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Ultra-Personalization Overcomes Donor Fatigue

MSF Ireland Year-End Appeal

Médecins Sans Frontières – Ireland
Project Launch:
International Nonprofit

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international nonprofit providing humanitarian crisis relief where the need is greatest. They deliver emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from medical care.


For a nonprofit like MSF, there is rarely just one humanitarian crisis at a time. In addition to their international focus on the war-torn areas of Syria, MSF needed to raise funds for Haiti following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew at a time when they knew that many donors had “moved on” from this disaster.


We determined that to capture the attention of the donors in support of Haiti, it was necessary to speak to them on a personal level, showing them that MSF recognized their prior support and wasn’t communicating on a “mass level” in the same way to each recipient.


Handwritten notes to the donor were incorporated throughout the package, in addition to “ultra-personalization” on the letter and throughout the response device. This highlighted the donor’s prior engagement with MSF and was used in the ask strategy to create giving levels appropriate to their past levels of giving.

MSF DMComponents of the MSF Direct Mail Package


This highly personalized strategy was successful, resulting in KPIs that outperformed industry standards set by the DMA and was considered a success by MSF:

  • Response rate outperformed 2016 industry standards by over 50%
  • Brought in a high average gift of over €125
  • And most importantly, raised a significant amount of funds for Haitian relief at a critical point in MSF’s relief efforts


  • 50%


    in response rate

  • €125


    average gift

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