[Editor's note: In September, the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA) held its annual Package of the Year Awards luncheon to honor the winning packages. Through the end of the year, FundRaising Success will highlight some of the winners here in Today in Fundraising.]
There's no better way to keep donors in the fold than by making them feel like a real, integral part of your organization. That's exactly the approach the ASPCA takes with its midlevel renewal package, and in 2012, the package was such a hit that it took home the DMFA's Midlevel Renewal Package of the Year award.
The ASPCA defines a midlevel donor as anyone who donates $500 a year, either as a one-time gift or the cumulative yearly giving sum. For those donors, the organization that's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the U.S. strives to send cost-efficient, mass personalization content. So with its renewal appeal, it sends an "insider" memo mailing.
The outer envelope is a manila-type office envelope, the kind you'd see for interoffice correspondence. In fact, the header on the envelope reads: "INTER-DEPARTMENTAL MAIL." Then it has names and type such as "URGENT" and "CONFIDENTIAL" crossed out, like it's made its way through the office. On the reverse is the ASPCA logo and information, along with the teaser, "Together we CAN save countless animals' lives. See enclosed for details," in faux handwriting.
"The hard thing, obviously, is to get the package opened," says Andrea O'Brien, director of midlevel giving at ASPCA. "This looks like a manila folder, interoffice mail, which is intriguing."
Inside the package, the interoffice memo theme continues. In fact, there are two letters, one in handwriting font signed by O'Brien, who also manages the ASPCA's midlevel giving program, the Founder's Society, thanking donors and describing the urgent need, while the other is an actual replica memo, sent to President and CEO Edwin Sayres from Andy Monterose, the senior director of the ASPCA Transport Program.
The memo describes the program and its need, shares stories and stresses the importance of the donor.
The other contents include an image of an animal in need of transport, an insert about how the Transport Program is saving lives, a reply device that describes what certain levels of the donor's Founder's gift can provide and the return envelope.
This package was mailed in 2011 and then updated with small tweaks for 2012.
"There was a sublet change inside from 2011," O'Brien says. "There is no direct ask, but it highlighted the funding need and really brought across the feeling of the donor as a partner."
As it turns out, this little tweak significantly increased the average gift and brought in about $200,000 overall, also besting the 2011 total, showing the power of making donors feel like partners in the cause.