Anatomy of a Control: World Wildlife Foundation
Of the two buckslips enclosed in the mailing, one advertises the three premium choices and offers 10 environmental tips on the back, and a second slip features the stickers to vote for the 2011 calendar cover animal and statistics about how WWF allocates its funds on the reverse. Also enclosed are a BRE and the highlight of the package, a colorful 16-month calendar with the theme of wildlife babies. "We've tested various themes over the years, such as families, friends, together in nature and portraits, but our most successful one is the wildlife babies," Dack says (Archive code #610-171878-0907B).
The first drop was sent in July to both acquisition and house names. There was a second drop sent to acquisitions in early September, and a final drop to remaining house names, including lapsed members, in October. Altogether WWF sent out more than 3 million calendar control packages. Dack says the organization chooses to send its calendar mailings beginning in July, to keep up with market trends. "You want to be in people's mailboxes at the same time as all of the other nonprofit organizations send their calendars," she explains. The calendar offers 16 months so members have the opportunity to use it as early as September.
During the rollout, there were several test panels at play. WWF tested a full-bleed image of the baby tiger on the front outer instead of an image of the calendar itself. It also tested sending two calendars to previous members and tested its typical plush stuffed animal premium choices against newer, more eco-friendly alternatives, such as the totes, umbrella and water bottles offered in this package.
In response to the flagging economy, WWF performed an interesting ask string test for previous donors. Dack says most nonprofits try to upgrade donors every year, with ask strings of 1, 1.25, 1.5 and 2 times above their previous gifts, but last spring, WWF began testing ask strings of .75, 1, 1.25 and 1.5. By making the first ask amount lower than last year's gift, Dack says the average gift has lowered slightly, but response has increased and overall revenue has increased. She repeated the test again this year and got the same great results.