Detroit Zoological Society

Fundraising gifts increased, donor acquisition funnel optimized for Detroit Zoological Society

Generated significant donor revenue from members without increased cost.

Added 8,500 donors.

Reduced mailing costs by 65%.


The Detroit Zoological Society demonstrates extraordinary leadership in conservation, animal welfare, education and environmental sustainability. The organization began to see the results of its annual fund campaign fall below industry standards. To solve this, they asked our team to help identify the most likely to give members to increase the number of active donors and gross revenue.



We started by analyzing past annual fund campaigns, looking at performance by audience segment: individual donors and members. We then reviewed out-going communications to members for opportunities to add a donor appeal. Our research guided us to develop a segmented messaging strategy that connected donors and members with the benefit of their contribution through these efforts:

  • Focused on the personal benefits to be derived from giving to the Zoo.
  • Added donor appeals to all membership communications, renewal letters, emails, membership pages of the web site, etc.
  • Utilized existing materials to generate revenue with no incremental cost, which kept fundraising costs down.


Our Authentic Marketing approach generated these transformative and sustainable results:

  • Added more than 8,500 gifts from members in the first year. This generated a significant increase in gross revenue.
  • Reduced the expense related to print and mail by more than 65%.
  • Added key element of the donor acquisition funnel to provide a reliable and consistent pool of prospect donors that can be accessed and motivated in a cost-efficient manner.


Fundraising donor appeal letters for Detroit Zoological Society
Creative: Fundraising direct mail appeal