Given the continued success and the fact that MSPCA-Angell sees a large portion of the same donors year after year participate in the campaign, this direct-mail control — and multichannel campaign — will continue to be a staple for the animal-welfare organization.
Acquisition:League of Women Voters National Opinion Survey
To acquire news donors through the mail, you have to develop the most aesthetically pleasing package you can possibly afford, right? Wrong.
Just ask the League of Women Voters, whose current direct-mail acquisition control utilizes a simple, white outer envelope.
“We were just speaking about how boring our mail pieces are and how oftentimes we get people who want us to do four-color, fancy creative. This is the plainest, most stereotypical institutional survey, and it works,” says Rose Simmons, director of direct marketing at LWV.
That survey is LWV’s “National Opinion Survey,” which polls voters on their voting experiences and issues. For the nonpartisan political organization whose mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government through education and advocacy, the survey is a mission-appropriate device.
But, how exactly did the idea come about?
The ‘war on voters’
Since 1999, LWV had used a standard, institutionalized acquisition package that had a decent ROI. But after testing a more expressive and urgent health care reform package that went gangbusters — but was limited in use due to its reference of a specific issue — LWV was looking for something that could acquire more gifts and more new donors.
A perfect storm arose when legislators began the “war on voters” with proposed voter suppression laws. Working with direct-marketing fundraising agency Avalon Consulting Group, LWV began using the “war on voters” theme in its fundraising appeals to current supporters and donors.
“The war on voters came up, and it was very in line with the League’s core mission,” says Jamie Natelson, vice president at Avalon. “… And it was working really well with our donors, so we wanted to see if it would work as well to get new donors to join the League.”
In August 2010, LWV mailed its first test, utilizing a similar approach as the appeal to its supporters but with more calls to action to join LWV. Originally, the acquisition test included several components, including a clingy decal with the LWV logo, which it eventually tested out of because it added cost but did not affect response. The package — which currently includes a plain, white outer envelope with nothing but “NATIONAL OPINION SURVEY” and “RESPONSE DEADLINE: 10 DAYS” on it, a four-page letter, the two-page survey, two inserts, and a BRE — “just whooped the old control,” Natelson says.
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