A Timely Case Study: Museum Uses This Self-Mailer, Saves Big and Exceeds Fundraising Goals
I addressed self-mailer brochures in my last article and discussed why I think you should be using this type of mailer as an integral part of your fundraising efforts. Well, here's an example of self-mailers in action.
Remember, this all-in-one printed piece has the potential to both save you time and money, and generate fundraising responses more effectively.
My case in point is a mailer brochure project we recently did for the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in New York City.
Changing Up the Conventional Multi-Piece Mailer Appeal
Finding compelling ways to ask for donations is a critical part of a museum’s operations. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art had been mailing a donation appeal in the form of a letter and a separate return envelope.
But the museum’s director of development, Eduardo Ayala Fuentes, decided it was time to deliver a more direct and compelling message. So would that mean stuffing more material into its packet?
Just the opposite.
“We wanted to revamp the way we were communicating by making our mailed appeal both simpler and more in-your-face,” Fuentes said. “We also wanted our donation request to be easier to understand — and easier to respond to.”
“Simpler and more in-your-face.” I can’t think of a better way to describe an effective mailer brochure.
Ultimately, this unique form of donation appeal worked to perfection for the museum, allowing them to transform the letter and separate envelope format into a single succinct and compelling piece that:
- Provided details on recent achievements and a description of upcoming efforts.
- Clearly presented donation options.
- Created a refreshing change for recipients accustomed to the old format.
- Had no loose pieces to lose and included a detachable envelope for easy response.
The Results: A Better Fundraising Appeal, A Smarter Fundraising Campaign
What I really like about these fundraising campaign results is that they encapsulate an overall smarter approach.
Yes, the museum hit its fundraising goals thanks to the self-mailer brochures. But what’s really impressive is that it did this with 2,500 self-mailers — rather than the 6,000 letter-and-loose-envelope mailers it took to hit a similar response rate the year before!
This exemplifies what happens when you take the time to clean up your mailing list and create an updated, targeted collection of prospective donors.
And the museum not only saved money — 48% less than its prior campaign — but also generated a significantly larger ROI.
On top of that, it kept another 2,500 self-mailers for use as a visitor takeaway piece, a strategy that actually helped it exceed its donation goals for the year.
Here’s how Fuentes summed up the mailer project: “The fact that this was a more economical appeal mailer, and yet it still fit perfectly with our needs — that certainly has helped with the overall success of the project. It was also exponentially less effort for the staff, which is important for a lean team like ours.”
Your Next Mailer Appeal Project
As a nonprofit, you take pains in so many ways to run more cost-effectively. But you obviously also need to take steps that can help you successfully generate donations.
Don’t forget there are a lot of reliable printers out there that are actually print communications experts. If you have a trusted printer you’ve been working with for years, tap into its knowledge during these challenging times.
As for self-mailer brochures, specifically, I’m convinced they have the potential to strengthen your outreach efforts, increase your fundraising and still cut your costs. So why not discuss them with your printer?
Chris Yuhasz is president of POV Solution. Based just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, POV Solution is a community-focused printing company that helps nonprofits across the country stand out in their offline communications efforts as well as integrate them with multichannel marketing strategies.