The 10th Annual Gold Awards for Fundraising Excellence
Direct Mail Acquisition Annual Operating Budget Under $10 Million
October 2014 Acquisition Appeal
Submitted by DMW Fundraising
Response Rate: 0.97 percent
Total Cost: $29,854
Income Generated: $14,098
Average Gift: $30.78
Cost to Raise a Dollar: $2.12
Cost to Acquire a Donor: $65.18
Why It Won
In October 2014, Chimp Haven, a chimpanzee sanctuary based in Keithville, La., was gearing up for a direct mail acquisition appeal. This, by itself, is not particularly extraordinary, but there was a catch—the organization had never before attempted such a campaign. And as such, there were added challenges. “Given that there was no list history for acquisition, we had to carefully develop a list strategy that made the most sense and would kick off a base for acquiring direct-response donors,” said Bryan Terpstra, vice president of fundraising for DMW Fundraising, who designed the campaign.
No matter. Once its list strategy was in place, the agency put together a two-sided direct-mail piece focusing on Ned, one of the sanctuary’s newest chimps, and explaining the organization’s mission. The piece included detailed background information on the sanctuary and its operating costs, a clear ask, a compelling story, prominent branding and a large photo of Ned. And it was packaged in a window envelope with a full-color image of the sanctuary.
It was a clean, straightforward mailing. And it was a success. Sent to 47,104 recipients, the campaign yielded a response rate of 0.972 percent—90 percent higher than its projected 0.50 percent rate. Strong numbers for any acquisition mailing, and even better for a first-time acquisition effort.