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Two years ago, the Foundation began testing a mini-greeting card as a new format for its membership offer. The mailing pulled a better response and a higher average gift than the monarch format package.
While both packages are effective and efficient uses of fund-raising dollars, according to Moore, the mini-greeting card format is a little more expensive to mail. Because the Foundation can't afford to mail the mini-greeting card format to all acquisition lists, it has adapted a two control package acquisition strategy. According to Moore, both the monarch format and mini-greeting card packages are mailed as part of the Foundation's direct mail prospecting efforts, but the list to which each package is sent is selected based on the past performance of the list with each package and on the overall potential of the list.
"Some of the lists definitely work better with the mini-greeting card and therefore the overall response and net revenue are healthy even though the package [cost] is higher," explains Moore. "If a list has marginal performance to both packages but still falls within a healthy acquisition fund-raising ratio, we'll use the less expensive package to ensure the net revenue is as great as possible."
It also sends monthly mailings to warm prospects; these are individuals who may have attended a special fund-raising event—such as an Arthritis Foundation-sponsored support group or seminar—or requested a brochure from the Foundation within the past 30 days. These hotline names then are sent a follow-up mailing with creative tailored to the event the prospect attended or the information he or she requested.
While its use of direct mail obviously is significant, the Foundation also runs space ads when it can buy space at remnant prices or arrange an ad swap with its magazine, Arthritis Today. It also plans to begin prospecting by