Archive Observations: Searching For Members Near And Far
Museums and cultural organizations typically offer a one-size-fits-all membership to prospects regardless of where they live. But two mailings received by the Archive in recent months depart from that norm. In August, Smithsonian Associates, an arm of the Smithsonian Institution, mailed an offer targeting residents in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. "Enrich your life" reads the teaser on the #10 OSE, and, inside, the letter and brochure spell out in detail the wide variety of programs, seminars, tours and discounts available to members who are only a short drive or Metro ride away from its museums. The Smithsonian is presented as a living, breathing place where it's "time to invest in you" (Archive code #576-171699-0808A).
In August, as in June, the Museum of Modern Art took a different tack, with an offer aimed at people living at least 150 miles from New York. The National Membership is priced at $15 less than the Individual one; otherwise, the benefits are identical. The letter focuses on MoMA's national outreach campaigns and traveling exhibitions, while reminding the prospect that exclusive member discounts at hotels can be used the next time you're in New York" (Archive code #576-172209-0808).
A few response-boosting devices that have been successful over the years reappeared in August's mailstream. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF mailed a campaign to provide nutritional supplements to children in Darfur. It used a "shipping label" as part of the reply form; a part of it shows through a small window next to the address window on the #10 outer (Archive code #613-171657-0808A). Project HOPE has used the shipping label reply device for years in its efforts supporting vaccinations.
A "get-out-the-vote" mailing by the Republican National Committee was mailed in a #10 OSE carrying John McCain's name. It includes a 3-1/2" x 5-3/4" index card personalized with the party member's contact information so that it can be verified, and, of course, be returned with a donation (Archive code #608-171934-0808E). This technique has been used by both major parties, as well as other fundraisers, for over 20 years.