Sometimes donors need a hard ask and a soft touch.
Toys for Tots is an official activity of the U.S. Marine Corps, whose sole purpose is to provide toys to children who otherwise would not receive a present at Christmas. Historically, due to a mandatory quiet period after Christmas, Toys for Tots did not resume development efforts until the spring. This has restricted its ability to steward and acknowledge new and existing donors at year-end when a majority of donations come in for the year. As a result, retention rates have been declining over the past three years. That makes end-of-year mailings critical to the organization.
Its year-end control mailing is an urgent appeal that stresses the importance of making one final donation; a highly cost effective No. 10 package. Clearly, the organization needed to create a new strategy that would express its gratitude to donors and produce donations while increasing response rates for the final mailing of the year.
So, Toys for Tots added a thank-you card appeal to its test December mailing. While the control was a simple and inexpensive No. 10 window package with an urgent appeal, the thank-you card — which doubled as a Christmas card — was an invitation-sized, highly personalized, colorful mailing adorned by an adorable little Marine bear, along with heartfelt thanks for past support and a very soft ask.
In a head-to-head test, the thank-you card package increased response rates by 25% and, as a result, gross revenues improved by 17% and net revenues increased by 14%. Plus, the soft ask allowed Toys for Tots to renew and retain 25% more donors! Congratulations to CDR Fundraising Group for helping Toys for Tots to provide a Merry Christmas for thousands of children.
Want to learn about all the 2021 MAXI winners? Check out the DMAW website for the list of winners and the 2021 MAXI Program Book. Also available for a limited time is a link to view the presentation of Music Night at the 2021 MAXI Awards, a fun hour celebrating this year’s winners, held on Thursday, Sept. 23.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the September/October 2021 print edition of NonProfit PRO as "CDR Fundraising Group Wins a Gold MAXI With 'Toys for Tots Just Say Thank You Campaign' at 2020 MAXI Awards." Click here to subscribe.