Case Study: Ask and Receive
The package includes a No. 6¾ closed-face return envelope. The return envelope is preaddressed to Maryland Food Bank in handwriting and bears a return label with the donor’s name and address.
These two pieces are mailed in a closed-face, baronial carrier envelope with First Class postage. The outer envelope does not include a return address; the donor’s name, address, city, state and ZIP code are handwritten on the outside.
The new-donor, second-gift mailing is sent to any first-time donor who has made a donation of $5 or more. The number of mailings per month, as well as the number of pieces mailed, varies with seasonal fluctuations in new-donor acquisition. During peak periods, Rohrbach estimates, there are several thousand pieces per month, sent via two monthly mailings.
Because such quantities are relatively small, statistically speaking, segmentation among new donors to deliver even more customized packages is prohibitive.
“We do the same package for everybody, but the gift amount is individualized … based on the amount that donor first gave,” Rohrbach says.
A level of sophistication
The new-donor, second-gift mailing includes a number of personal touches: the size of the envelope, which is similar to that of an invitation or greeting card; the use of First Class postage; and the use of handwritten addresses and inscriptions.
Robbins Account Supervisor Casie Craycraft believes these elements help the new-donor, second-gift mailing stand out from the typical mailbox clutter.
“It took me quite a while to get used to receiving these packages in the mail,” she says. “I honestly thought someone I knew was sending me a note.”
The use of handwriting does increase the cost of the package, Craycraft adds. The mailing costs 31 percent more than a regular appeal. But for Maryland Food Bank, the results justify the means.
“From a fundraising standpoint, there’s a level of sophistication that we continually aspire to so that all of our activities give us a greater yield,” Flateman says. She adds that this sophistication has helped the organization achieve an average gift size across all donors of $80.