A Fundraising Tour de Force
You don’t have to be a cyclist to know who Lance Armstrong is and what he’s accomplished. The seven-time Tour de France winner and survivor of testicular cancer is a mainstay in the media — whether he’ll compete for his eighth Tour de France win next year; his recent engagement to singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow; or his organization, the Austin, Texas-based Lance Armstrong Foundation, which raises funds to fight cancer through education, advocacy, and public health and research programs.
And you don’t have to own a bicycle or even know how to ride one to recognize the ubiquitous, yellow, rubber LIVESTRONG wristbands donned — at one point or another — by more than 50 million people worldwide. Sold at $1 each by the LAF, the bracelets are part of a program started in May 2004 that sparked a rubber-bracelet fundraising craze.
Prior to the LAF’s launch of the LIVESTRONG bracelet program, it was mailing what it refers to as its “friends control.” It mailed in a standard, yellow, No. 10 outer envelope featuring a black-and-white action photograph of Armstrong racing alongside copy that reads, “Join Lance! RSVP.”
The mailing included a two-page letter with a yellow strip across the top, and a six-panel brochure with black-and-white photos of Armstrong in action and a description of the foundation’s work. Also included, along with a white BRE and a small LAF window decal, was a reply device with a headshot of Armstrong and a tiered ask string with named levels ($25 is a teammate; $50, partner; $100, leader, etc.). Donors who gave $25 or more became an active “Friend of Lance Armstrong” and got a newsletter and other benefits, including a signable “Friend of Lance Armstrong Foundation” perf-off card. Gifts over $100 got a Lance Armstrong lapel pin.
Tiffani Hunt, the LAF’s development services coordinator, says the control package was successful, and the decision to test against it was made alongside a post-LIVESTRONG rubber-wristband revamp in the LAF’s direct-response program that included e- and direct-mail appeals.