Inserts Reinforce Membership Benefits
The benefits and privileges associated with a membership to The Kennedy Center are so exceptional that the membership program and its
direct marketing consultants were careful to repeat them several times throughout this acquisition control, an effort that has been generating positive results for the organization for several years (Archive code #580-171875-0509).
Prospects, who include single-ticket buyers, subscribers and those who have provided contact information at The Kennedy Center or via its Web site, receive a four-page letter, a membership acceptance form, a brochure and a buckslipcomponents that enumerate membership benefits and privilegesalong with a BRE.
While membership benefits are reiterated throughout the package, the official explanation of membership levels and the benefits and privileges associated with each appears both on the back of the package's membership acceptance form, and on the glossy brochure that also features members' testimonials extolling the benefits of membership.
According to Sara Strother, manager of annual giving, mentioning the benefits in multiple places serves to reinforce the message and capture prospects who may have overlooked one of the pieces. "I think it's nice to have another brochure piece that includes them," says Strother. "This is just another design piece that breaks up the size and visual effect. And it's also something they can keep or give to a friend. ... Besides that, the membership acceptance form comes back to us, so there's nothing for them to keep that has their benefits on it."
One of the key benefits of a Kennedy Center membership is ticket priority, a point well-illustrated on the effort's buckslip, which reads, "Become a Member today and you'll enjoy Ticket Priority for these upcoming performances!" Strother says that the impetus for putting this information on the buckslip was to remind prospects that a membership will enable them to purchase tickets to the listed performances in advance of the general public.
In addition to the inserts, the four-page letter also addresses membership benefits including a subscription to The Kennedy Center's newsletter, In the Spotlight, and an invitation to events such as backstage tours and private receptions with artists. Glenn Sewell, assistant manager of membership for The Kennedy Center, says, "Typically, our experience has been that when you test a four-page against a two-pagewhich we've done in the pastthe four-page always wins ... And we have a lot of information to give them, so four pages ... typically outperforms two-page[s]."
Another important aspect of the control is the outer envelope, which reads "RSVP" and features a nonprofit stamp. A handwriting-style address font furthers the personal feel of the mailing.
The Kennedy Center mails four acquisition campaigns annually, and although the membership and annual giving teams were not able to share specific numbers regarding response, they explained that it will continue mailing the effort until one of its many tests beats the control.