Amy Syracuse

All donors are not created equal. As in the for-profit world, the most financially valuable individuals are the ones who undertake long-term relationships with an organization-those who embrace a nonprofit's mission and make donations again and again. In a perfect world, fundraisers would be able to discern these individuals from the 70 percent of newly acquired donors whose first gifts are also their last, and invest in them accordingly.

It’s not always what you say. Sometimes it’s to whom you say it that matters most—at least that’s the experience of the direct marketing team at Wisconsin–based AIG Travel Guard, a leading travel insurance plan provider and part of the American International Group Inc. conglomerate. Charged with growing the company’s consumer direct business, the team had long sought to home in on prospects that fit the image of its typical customers: the “NPR [National Public Radio] crowd,” as Carol Mueller, AIG Travel Guard’s director of marketing communications, describes them.

Challenge: Boost awareness of a cause largely overlooked in the developed world and reach new donors. Solution: Leverage social marketing forums. Results: More than 77,000 Web hits since the campaign began in January 2007. The average user of Second Life, a Web-based virtual world in which residents (represented by animated “avatars”) interact with their surroundings and each other, is 33 years old, American or European, technologically savvy with a relatively high income. Not exactly the type of person you would expect to relate to the challenge of finding clean water. But, thanks to the work of the nonprofit Global Water Foundation (GWF) and communications specialists, French|West|Vaughan (FWV),

Direct mail is marketing’s workhorse for a reason. It’s resolute and reliable, even in the face of challenge. According to the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) “2006 Response Rate Trends Report,” the medium produces the second highest response rates (behind catalogs) for marketers seeking to solicit direct-order sales or motivate customers to make a charitable contribution. So how does one of the oldest marketing mediums stay effective and relevant despite intense competition? For this special report on production and paper, we asked some of the best and brightest minds in the direct mail business to share their opinions on the trends driving innovation in the

Less may be more—at least when it comes to outer envelopes, suggests Michelle Rudiman, director of marketing for design software solution provider Autodesk. The company put this theory to the test during a direct mail campaign in September 2005, replacing the standard back panel on 83⁄4˝ x 111⁄2˝ envelopes with an oversized poly window, 7˝ x 91⁄2˝ in size. The campaign was designed to boost awareness and use of Autodesk’s e-Learning resources among subscription customers, primarily engineering designers and architects. E-Learning is a set of online tutorials that helps users improve their proficiency with Autodesk software. Autodesk historically had communicated with its subscription customers via

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