Insert Success Story Here
In the for-profit world, insert media no longer is considered an “alternative” marketing channel. Program managers are seeing significant usage by mailers seeking vehicles to brand and sample their myriad products and services. But for most nonprofits, an insert is still just an alternative, a substitute, a backup.
One of the greatest challenges for charities considering insert media, according to Curt Weigel, account supervisor at Seattle-based direct-marketing agency the Domain Group, is finding enough relevant programs to accommodate a campaign’s fundraising needs.
“Statement stuffers have performed very well for many of our clients,” Weigel says. “The cost of producing and placing a self-mailer with various cable or utility invoices is inexpensive, and response rates are decent in relation to cost, often as high as 0.5 percent. The problem is that there are a limited number of opportunities for placement in certain markets.”
For Domain’s clients, statement stuffers historically have generated a higher percentage of new donors, versus responses, than other mediums such as newspaper display advertisements and free-standing inserts. Often, 70 percent of total responses will come from first-time donors.
“Generally speaking, local nonprofit organizations have achieved a greater measure of success with insert media than national charities,” Weigel affirms. “Local organizations often benefit from a greater awareness in a given market. And that doesn’t hurt, considering insert media is not typically personalized.”
Keep it fresh and local
One such organization is the Fresh Air Fund, a New York City-based charity that provides summer vacations to disadvantaged inner-city children. For the last 25 years, FAF has placed self-mailer inserts with Con Edison utility bills on the four Mondays of every May. (Con Edison provides electric and gas service in New York City and Westchester.)
With its simple, two-color process and straightforward local message, the spare, 31⁄2-inch-by-7-inch insert is relatively cheap to produce and always nets revenue, Director of Development Lori Seader says. What’s more, Con Ed donates the envelope space.