2014 Gold Awards for Fundraising Excellence Direct Mail ($10 million and Over) Winners
Response rate: 3.42 percent
Total cost: $122,613
Income generated: $487,171
Average gift: $2,619
Cost to raise a dollar: $0.25
Sometimes, it still pays to think inside the box. But it all depends on what’s in there.
Our judges were downright giddy to get their hands on this stunning campaign from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to fund its new Buerger Center. The allure of the hefty mailer, in box form, grabbed them right away.
Inside, they found highly personalized elements including personalized blueprints of the building and a handwritten note from CHOP’s executive VP (with his business card and contact info).
This mailing, which went out to low-dollar donors, midlevel donors, major donors and the hospital’s board of trustees during a peak fundraising time (November to December 2013), was a risky one. The hospital had never mailed to both low-dollar donors and major donors at the same time. The package also needed to redirect donor attention from patient stories (the crux of all previous fundraising efforts) to funding a building. There was no choice but to make it genuinely unique.
“From using a Buerger Center-branded box as the carrier to including personalized blueprints of the building, the intention was for the donor to feel that they had been hand-selected to receive an exclusive invitation to become part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Christina Kukelhaus, an account executive at Schultz & Williams.
Our judges also applauded the hospital’s willingness to take a risk, as well as the package’s ability to draw a great average gift without sacrificing response rate.
Response rate: 1.36 percent
Total cost: $129,371.78
Income generated: $378,255
Average gift: $92.14
Cost to raise a dollar: $0.34
Longwood Gardens was faced with no small problem in 2013, when results for its 2012 appeal had fallen nearly 50 percent from the previous year. The 2011 campaign got a 1.1 percent response rate with a non-traditional package that contained a four-page letter, a benefits insert and a reply form.
The 2012 campaign was written and designed in-house, and for 2013 Longwood Gardens recognized that it might need some outside counsel. Once it partnered with Daniller + Co., it aimed to test an improved version of the successful 2011 format against a shorter letter with more images. The 2013 control maintained 2011’s 6-inch-by-9-inch format and offers but was updated with a new theme, a more welcoming and appreciative “you” tone aimed at gardeners and garden lovers, and more “people pictures” with a deliberate mix of ages and activities. With the refreshed control in place, the organization tested three packages around offers, extra package components, and letter length and format.
This silver-award-winning campaign greatly exceeded projections, securing more members and generating higher income than anticipated. It also outperformed the wildly successful 2011 control, becoming Longwood’s most successful package to date.
BRONZE: Perez Art Museum Miami — November 2013 Member Acquisition Campaign (Submitted by Daniller & Co.)
Response rate: 1.97 percent
Total cost: $66,210.83
Income generated: $455,404.66
Average gift: $207.95
Cost to raise a dollar: $0.15
Toward the end of 2013, the Perez Art Museum Miami found itself in something of a good news/bad news situation. The good news was that 1) the former Miami Art Museum was about to reopen with a new name in a stunning new facility, and 2) the period just before a grand opening is a fabulous time to fundraise. The bad news was that depressed results due to mail fatigue were a real possibility because two previous mailings had gone out just prior. Plus, the museum was looking to expand its supporter base by reaching out to both upscale audiences seeking recognition and lower-income audiences who might not ever have considered museum membership.
This award-winning package deftly combined features that managed to appeal to both audiences, including a members opening event, opportunities for permanent recognition, free admission, and other premiums and discounts. Plus, the package itself was vibrant with consistent messaging and imagery throughout.
In the end, results for the campaign greatly surpassed projections, with a net income of $389,193 (exceeding the projected figure of $12,300). Average gift reached $207.95 (far exceeding the $85 expectation), and return for dollar invested was nearly five times higher than the projected at $6.88.