Grand Control of the Year: The Nature Conservancy Hummingbird Membership
Hummingbird Membership Package
The latest mailing by the Nature Conservancy to reach Grand Control status (in the mail for three years or more) is a membership package, mailed in a No. 12 envelope, that has been in the mail since 2007. The front of the outer is dominated by a four-color photograph of a broad-tailed hummingbird, hovering as it sips nectar from a flower. But instead of a clever teaser, the photo is accompanied by a simple tag: "(Actual Size)." This instantly and effectively demonstrates to the prospect that the bird is tiny, even fragile. The two lines of copy below it are actually just a bit bigger than the bird itself.
The first six paragraphs of the four-page letter inside tell a story directly related to the outer. "It amazes me that a broad-tailed hummingbird can migrate over 2,000 miles … on wings that aren't quite two-and-a-half inches long each," it begins. The facts and figures presented — how many times the bird's heart beats in a minute, how quickly its wings flap — help make the case that preserving the bird's habitat along its long migration path is vital to its very survival.
From there, the organization's mission — preserving important land by buying it — is masterfully explained.
As far as incentives are concerned, there's nothing really spectacular at work. On the front end, the package includes a sheet of 20 address labels with hummingbirds or the group's logo pictured on them. On the back end, new members are sent a hummingbird tote bag and the member magazine, both standard practice for Nature Conservancy's membership acquisition.
— Paul Bobnak, director of the Who's Mailing What Archive
Related story: Going for the Gold