Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Great Mid Value Mail Pack Explained

I asked Ruthann Richardson of Pareto Fundraising to tell us about a Great Mid Value Pack.

My favourite mid value pack
Looking at the current landscape of fundraising, I can’t help but think that the biggest opportunity for us, as fundraisers today, lies in bequests and major gifts. 

As someone who professionally focuses primarily on direct mail, I believe there is a lot of opportunity for us in both of these areas, and furthermore I think as a sector, we can really improve our communication with mid value donors.

These are not your hundred-thousand-dollar-donors, at least not yet, but still, they are people who give generous amounts of money to your organisation. 

The giving values for this group may vary by organisation, but these people are recent donors, who have given on more than one occasion, and who most likely give you $250-$10,000 or more in a year. They are all in your top 20% of donors from which you will likely raise 80% of your appeals income.

I looked at mid value packs from Australia, New Zealand and North America to try and identify my favourite mid-value pack.  It was really hard to make a choice. 

But my favourite pack has to be a mid-value pack that World Vision Australia sent as part of their Australia Programs Appeal in 2014. I love this pack. 

I love the inspirational story of an Aboriginal woman who, because of World Vision donors, received her teaching certificate and is helping to create a better future for her community. I love the images of children in pre-school, learning in English and in their local language. 

And I love the real life materials included, like the book World Vision is using to educate families on traditional and modern ways of looking after their babies to give them the best chance at survival. 

Then there is the map of the different Aboriginal language groups across Australia and the Program Report.  The latter was photocopied and included in the pack to provide information on the work that World Vision is doing in the Warlpiri region.

The pack also included a ‘with compliments slip’ and a DVD with a message from Tim Costello the CEO.  A special, beautiful sheet of address labels and stickers featuring imagery from central Australia was added in as well.

But to my mind, what really makes this pack special and a stand as a mid-value pack, is the professional way it is packaged and presented to me a donor.  I have been a donor to World Vision in various countries for over 15  years. 

All of these inserts, including a five-page letter with a covering page, are included in a beautiful brown folder.  The folder has an opening showing my name through a little window.
All were sent to me in a C4 outer in quality stock. 

The covering page indicates, in large letters, that this is a special report – prepared especially for me – and I have to tell you – as a donor – I felt special just opening that pack. 

Tim told me, in that very first page, that he needs to raise $710,000 for ground breaking projects that are crucial to the future of young Australian Indigenous children. He states that the following letter will tell me more about these projects and why it is so important that they are able to continue. And he tells me that he has chosen to send this report only to a small, select group of World Vision Supporters INCLUDING me, and explains to me why…

Firstly, because the contents are confronting because they challenge widely-held beliefs about Indigenous Australians and the disadvantages they face.  And secondly, because he believes I have the courage to respond in a way that many people do not. And it makes me feel like I do.

This pack is impossible to ignore in your letterbox.  And you cannot help but open to the first simple, and effective covering page.  This is a personal invitation to walk alongside Indigenous Australians who are making powerful, positive change in their communities. 

As a recipient I felt inspired, honoured and incredibly important because of the belief that World Vision has in me.

Because I was fortunate enough to have worked on this pack, I know that the mid-value segment exceeded expectations, and I can’t help but believe that the special care and attention, and the additional inserts included in this pack contributed to the exception result from our mid-value donors.  

This pack was designed specifically for them, and presented a solid case for why the donors support was so essential to the success of these programs and the incredible work World Vision is doing with Indigenous communities in Australia.

Ruthann Richardson has worked in fundraising for many years, including working with World Vision in Canada and Australia.  She now works in Sydney, Australia with Pareto Fundraising. She remains a dedicated World Vision supporter.  And she occasionally blogs too.


Anonymous said...

It sounds clever and beautiful, but expensive. What did this package cost to produce, and how much revenue did it produce?

'Sean is always learning' said...

Hi Joann
Indeed, this was a very expensive pack. I will ask Ruthann when she returns from holiday, but it is not unusual to spend $5-$10 on packs like this. It would only go to top 10-20% of donors, generating the maximum return per donor.
I will be writing more blogs, and having a webinar about this exact topic.
But bluntly:
* Most direct mail revenue comes from a minority of donors.
* Nearly always, spending more on high value packs will make you more NET income for your cause - to keep in budget, doing a better pack (or versions of packs) to fewer donors will be better to a lower quality pack to higher volume.
* See http://www.seantriner.com/2016/03/make-more-for-your-cause-with-pareto.html for a useful video explaining the maths
* Mal Warwicks book, The Mercifully Brief Guide to Raising $1000 Gifts by Mail is an awesome step by step guide. You will need to get it online, used.

Rachel Ramjattan said...

Sean, I'd love to see the packs that weren't your favorite. Looks like you had lots of great options to choose from for this post.

'Sean is always learning' said...

Hi Rachel. Indeed there were more; this was Ruthann's favourite. One of my favourites was one from Plan in Australia.
But I am hoping my new favourite is going to be the next one I work on!

Jane Holden said...

Great blog. Thanks for sharing. I love this campaign too. One of the reasons I think it was successful was that the concept and messaging was developed by Pareto and World Vision fundraising staff after listening and working with our field project team and the community members themselves. Pareto did a great job of working with us to tell strengths based stories to our supporters, inspiring them to Walk with Us. In working this way World Vision strengthened our partnership with these communities. thanks Jane, Australia Program- World Vision.

Ruthann said...

Thank you so much for your comment Jane. We absolutely loved working with you on this. You provided so much insight into the work you and your team are doing, and it really shaped the way this campaign came together. It is not just my favourite mid-value pack, but one of my favourite packs of all time. I think it shows such a beautiful and meaningful partnership between you and the communities you are walking with, and as a donor it was something I really wanted to be a part of.

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