Click below to see the projects our clients are especially proud of. 

Or go to a particular area of work to find out more: direct response, insight & strategy, legacies, engagement & mobilisation, and research


Dogs Trust - The Puppy Promise: generating online fundraising leads

The Challenge

Every November in the run-up to Christmas, there is a huge increase in the number of puppies being advertised for sale both on and offline. Sadly Dogs Trust experiences a huge number of requests to take in unwanted dogs each year after Christmas that were given as gifts.

In 2015 Dogs Trust wanted to build an integrated marketing campaign that would grab the public’s attention, and link directly to its Christmas fundraising goals.

Beyond the creative, Ask Direct’s additional challenge was to successfully seek and obtain permission to remain in contact with the new audience in a way that complied with current data protection legislation in order to recruit new direct debit donors. At the time there was no successful model/example of online lead generation for telemarketing and direct debit conversions.

The Execution

Working with Dogs Trust we created a pledge campaign - The Puppy Promise.  We urged people to make a public pledge to never give a puppy as a Christmas gift at a dedicated Puppy Promise microsite. The site encouraged people to share their pledge with their friends so that through peer-to-peer networks and social proofing we would spread the message of The Puppy Promise all over Ireland and in turn reach potential donors.

With Dogs Trust, we developed an engaging model, which was user friendly and encouraged the pledger to supply their phone number. We also took a bold approach to data collection. Both the email and phone contact fields were left as discretionary rather than mandatory. By doing this we allowed users to make their own decision about whether they wanted to supply those details and established new level of trust with the user. We also favoured a direct approach to address the fact that the pledger would be receiving a phone call. The form said: 

Here's the deal for you: fill in your mobile number and allow us to call you (don't worry, we'll only call you once) and in return we'll send you a voucher for 10% off purchases at our online shop this Christmas. 

The use of an incentive to encourage data collection was also innovative. As phone number was not a mandatory field, in exchange for their number they received a 10% voucher off purchases in the Dogs Trust online store. We promised that we would be only calling them once. The approach was simple and one we knew would appeal to the audience. The discount code also had the added bonus of promoting Dogs Trust’s online store.

The Results

This creative approach to the problem of data collection paid off. 91% of pledgers gave their email address and 52% of pledgers gave their mobile numbers and permission to call them.

Pledgers to the Puppy Promise were up by 167% on target, email address collected by 140%, and phone numbers by 196%.

And these figures allowed Dogs Trust to hit all fundraising targets in both Direct Debit recruitment and once-off cash donations.

Furthermore, Dogs Trust saw a 293% increase in sales in its online store in the same period.


And the best part – Dogs Trust saw an increase in the number of dogs adopted in January compared to the same month the previous year!


In fact, this approach was so successful for Dogs Trust that it has been reviewed, refined and rerun in different formats, through different media, over multiple years including #StopKeepingMum (2016) and #HowsThatDoggyInTheWindow (2018).