What’s the Big Deal?
The package that arrived on Feb. 11 is another Big Deal package. A 6-inch-by-9-inch outer with a color illustration and a “2008 Membership Renewal!” teaser, the carrier has the added bonus of an oval, metallic gold piggy-back label printed with “2008 Member.”
Inside is a collection of note cards and coordinating address labels and envelope seals. And the matching envelopes are not plain white, but rather are tinted the color of orange sherbet.
Attached to the letter are two tipped-on paper membership cards, one personalized in my name and a second lasered “The Seville Family” for the 2008 Family Member to whom I will pass it along. A series of four steps directs me to remove the cards, put the gold sticker from the outer on my card as shown, check “YES” on the Membership Renewal Acceptance Form and send an “extra special, generous 2008 Family Membership Renewal Gift.”
Wrap it up!
On Feb. 22, the Winter 2008 issue of the organization’s quarterly magazine arrived in an impossible-to-miss wrap. Printed in bold red and black, the front of the wrap shouts “YOUR MEMBERSHIP IS EXPIRING” and directs me to the renewal form bound inside the issue. On the back, another giant red box sounds the alarm: “DON’T LET THIS BE YOUR LAST ISSUE.”
There is nothing subtle about it, and kudos to this and every nonprofit able to integrate membership and communications programs so successfully, given that newsletters and magazines often are controlled by different departments.
By surrounding Big Deal packages with much cheaper pre- and post-mailings, and building on the renewal messaging with each successive campaign, organizations like this one can maximize income while holding the line on the overall cost of raising funds.
So what’s the catch?
On Dec. 31, 2007, I mailed this organization a check for $50, and the funds were withdrawn from my account on Jan. 7. I have yet to have my gift acknowledged, months later. I would say it’s an aberration, except that on Dec. 30, 2006, I mailed it a check for $50, and the check cleared on Jan. 4, 2007. The organization never thanked me for that gift, either.