AZ Marketing Services, in Cos Cob, CT, whom she knew to have a strong background in direct marketing fund-raising. Starting with the direct mail list outlook for the prospective campaign, the AZ Fund Raising division brokerage staff formulated a preliminary list recommendation comprised of international donor files and traditional non-profit lists like the March of Dimes.