For a Nonprofit, a Little Game of Show and Sell
Historically speaking, membership forms (or donor forms) have not borrowed much from the for-profit sector. Dig deep in the Who's Mailing What! Archive and you will find an array of bland, uninspired membership forms, devoid of four-color process or graphic images. Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, a Jewish faith charitable organization based in Monsey, NY, presumably wanted to change all that.
In September, Chofetz Chaim dropped a #10 donor prospecting effort that included an 8-1/2" x 7-1/2" membership form detailing the benefits of each donation platform (609CHCHHF0903). The form displays color images with accompanying copy for each item the contributor will receive by giving a gift.
Tom Herrmann, executive vice president of marketing and business development for Mailnet Services, a provider of marketing automation solutions and customer communications with many nonprofit clients, says this technique is not too unusual for charitable organizations to be implementing.
"Many nonprofits today are marketing more and more like businesses," Herrmann avers. "Many appeals show the [donor] more of what's in it for them, rather than what's in it for the organization."
Each membership category offers prospective donors a generous sampling from Chofetz Chaim's book and tape collection, as well as a subscription to its e-mail newsletter. The top tier even promises that the recipient's name, or the name of his or her loved one, will be inscribed at Chofetz Chaim's new world headquarters. In perusing the membership form, prospects can clearly see what their greenbacks will fetch them, and also how they might go about anteing up. Note: The top three membership categories offer a monthly payment plan.
What's more, Chofetz Chaim is forward-thinking enough to include a donation category that falls beneath the above suggested platforms. Boxed copy reads: "Please accept my donation of $18 so that you may continue your work. As a gift I would like the following tape sent to me ... " Still, donors are given a choice of what gift they will receive.
"The best marketing in this respect is done not with trivial [premiums], but rather with items relevant to the customerin this case, donors," Herrmann affirms. "All these [items] point to being grounded in the Jewish faith."
The notion of reinforcing the benefits can even be observed within the four-page letter. " ... Which is why your membership in the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation is so critically important right this very moment and why it will benefit you right here and now ... There's so much on the line and you stand to benefit directly through your active membership ... "
When push comes to sell, Chofetz Chaim packs a for-profit punch.