Package of the Year [and Gold winner, Direct Mail]: World Vision U.S.
Back to School Bounceback "Flight"
Submitted by Russ Reid
✔ The Numbers
Response rate: 24 percent
Total cost: $410,000
Income generated: $3,084,047
Average gift: $24.48
What can we say? Some packages just take off, making response rates soar and flying higher than even their creators could imagine. In most cases, those sky-high accolades are just metaphorical.
Not so with our 2011 Package of the Year. This sustainer/upgrade effort from Russ Reid on behalf of World Vision U.S. is engaging, colorful and just plain fun. Plus, it looks deceptively simple: Birds, planes, kites and other flying things float across the colorful outer envelope, practically begging the recipient to open it. The banner at the bottom that says, "Inside: A cool paper airplane for sponsored children," doesn't hurt either. Inside, the letter and reply device are moving and concise … and then you see it — a thick trifold on glossy, heavy stock with fun facts about birds, butterflies and flying machines on back of a happy-looking paper airplane cutout that is meant to be signed and sent to the recipient's sponsored child along with a handwritten note from the donor. In an amazing display of personalization, assembly and other instructions appear in both the donor's and child's native languages.
But looks really can be deceiving. According to Tamara Wolf of Russ Reid, sending out a "paper" airplane in a direct-mail package was no easy task — mainly because paper airplanes need extra weight (in the form of an additional plastic component or even a simple paper clip) in the nose to actually fly. We all know what extra weight can do to costs. To remedy that conundrum, the cutout parts for the plane include extra punch-out strips that are folded to add the extra weight for the plane without adding much extra weight in the package. Pretty clever.
The goal of the package, mailed as a back-to-school effort, is to inspire donors to give more and engage with their sponsored children to encourage them to get excited about learning. Gold Awards judge Paul Bobnak called the package "well-executed from start to finish." He added, "This mailing is powerful because it inspires both child and donor."
— Margaret Battistelli Gardner, editor-in-chief of FundRaising Success
Related story: Going for the Gold