Downsized Effort Yields Full-color Appeal
The rediscovery of the once-believed-extinct ivory-billed woodpecker was occasion enough for the National Audubon Society to break the mold this past summer and appeal to members and donors with a highly personalized, four-color mailing that, at 4" x 6", is much smaller than its usual efforts (Archive code #610-171818-0508).
Enclosed in the compact mailing is a 31/2" x 5" four-color notecard featuring an image of the rediscovered woodpecker on its front, and copy inside detailing the ask and the bird's history, along with a BRE. Nested inside the notecard is an equally colorful urgent request form/reply card with a perf-off membership card.
The decision to test a smaller effort enabled the organization to branch out in several new creative directions, including the use of four-color artwork throughout the package. "Given that we were saving a bit on paper due to the package size, we didn't mind so much the [the additional expense] of a four-color card," explains Mike Tolen, the National Audubon Society's marketing manager.
The size also allowed the nonprofit to develop an effort with a more personal feel. "We do a lot of 6" x 9" packages so we felt something like this would stand out more in the mailbox," explains Tolen. "It almost looks like an invitation to a wedding or something a little bit more personal, so we're just trying to get noticed in the mailbox."
To further give the impression of an invitation, a Nonprofit stamp was placed on the two-color, speckled outer envelope. "We felt that was just more appropriate given this creativethat it would look more personal, more like an invite. This is a higher-end package, and we just thought that the stamp would communicate that better," Tolen adds.
But the creative isn't the only element that distinguishes this appeal. The level of personalization employed in this campaign was deliberate and speaks to the caliber of the effort. "This notecard personalization approach is also something new that we're testing," says Tolen.
For Tolen, delivering an effective message and reaching the target audience meant personalizing several aspects of the mailing. Not only was the recipient's name printed on the inside of the notecard and on the membership card, it also was included on the back of the notecard with copy leading the reader inside.
The National Audubon Society used this special appeal as an opportunity to upgrade giving and reactivate lapsed donors. In an effort to further personalize the campaign, the ask string was formulated based on each targeted donor's highest previous contribution. Tolen explains, "We ask people for their highest previous contribution. Then one and a half times that, two times that, and then there's always an open-ended 'other' for people to write in an amount."
And while this particular housefile mailing was a special appeal mailed in July, the organization sent out several versions of the mailing with similar creative but different letter copy and goals, including another 4" x 6" mailing with a magnet freemium, which went out in August.
In addition to its renewal mailings, typically the organization has 20 annual campaignsseven of which are appeals, and the rest acquisitions and telemarketing.
Although Tolen says the final results are not in yet, he is optimistic about its future. "If it does well, we'll certainly mail it again. I think it will do well."