Archive Observations: Capitalizing On Energy Fears
There’s nothing like a good crisis to motivate nervous investors to subscribe to any one of scores of financial newsletters. The files of the Archive are a record of warnings about stock market bubbles, depressions and wars. The recent spike in worldwide oil prices is just the latest grist for the mill. As the cover of the 8-1/2˝ x 11˝ magalog for Energy in Focus says, “The economy is sinking like dead weight” (Archive code #270-715078-0805). The copy inside debunks various oil industry “myths,” and offers a free subscription to the newsletter, to help choose the right investments.
The sample issue promotion for Outstanding Investments mailed in a 6˝ x 9˝ envelope, describes the factors it sees as responsible for the “Oil War of 2008,” and also promises safer investments (Archive code #270-693578-0805). Meanwhile, another mailing promises that salvation is just around the corner. “Breakthrough technology to knock gasoline down to $1 a gallon” proclaims the teaser on the #10 outer for the Oil & Energy Investment Report (Archive code #270-637645-0805).
The Archive has seen an increase in mailings from nonprofits in recent months focusing on the challenges facing women internationally. Efforts by FINCA and Women for Women have promoted economic development and self-sufficiency, while CARE has worked to end the practice of genital cutting and build self-empowerment.
In May, Amnesty International mailed two nearly identical mailings for its worldwide campaign to Stop Violence Against Women (Archive codes #601-171583-0805C and #601-171583-0705D). The two-page letter and four-page memo, mailed in #11 envelopes, powerfully describe the physical threats to women, detail the progress the organization has made and set goals for further advancements. As part of the call to action, donors are asked to sign petitions on the reply form for their state’s U.S. Senators to pass legislation that would expand anti-violence programs. Although one of the efforts was mailed to its “Leadership Group” of higher-value donors, the ask amounts on both mailings are the same.
Grand Control Update & Profile
Joining the honored ranks of the Archive’s Grand Controls (controls in the mail for three or more years) are mailings by National Cancer Coalition (Archive code #604-637289-0805) and WNYC Radio (Archive code #602-273650-0805A). The latter effort is especially interesting because of how it simply, but effectively, makes its case. If you’re like many regular listeners to a public radio station, you’re probably at least a little irritated by the on-air fund drives that are held every few months. For days on end, your favorite shows and music are replaced by pleas for money.
But over the last five years, New York’s WNYC has used its “Buy Back Campaign” to make its pledge drives more bearable by making them shorter. As the letter in this appeal says, it’s a “partnership” based on a “simple idea”: for every $120,000 received ahead of time, the station will reduce the upcoming drive by one day. The member is reminded that her funds not only pay for national programs from NPR, but a “rich variety” of local programs as well.