Personalizing a mail piece comes with expense. You are about to see the motherlode.
Gracing the letter with the reader’s name is one thing, but it’s quite another to match that to the envelope. For the fully committed direct marketer, there are personalization payoffs, and Father Flanagan’s Boystown shows us how.
Just before Christmas we received a 9 x 12 envelope from Boystown announcing their 2015 appeal. The donor acquisition kit weighs about a third of a pound, which is huge. The outer envelope calls out, by name, that FREE Special Edition Gifts are enclosed.
“Free Gifts” is right. They send three calendars: a 24-page hanger for the wall, a 36-page purse calendar booklet, and an 8-1/4 x 10-3/4 calendar card.
The whole collection is covered in Sam Timm nostalgia art: winter ponds, chimneyed log cabins, old trucks, old boats, old canoes and birds…. enough birds to awaken Alfred Hitchcock one last time.
But the overwhelming effect comes from the personalization. Father Flanagan has managed to personalize 8 pieces in this whopper kit: the envelope, the letter, the reply form, the reply envelope, two sets of very nice address labels, a certificate and a calendar card.
Over the top maybe?
Not really. Remember, good direct mail is designed to be indispensable. It is extremely difficult to throw out a kit when your name is woven into its making so admirably. The proof: this is a control package, or very similar to past controls. So it is working.
What’s the math that supports this?
The kit itself probably cost around $1.80. Postage for a 6-ounce Flat at non profit rates is actually a bargain, add another 30-cents. Total cost in the mail, probably $2.25 after adding list and processing. This is a guess, only, having not spoken directly with Boystown.
Now, the hard part: getting paid. Assume the average gift is $15. To break even, we need a 15.0% response. ($2.25 divided by $15.00 = 15.0%)
And the really hard part: they probably won’t get 15.0% response. More likely, they might achieve 8-10%. Let’s say 10%. So given that, every response came at a cost of $22.50 ($2.25 divided by 10% = $22.50).
Is a new donor worth $22.50? The answer is, “yes”!
By Father Flanagan’s 2012 financial report, they derived nearly $5 for every dollar spent in fundraising. A very acceptable payback according to industry standards. By the numbers above, the new donor will continue to give over time, well in excess of $113.00.
Again, this analysis is my perspective only, but a donor will continue to give to a worthy cause, especially one as well branded as Boystown. And not only will they give today, but some will most assuredly make bequests after passing to keep the institution providing its valuable service.
So personalization plays a big part in winning support, and the savvy marketers at Boystown have done their jobs well in making it pay for their cause.
Thanks for hanging in to read all those numbers! FYI, Boystown provided nearly $192 million in services in 2012, and in 2013, served 122,000 children and families across America.