PURLs: A Fresh Tactic for Hard-Pressed Nonprofits
PURLs move donors
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy used PURLs when it embarked on a trek to match donations from a six-figure gift.
Royce Gibson, director of marketing and development, explains that ATC’s solution was a cross-media year-end campaign that was launched when several related stories appeared in its bimonthly magazine. A few days after magazine publication, members received a direct-mail appeal that incorporated a link to a personalized landing page.
The first mail drop garnered a 3.95 percent response rate and $313,000 in revenue. The second mail drop brought another 3 percent response rate and $87,500 more.
Both the PURLs and a special microsite were part of the donation effort. Embedded in the microsite was a flash movie where donors could watch an image of a small hiker move up a trail when they made their donation. The image helped donors actually see that their donations were making a difference.
“Typically ATC campaigns do not come close to receiving a 4 percent response rate,” Gibson says. “The challenge that ATC promoted was new and intriguing for donors, and created a lot of buzz.”
PURLs today are a response vehicle that can take a nonprofit far. In fact, with a stable database like that inherent in associations and fundraising organizations, nonprofit marketers might want to consider setting up a PURL for each member or donor — a personal mini Web page to deliver regular communications or updates as events unfold.
Six crafty ways for a nonprofit to use a PURL
- Make it simple to reply online by prefilling all contact information.
- Promote the best event, class or conference for each recipient based on past behavior.
- Let PURL visitors expand your campaign’s reach by sending new PURL links to friends or colleagues.
- Vary your offer or gift string based on an individual’s history with your organization.
- Collect Web browsing behavior or survey information on individuals that can be used to drive one-to-one messaging.
- Reach out with a phone call, e-mail or mailing to PURL visitors who did not commit to action.
Cindy Kilgore is manager of creative development at EU Services. This article originally appeared in the July issue of AdVents, the monthly newsletter of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington, D.C.