Theories of Evolution
For an organization that began peddling its namesake in 1934—back when peddling anything required door-to-door visitation and a whole lot of shoe leather—it’s amazing to think that, over 70 years later, the Easter Seals’ seal remains a mark of donor commitment. According to Chris Cleghorn, executive vice president of interactive and direct marketing for Easter Seals, “It’s always been a core part of how we acquire new donors and also one of the main campaigns that we use to renew donors.”
Although the nonprofit’s annual donor drive has changed its spots numerous times since it first appeared in the mailstream, the overall theme has remained the same, and response just keeps getting better. As an acquisition piece, response rates typically are somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.8 percent to 4 percent and, in 2006, numbers were even higher than average, he says. With this year’s mailing, an 8-1/2˝ x 9-1⁄2˝ in-line-produced package, the organization hopes for a repeat of past successes and perhaps even to set a new precedent for the future (Archive code 604-180006-0701).
The 2007 iteration—a highly personalized, freemium-loaded effort—is the result of conscientious testing over the past few years. “Every component of this package has been tested into. Nothing’s there by chance,” affirms Cleghorn. In fact, it was the results from one such test that spurred the organization to adopt the larger in-line format as its exclusive acquisition control. The change was implemented about seven years ago, he reports, along with another creative tweak: the Easter seals, the driving force behind the fundraising effort, were updated and sent as a sheet of foil stickers. “It was the format and the seals that made it a breakthrough package for us. Our average response rate was somewhere around 2.3 percent with our prior package, and now it’s 3.8 [percent],” Cleghorn says.