Renewing the New
"Connect. Inspire. Empower." When Orthodox Union's National Conference of Synagogue Youth boldly delivered this message to 50,000 alumni and past supporters on the carrier envelope of a late summer membership renewal campaign, its hope was that the slogan would help convey a sense of belonging and establish a greater connection between the member and the organization in its first-ever membership effort.
"Since this was the first time we did it, it has a lot of elements of an acquisitions campaign," says Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, director of alumni connections at Orthodox Union, the parent organization of NCSY, which is dedicated to enriching Jewish teens' heritage. "They've given us donations before, so we were calling it a renewal because we figured we'd get a better response-and it did impact the response."
But unlike a traditional acquisitions campaign, the organization reached out to members of its housefile who were already affiliated with the organization. "Most of them are alumni, and if they're not alumni, they've usually been involved with us in one way or another," explains Felsenthal.
For the first time ever, NCSY rolled out with a membership renewal effort that became the second in a series of three mailings the organization sends to segments of its housefile. Both the spring mailing-asking for support of summer programs-and the December mailing-requesting support for its ongoing programs-have historically been #10 packages with similar creative.
But for its newest mailing, the organization opted to scale down the carrier envelope's window to show only the 2009 membership card with the member's name and address-rather than a full-size window that typically is used to show artwork and premiums.
"I want them to know that there's a membership card inside, and from my experience with the community we're targeting, people like to be part of a membership, part of a group," says Jeffrey Fried, partner in ADM Processing, the firm that NCSY works with to develop its direct mail. "We just wanted the person to see [his] name on the membership card before he opens it. People tend not to throw that away; they tend to appreciate the card that has their name on it already, and it's almost as if we're assuming he's a donor, assuming he's a member. And people have responded to that kind of mail piece."