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Oxfam used its existing opt-in e-mail list only for this campaign; it did not purchase (or borrow from other charitable organizations) any additional e-mail addresses

Required:
1. Oxfam used its existing opt-in e-mail list only for this campaign; it did not purchase (or
borrow from other charitable organizations) any additional e-mail addresses. Evaluate this
decision. In about 200 words, explain the advantages and disadvantages of acquiring
other e-mail addresses for a campaign of this nature.
2. For this campaign, Oxfam chose to use e-mails that contained HTML, audio, and video
elements rather than using plain-text e-mails. In about 100 words, describe the advantages and disadvantages of using formats other than plain-text in this type of e-mail campaign. Be sure to identify any specific trade-offs that Oxfam faced in deciding not to use
plain-text e-mail.
3. Oxfam used HTML in the first e-mail, video in the second, and audio in the third. Evaluate
the use of different e-mail formats for this type of message and consider the sequencing
of the formats that Oxfam used in this campaign. In about 300 words, summarize the
considerations that would affect a decision to use a particular sequence of e-mail formats
in a campaign such as this and evaluate the sequence that Oxfam used.
4. A manager at Oxfam might be tempted to conclude that the sequence of formats used in
the e-mail messages was related to the increase in donations over the six weeks of the
campaign. In about 100 words, present at least two reasons why this would be an incorrect conclusion.
5. If Oxfam were to undertake a similar emergency fund-raising effort today, it might use
social media. In about 300 words, describe how Oxfam could use Facebook, Google+,
and Twitter in combination with its existing online resources to enhance or replace the

e-mail campaign described in the case.

Chapter 4
C1. Oxfam
For more than 60 years, Oxfam has worked through and with its donors, staff, project partners,
and project participants to overcome poverty and injustice around the world. Early in World
War II, Greece was occupied by the German army. Allied forces created a naval blockade
around Greece to prevent further German expansion; however, the blockade caused Greek
civilians to suffer severe shortages of food and medicine. In response to this humanitarian crisis,
a number of Famine Relief Committees were formed by people in Great Britain to ship emergency supplies through the Allied blockade.
Most of these committees ceased operations after the war ended and the Greek crisis
subsided; however, one of them, the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, saw a continuing
humanitarian need throughout post-war Europe and expanded its operations to provide aid there
and in later years, the rest of the world. The Committee eventually became known by its abbreviated telegraph address, Oxfam, and the name was formally adopted in 1965.
Oxfam’s growth was due to many dedicated volunteers and donors who continued and
expanded their financial support of the organization. In the 1960s, Oxfam began to generate
significant revenues from its retail stores. These shops, located throughout Great Britain, accept
donations of goods and handcrafted items from overseas for resale. Today, those stores number more than 800 and are staffed by more than 20,000 volunteers. The British organization has
joined with 15 other charitable organizations to become an international confederation devoted
to ending poverty and injustice with operations in 98 countries and annual program expenditures
of more than $900 million. Oxfam often deals with humanitarian disasters that are beyond the
scope of its resources. In these cases, the organization provides aid by mobilizing an international lobbying staff that has contacts with key aid agencies based in other countries, governments in the affected area, and the United Nations.

In 1996, Oxfam opened a Web site to provide information about its efforts to supporters and
potential donors. The Web site included detailed reports on Oxfam’s work, past and present,
and allows site visitors to make donations to the organization. Although Oxfam gladly accepts
any donations, it encourages supporters to commit to a continuing relationship by making regular donations. In exchange, it provides regular updates about its activities on the Web site and
through an e-mailed monthly newsletter. The Web site includes a sign-up page for the e-mail
newsletter, which goes out to several hundred thousand supporters. When supporters sign up
for the newsletter, they can choose to receive other e-mails from Oxfam. The supporters who
have opted in constitute the Oxfam opt-in e-mail list.
Oxfam has been involved in relief work in Sudan since the 1970s, when it provided help to
Ugandan refugees in the southern part of the country. In its recent work there, it has set up
sanitary facilities and provided clean drinking water in camps that house thousands of displaced
people fleeing pro-government Arab militias. The need in Sudan rapidly exceeded Oxfam’s
capacity and it decided to use e-mail to mobilize support for the project.
Oxfam planned an e-mail campaign that would send three e-mails in HTML format to supporters on its existing opt-in e-mail list over a six-week period. The first e-mail included a photo
of children in one of the camps. The text of the e-mail message described Oxfam’s efforts to
provide clean water to the displaced people living in the Sudanese camps. The e-mail included
links in two places that took recipients to a Web page that had been created specifically to
receive visitors responding to that e-mail message. The Web page allowed visitors to make a
donation and asked them to provide their e-mail addresses, which would be used to send
updates on the Sudan project. A second e-mail was sent two weeks later to addresses on the
list that had not yet responded. This second e-mail included a video file that played automatically when the e-mail was opened. The video conveyed the message that Oxfam had delivered
$300,000 in aid to the camps but that more help was urgently needed in the region. This second
e-mail included three links that led to the Web page created for the first e-mail. Two weeks later,
a final e-mail was sent to addresses on the list that had not responded to either of the first two
e-mails. This third e-mail included an audio recording in which Oxfam’s executive director made
a plea for the cause. The e-mail also included text that provided examples of which aid items
could be provided for specific donation amounts.
Oxfam’s three-part e-mail campaign was considered a success by direct marketing standards. The first e-mail was opened by 32 percent of recipients and had a click-through rate of
8 percent. The second e-mail had similar, but somewhat higher, results (33 percent opened,
10 percent clicked-through). Ninety percent of those who opened the e-mail watched the video.
The third e-mail continued the slightly increasing trends for opening and attention (34 percent
opened, and 94 percent listened to the audio), but the click-through rate was much higher than
the previous two e-mails (14 percent). Also, the dollar amount of donations increased with each
subsequent e-mailing. The e-mail campaign raised more than $450,000 in its six-week period.
Oxfam coordinated this e-mail effort with other awareness activities it was conducting in the
same time period. The organization sent letters to supporters who had not provided e-mail
addresses and ran ads in two newspapers (The Independent and The Guardian) that carried
messages similar to those in the e-mails.

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