American Leprosy Missions’ Award-Winning Direct Mail Appeal Replaced Lapsed Grant Funding
In February of 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the American Leprosy Missions was focused on another vaccine — LepVax, the cure for leprosy. (Yes, this horrible disease is still around.)
Its partner in the fight for a cure since 2017, Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), was suddenly unable to provide research grants from federal and private sources, leaving the cure for this ancient disease in jeopardy.
Since its founding in 1906, American Leprosy Missions has been battling this disease and similarly neglected tropical diseases, but this nonprofit is so much more than its namesake. The organization works to cure individuals suffering from leprosy and related neglected tropical diseases, to care for them — both physically and spiritually — and to eliminate the disease itself, along with the stigma and shame surrounding its effects. American Leprosy Missions knew it was imperative to overcome this setback, and The Lukens Company knew just how to help.
With the understanding that the Infectious Disease Research Institute was stopping the progress of early research, American Leprosy Missions created a direct mail piece that would target donors with a higher giving propensity. To stand out amongst the clutter of the recipients’ mailboxes, they targeted a hand-picked audience of 250 mid-major donors, sending each donor a striking package in a large, padded envelope that included a label with an urgent teaser and a large, red “Fragile” sticker. Inside was a high-quality, compelling video with voice-to-camera messaging from the president/CEO and footage straight from the field to enhance the donor experience. Automatically, the recipient was teleported from their location, to see the devastating side effects of leprosy in India and Nepal firsthand. The recipient was further encouraged to give by the matching gift offer that would increase their ultimate donation amount.
The leprosy vaccine appeal garnered a phenomenal 18.4% response rate with a net of $1,740 per donor — proving that the use of a high-impact technique correctly targeted can have a tremendous effect on an organization’s ability to drive its programs forward. With the revenue generated from this piece — and its match — LepVax research to find the cure for leprosy was able to continue.
Congratulations to The Lukens Company, who earned a GOLD MAXI, as well as the 2021 BIG IDEA Award, at Music Night at the MAXIs, held Sept. 23, 2021.
You can be a MAXI winner too! Check the DMAW website for information on the 2022 MAXI Awards. Deadline for this year’s entries is Feb. 28. Not up to speed, sign up for a “How to Enter” free webinar on Feb. 2.
Editor’s Note: NonProfit PRO is a DMAW marketing opportunity partner.