A Look at the DMFA Package of the Year: Fountain House Flying Cat Package
To kick things off, today we discuss the 2011 Package of the Year, the Flying Cat Pads and Cards package — which also won Renewal Package of the Year — from Fountain House, a nonprofit dedicated to the recovery of men and women with mental illness by providing opportunities for its members to live, work and learn, while contributing their talents through a community of mutual support. FS spoke with Amy Tripi, president of Tripi Consulting, who worked with Fountain House to create the package.
Back in 2006, Fountain House and Tripi were tasked with doubling the organization's file size by the board. At that time, Fountain House had pushed out with mission-driven direct-mail campaigns and did not mail any premiums or freemiums. But with this new goal to grow the file, the idea of using premiums entered the fold.
"In crunching the numbers, the only way that we were going to be able to double the file size was if we were going to move into the world of premiums," Tripi says.
Luckily for Fountain House, coming up with premiums that tied in to the mission was easy. One of the organization's programs is running an art gallery showcasing artwork from members of the organization — people with mental disabilities such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. So it was only natural for Fountain House to use some the remarkable artwork its beneficiaries create for the Fountain Gallery as premiums.
Fountain House began mailing small note pads versus a card pack of the artwork and began testing different formats. What Tripi and Fountain House discovered first and foremost is that the premiums worked.
"In three years, we didn't just double the file size, we almost tripled it," Tripi says. "The premiums and the member artwork have become a real integral part of our direct-mail program since."
Through testing and tweaking, the Flying Cat Note Pads package was born and mailed to 10,392 renewal recipients in August 2010. Sent in an oversized outer envelope, this colorful mailer was impossible to ignore (see image).
"It is such a vibrant package. It's an oversized package so in the mailbox it is absolutely a piece that's going to stand out," Tripi says. "There's gold foil on it. There's this big flying cat across the back of it. It's definitely a package that's going to get noticed."
The outer also had the teaser "You matter to me," in cursive font, along with the callout to the premiums: "5 GIFTS FOR YOU by an artist who will surprise and move you."
Inside was an emotional, compelling letter, along with a calendar, bookmarks labels and note pads, all highlighting the beautiful artwork by Fountain Gallery artist Justine Hall.
"It had premiums inside that certainly had a lot of perceived value for the donor, but more than that I think the copy is very strong," Tripi says. "I think it clearly explains what it is Fountain House is doing and why the donors' support is important."
As you would expect, the campaign resonated well with donors and had excellent results. Overall, it generated $30,539 for the organization at just 26 cents to raise a dollar, with an 8.8 percent response rate and $33.41 average gift. Further, it was mailed in conjunction as an acquisition test sent against the control, and it is now the control package for the acquisition program as well.
"It's a very natural tie-in to bring this artwork from Fountain House member artists into our direct-mail program. It's a wonderful way to capture the attention of the donor or the prospect, and then it's a great entrée into talking about our other programs as well," Tripi says.
"That's why it worked in the mail, because it grabs your attention, and I think that's part of the reason that it won Package of the Year," she adds. "Capturing people's attention is a big part of success in the mail."