Habitat Builds Trust
In this age of Do-Not-Call there's a clear need to respect the contact wishes of prospects so as not to alienate them. While this can pose some challenges for direct marketers, there are opportunities to foster trusting relationships with prospects when you respect their preferences.
Americus, Ga.-based nonprofit Habitat for Humanity International knows this well, taking advantage of an opportunity to communicate with past donors who have indicated--over the phone or by writing in on an appeal or other correspondence--that they would prefer not to be called, via a #10 envelope package that appeared in the Who's Mailing What! Archive in June (Archive code #601-171766-0506).
Sent to support the Habitat Challenge, an annual campaign run every year during the late spring and summer that asks for funding during what is Habitat's biggest building time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the mailing's white outer bears merely the Habitat Challenge '05 logo in blue and green, and blue copy reading, "You Asked Us Not to Call ..."
According to Tim Daugherty, senior director of direct marketing for Habitat, this mailing is sent to past donors who otherwise would have been part of a telemarketing appeal, had they not asked Habitat not to call them.
"We pull a certain pool of donors that look like likely responders to a telemarketing campaign and then we'll split that into two groups," says Daugherty. "Ones who have not made a request against telemarketing appeals and ones who have made a request saying, 'please do not call me.' The ones who say 'please don't call me,' we send this letter. The ones who haven't made that sort of request, we actually call."
Enclosed in the mailing is a 3-1/2" x 8-1/2" reply device, a 2-1/2" x 4" photograph of a family that received a Habitat home, a four-page, 8-1/2" x 11" letter, and a 4" x 9" BRE. However, the outer is the only element that mentions that this package was sent in lieu of a phone call out of respect for the donors' wish to not be called.
"It has to do mostly with the level of giving in their past history," Daugherty says, referring to the factors that qualify someone for the telemarketing campaign. "It also has to do with whether or not we've telemarketed to them before and if they've responded or not, and the recency of the donor. So those are the three main factors we look at to [see] who we think would be productive for a telemarketing appeal versus the less expensive route of direct mail."
The choice to use this outer envelope with the "You Asked Us Not to Call ..." copy also is about communicating a relationship of trust from the get-go in the hopes of getting the envelope opened, says Daugherty.
"Part of it is acknowledging that you're adhering to their wishes, but you're still communicating with them," he adds. "The outside basically acknow-ledges that at some point you communicated with us that you would rather not be contacted by telephone. We're honoring that request, and we've
chosen to communicate with you this way instead."
Though he wasn't at liberty to share specific response results, Daugherty says this package has been mailing for a few years and is working.
"Just by virtue of the fact that it's still on our docket and it's been working for the past couple of years," says Daugherty, "proves that it's been effective."