Insert Success Story Here
Really just a leap of faith
For the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a Belleville, Ill.-based religious charity serving the poor and needy, finding a good fit was as easy as paging through a Catholic periodical.
Since the mid 1990s, Oblates has placed free-standing inserts through Valassis and Media Alternatives in various Catholic publications and newspapers to add new names to its donor base and reduce premium inventory.
“We use FSI advertising to reach a broader audience that may not be found on traditional mailing lists and to complement our direct-mail acquisition program,” says Allison Hewitt, marketing manager. “As we traditionally need less [premium] inventory to respond to an advertisement, we are able to use leftover premiums on successful campaigns, where appropriate, to help with inventory issues, but the primary focus of the [FSI] program is obtaining new names, so we only use premiums that were found to be successful.”
With a business model structured around back-end premium offerings, Oblates is not as concerned with converting premium-centric donors into straight donors as other organizations might be.
For each FSI, Oblates talks in brief about its mission, presents a picture and copy describing the free gift offer, as well as highlights a designated Web site URL and 800 number. Typical response rates range from 7 percent to 8 percent, and the average gift is roughly $16.
“Overall, our [FSI] advertising program is turning a profit with long-term donor value faster than our traditional mailings, which also include back-end premiums,” Hewitt says. “As these donors tend to not traditionally be on most mailing lists, they may be not inundated with mail and therefore might not have hit their saturation points from fundraisers.”
Hewitt is quick to point out that this medium does not traditionally work well for Oblates with strictly a mission message. “FSIs can be very product driven,” she says, “which for many organizations is a negative thing.”