The Little Mailing That Did
The response rate for the mailing was 2.62 percent, surpassing VFB’s goal by 31 percent. The average gift also was greater than the goal, exceeding it by $10.47, at $35.47. VFB continues to experience great results with the mailing. It used the mini note-card format in its Thanksgiving acquisition campaign in October 2005 and had a response rate of 2.87 percent and an average gift of $40.
Kent Rohrbach, senior account director for L.W. Robbins Associates, credits good list selection for much of the mailing’s success. Mailing only direct-mail responsive individuals is key. The timing of the mailing’s message also helped response.
“If there’s any time of the year when donors and prospects alike are going to respond to the issue of hunger, it’s during that Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah time period,” he says.
The mailing’s holiday-card style is a familiar sight at that time of the year as well. Flateman agrees, crediting the campaign’s design with the high response, increased frequency of giving among donors and more than doubling the amount of new donors in just one year.
The mailing’s localization to the town in which the prospect resides also pushes response. Localizing mailings depends on the degree of specific information that each client organization can provide. The only difficulty with localizing across the board is if the prospect lives in a wealthy area. In that case, Rohrbach says, donors might be less inclined to believe that hungry people exist there. To get around this, L.W. Robbins works with clients to determine the degree to which the mailings should be localized: town, county, state, etc. In other cases, an organization might not have a program in every community of the city or state that it serves, so mailings are localized to the nearest program.