A Test That Captured the Changing Times
For nearly a decade, Freedom from Hunger's acquisitions control has been the steadfast "Loan Approved" package. The modest #10 mailing communicates the organization's focus on providing small loans to help women establish businesses to feed their families and change their lives. And for years, the organization has been frequently testing against this package with little success.
That is until late 2008, when the nonprofit decided to adapt a renewal package for its acquisitions audience-a package it fondly refers to as "Edgy Choice"-particularly in light of the economic hard times that so many prospects were experiencing, but also making it clear that the women the organization represented were suffering far more. To its great delight, the package performed strongly.
"We have been trying for years to beat ‘Loan Approved,'" explains Cathy Carley, account executive at Sanky Communications, the New York-based agency that works with Freedom from Hunger to develop its direct mail. She says the "Edgy Choice" package was a renewal that Freedom from Hunger had used over last summer, which it then converted into an acquisition package and is right now showing some considerable strength in beating "Loan Approved."
Similar to its predecessor, this new package is also a simple, #10 package with a four-page letter-a length the organization repeatedly has found to work well in acquisitions-along with a reply device and a BRE. The creative and format also resemble that of the control, and just as other packages do, it tells the personal stories of several women who have benefited from the organization's initiatives. "We like to tell a story of a woman that was given a chance," says Carley. "Everything that we do is about women, and we want to make sure that people know who these women are" (Archive code #605-172500-0902).
What sets this new package apart-and lends itself to the name "Edgy Choice"-is the emphasis it places on the harsh choices women in developing countries face daily. The letter opens with a checklist that calls on the prospective donor to consider which choice she would make: "Feed my children healthy food? OR Buy medicine for the one who is sick? Watch my children waste away from poor nutrition? OR Give them my own small portion of food-praying that we all survive the hungry season?"