Build a Relationship
A Shift in Focus
In addition to making membership more attractive, the Foundation recognizes the importance of its non-member donors and plans to devote more attention to this segment this year. In 2002, the Arthritis Foundation will expand its efforts to tap into—with different messaging—a younger audience at risk for arthritis.
Its traditional direct mail audience consists of people at risk or affected by arthritis, the majority of which are women in their 50s. Until this year, acquisition mailings, which are dropped four times a year for a total of 17 million pieces, exclusively targeted this audience with its membership offer.
"Now we are focusing some of our efforts and message of prevention on the [baby] boomer audience," indicates Moore. Because this segment isn't quite ready to talk about arthritis as it pertains to them, the Foundation will separate its acquisition tracks and approach boomers with more of a standard donor acquisition appeal, rather than a membership offer.
Says Moore: "This is the first time we will really engage this segment of the population in a charitable contribution appeal."
The organization's shift in focus will significantly change its list strategy because the lists it rents from other charities don't have a large number of baby boomers on their files. It will attempt to reach more of these younger prospects by testing lists outside its core audience.
This year, it also will be testing subscription lists that may not have worked for membership-driven mailings but may perform for a mailing with more of a traditional subscription appeal targeting those who would rather receive a subscription to Arthritis Today, than be a member of the organization.
Direct Mail Dominates
The Arthritis Foundation's longest running acquisition control is its annual fund with membership offer, which has been in the mail since the mid-1990s. It is a relatively inexpensive package to produce, mailed in a monarch format with a personalized and localized touch, double buck response slip, and a temporary membership card preprinted with the prospect's name.