June was an interesting mail month in the nonprofit sector. First of all, volume was down … way down. The number of fundraising efforts received by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive in June represented a 22.4 percent drop from the sector’s average for the first five months of 2006 and a 12.2 percent drop from the same period in 2005. This smaller mail universe was ruled by two very different types of mailings: long-term controls and short-term summer appeals.
It makes sense that mailers would turn to high-performing control packages to help keep response up at a time of year when vacations, holidays, end-of-school festivities and nice weather keep consumers away from their mailboxes. It also makes sense that they would not want to skew a new package’s test results by trying it out at a time of year that traditionally brings lower response. And that’s exactly what the Archive saw. For example, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation mailed a Monarch-sized envelope effort that the Archive has been receiving since early 2004. Inside the brown kraft outer, this “65 Roses”-themed mailing includes a sheet of 45 address labels, a brief letter, a lift note written by a young girl with cystic fibrosis and an insert promoting the premium, a 2007 “‘65 Roses’ wall calendar” (Archive code #604-171928-0605).
Paralyzed Veterans of America also mailed an address-label-heavy control: a 6" x 9" envelope effort with 83 animal-themed labels that the Archive has received nearly every month since November 2004 (Archive code #604-171930-0605).
Other control efforts that arrived in June came from American Cancer Society, Disabled American Veterans, Alzheimer’s Association, American Institute for Cancer Research, The Wilderness Society, American Civil Liberties Union, Environmental Defense Fund, National Parks Conversation Association, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Care, among others.
Of the new efforts the Archive did see, the majority were summer-themed special appeals, though one mailer, American Cancer Society (ACS), bridged that gap with a summer appeal that the Archive has received once a year—in June—for the last four years (Archive code #604-171602-0606A). The undersized, 4" x 6" mailing features a note card bearing an image of two rocking chairs overlooking a lake. The note inside references the work ACS is doing in the recipient’s neighborhood and stresses the importance of giving to the summer campaign. A reply device with an ask string ranging from $50 to $100 is nested inside the card and a bright yellow lift note reminds the recipient that one in three Americans will have cancer in their lifetime.