NARAL Calls on Members
In the land of nonprofit direct mail, address labels and greeting cards are often the go-to freemiums. Personal and bearing the organization's name and logo, they are both useful and convey an allegiance to a cause.
In February, the Who's Mailing What! Archive netted a renewal effort from NARAL Pro-Choice America that, rather than including the commonly used nonprofit freemiums, uses one of the more unique freemiums that we have seen pass through the Archive: five business-style cards (Archive code #601-171759-0502A).
The white #10 outer envelope is sparse, save for the NARAL Pro-Choice America name and logo in the return address; "personal" stamped in red below it; and "2005 Renewal" below that. Enclosed within the mailing is a three-page 8-1/2" x 11" letter, a 7-1/2" x 8-1/2" renewal confirmation form, the five business-style cards in a 2-1/2" x 4-1/4" opaque envelope, and a BRE.
According to Ted Miller, deputy director of communications at NARAL, this marks the fifth year this format, now a control, has been used to renew members. Targeted to the $100-plus members of the organizationwhat NARAL calls its "Leadership Circle"the mailing includes features, such as woven paper for the letter and renewal form, that give it a distinguished feel.
The "personalized wallet cards," as Miller calls them, also make the mailing stand out. Purple copy on eggshell cardstock, the 2" x 3-1/2" cards feature a top banner with the NARAL name and logo and copy reading "2005 Leadership Circle." Below the banner are the renewing member's name and address and the date she first became a member. At the foot of the cards is the NARAL Web site address.
While the cards might seem like nifty freemiums meant to be tell-a-friend motivatorsand, with the Web address, they certainly can be used to that endtheir intended purpose actually was much more benign.
"The personalized wallet cards are really a token of appreciation and they go beyond the more traditional address labels at offering a front-end premium," says Miller. He adds that the main goal of the cards is "to solidify [donors'] feeling of inclusion and how special they are to our program. ... They are really kind of the backbone of our direct mail membership program."
Karin Kirchoff, vice president of client services for Washington, D.C.-based direct response agency Adams Hussey and Associates, creators of the mailing and the primary firm used by NARAL, agrees, likening the freemium to membership cards in the way they display members' pride in supporting the organization.
Kirchoff adds that the cards actually were designed to be like old-time calling cards. "Back in the '40s, '50s time frame, calling cards were a fairly common thing that folks would leave if they visited a friend or an acquaintance," says Kirchoff. "A lot of our donors would look back to that time and understand this concept of having a calling card."
Pulling an average response rate of about 10 percent, the mailing is not only securing annual renewals, says Miller, but it's been successful in upgrading members' annual support as well. He adds, "It's a very tried-and-true attempt to get people to continue to not only renew their memberships, but in some cases, increase the amount of their giving to the organization."