Direct Mail (Less Than $10 Million): City Harvest and Good Counsel Homes
- Number of recipients: 85,060
- Response rate: 4.92 percent
- Total cost: $20,949
- Income generated: $587,755.63
- Average gift: $140.31
- Cost to raise a dollar: $0.04
- Number of recipients: 16,589
- Response rate: 9.41 percent
- Total cost: $16,115
- Income generated: $179,065
- Average gift: $114.71
- Cost to raise a dollar: $0.09
This was the category that the judges struggled with the most. Both packages had terrific results, both were moving and both were powerful. And, really, both were quite simple. But both were all of these things — in different ways.
Just as we would settle on one “clear winner,” someone would hold up the other and say, “But, what about this one?”
Ultimately, we opted for a tie because the level of “same but also completely different” between these packages was just too close to call.
First, we have City Harvest’s delightful Thank You/Happy Holidays card campaign. The letter is good, solid and to-the-point. But what sends this package over the top is the artwork. You’re immediately drawn in to the package by a hand-drawn truck and some apples on the outer envelope, which is nicely odd-sized. Once inside, there’s a delightful card created by 9-year-old Jordan, depicting a City Harvest truck, a few fruits and vegetables, and a handwritten “thank you.” It’s an end-of-year appeal but forgoes any faith-specific holiday design, focusing instead on bright colors and the mission of City Harvest, which is delivering food to needy New Yorkers. This card is what kept drawing the judges back to this package over and over.
But then there is the Good Counsel Financial Need Appeal, with next to no art other than the organization’s simple logo featuring a black-and-white image of a woman and child over the tagline: “Homes Helping Single Mothers and Babies Since 1985.”
Neither the art nor the outer immediately grabs you, and the judges were concerned about its “open me” factor — or seemingly lack thereof. But the response rate was great, so we knew there was something special waiting inside.
And there was. The contents were as unassuming as the outer, but the letter was outstanding:
“I knew I had to break the news to our mothers that we might have to close their home — but the words just weren’t coming to me.
“It was a warm fall night outside, but I suddenly felt a chill.
“We had done all we could to keep the doors open …”
The letter from Executive Director Christopher Bell continues, explaining the dire straights in which the organization had found itself — it was so bad that Bell had to explain to a number of women in need that one of the organization’s homes had to be closed.
The letter also relies on a deadline and a specific amount needed — $150,000 by Oct. 15 to avoid closing another home — to up the urgency factor.
These two packages are terrific examples of playing to your strengths to get your supporters’ attention, and the results bear that out.
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