Anatomy of a Control: World Wildlife Foundation
A bookend email campaign adds to the success of the mailing. Email messages featuring similar creative, a letter written from Dack, and images of the free calendar and premium choices were sent to about 40 percent of the direct mail recipients both before and after the calendar package hit. Dack says the email messages raised about $12,000 in gifts, but more importantly, direct mail response increased among those segments who received both mail and email messages.
She thinks the email messages give donors pause when they receive the direct mailing. "When [donors] get the mailing in their mailbox, they hold on to it and think, ‘Oh, I saw something about this,'" Dack illustrates. Sending emails in addition to direct mail, she says, also teaches donors to think multichannel and interact with the organization both in the mail and online.
WWF mails to about 1 million prospective, current and lapsed members each month. Those who become members are typically around 60 years old, 72 percent are female and most are highly educated. Mailings sent throughout the year, to both house and acquisition names, can range in format from more traditional #10s, to big packages with up-front premiums such as calendars, cards, gift wrap or notepads. This control mailing happens to be the first of the fiscal year and receives an average gift of $23 for house names and $18 for acquisition. Dack says this campaign is WWF's strongest, due to its high response rate, and she says she'll definitely be mailing the calendar package next year.
To keep the control strong, Dack plans to continue testing creative and lists. She is considering bumping the double calendar up from a test to a control feature. One thing is certain, that WWF members will be waiting for next year's calendar, to see if their votes for the cover image won! "I think we give them a great product, with beautiful photos ... I think it's something people wait for in the mail every year," Dack concludes.