All Boxed In
The Who's Mailing What! Archive has received myriad 3-D box mailings since its inception, from religious appeals containing rosary beads to B-to-B efforts hocking name-engraved pens. Admittedly, the box format can be a budget cripplera disappointing juggernautif not employed with sound direct-response strategies.
A package with such a challenge and stigma arrived at the Archive in September from Food For The Poor (FFP), a Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based organization that ministers to spiritually renew impoverished people throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The 43/4" x 61/2" appeal features a gripping black-and-white photograph of a young boy praying on the front; on the back, an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who "has worked wonders of favor throughout the world." The latter image coincides with the front-end premium offer, a pewter necklace with a pendant of Mary, also known as a "miraculous medal" to Catholic audiences, which is revealed prominently through a glassine window on the face of the outer (Archive Code #605-178462-0409).
FFP first tested the package in January 2003, and as Director of Development Zach Hinton attests, it was a complete smash.
"The mailing just blew away anything we had done prior with this [box] format," Hinton affirms. "We attribute a lot of the success to the significance of the religious premium we're offering, along with the spiritual message behind it. We wanted to connect the Catholic audience with the spiritual component of our organization."
The slightly undersized format is quite unique for FFP, and for box mailings in general, as the Archive has yet to log one of this size, but Hinton explains that when the fundraising team applied the teaser copy and photo on an oversized box, it looked clunky and awkward.
"When we came up with this size, I was thinking 'look,' and then I was thinking 'cost,'" relates Hinton. "It was really an aesthetic decision to bump it down in size. Secondarily, it was cheaper."
After the package's impressive debut performance, Hinton tapped 18- to 36-month lapsed donors to FFP, as well as prospects represented on outside Catholic and religious lists. Currently the piece is garnering a 3.25 percent response rate, and Hinton reports donors renewing in droves.
"The donors who are giving to the packages [offering] significant religious articles are renewing at a higher rate than other packagesroughly 60 percent," says Hinton. "We have tapped into a religious symbol that our donors are relating to. We're not sending name-and-address labels or greeting cards here, and these donors aren't giving out of guilt, they're giving out of their own spiritual awareness. The miraculous medal represents their responsibility as Catholics."
FFP historically has targeted prospects with box mailings containing front-end premiums, such as hologram cards, for example, but none have received the kind of response rate out of the gate that this one has, says Hinton. Going forward, FFP plans to mail the package twice a year, instead of three or four times as in 2003 and 2004, to avoid wear and fatigue.