Room for Growth
When New York's New Museum opened the doors to its new facility in December 2007, replacing its small museum with limited membership, the doors of opportunity opened wide for a direct mail program to bring more people through those doors. "Prior to the opening, mailings were few and tailored to smaller lists and individuals," explains Joyce Sitterly, associate director of development, membership at the New Museum. "We have developed a strategy to maximize renewal of current members while acquiring new members through acquisition mailings, lobby sales, special promotions and other efforts."
New Museum's recent acquisitions campaign reflects the organization's new strategy and its commitment to acquiring new members. Its 6" x 9" mailing focuses on the museum's fall exhibit, "Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton," and the artist's work is prominently featured throughout the effort. "Elizabeth Peyton is an important artist, so it was an opportunity to reach a broader audience," says Sitterly (Archive code #576-717290-0811).
Inside, a two-page letter describes the exhibit, the museum, its mission and the benefits of membership. It invites prospects to attend a private viewing of the exhibit if they join by a certain date, as well as a more exclusive opening reception with the artist and curator of the show if they donate at the deluxe level by the specified date. Prospective members can reply using the enclosed membership application that lists all membership levels.
But the package's most noteworthy aspect is its full-color, trifold brochure that portrays the artist's work, a description of her style and a clear explanation of benefits. "Membership packages are formulaic in the sense [that] most packages include a piece to communicate the message and another to reply," explains Sitterly. "But we are always exploring ways to be different and capture our audience's attention, so it's about taking these obvious pieces and adding an element of surprise. I think the brochure in the ‘Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton' package does this."