Sparking Ideas

Recognition For Your Passion

No matter what industry you work in, it is always gratifying to be recognized by your peers for your hard work and accomplishments. It is even more gratifying when that recognition is for something you are passionate about.

For the past three years, my team and I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). We have enjoyed playing our small but integral role as integrated marketing partners, by helping the museum achieve their fundraising and membership goals.

Recently, The Lukens Company (TLC) was awarded two Fundraising Excellence Awards from FundRaising Success Magazine. The first was a Silver Award for our work with AIC on the 2013 Cyber Monday campaign. This generated 1,053 memberships and $87,824 in gross revenue in just one day – almost four times the revenue than the year before! The second was a Bronze Award for the 2013 Year-End Appeal that resulted in $158,895 in gross revenue. By utilizing a multi-channel campaign, we reduced the cost to raise a dollar by 15 cents compared to the previous year-end campaign. 

It is hard to put into words how proud I am of our team for their hard work. I see the passion and effort they put into helping AIC achieve their goals on a daily basis. The fact that they have been recognized by a group of their peers for this is truly humbling. From copywriting to mail production, graphic design to web development, digital advertising, data, analytics, and account management; we couldn't have had a better team working together. And, I’m excited that they received the recognition they deserve! 

All the best, 

Marie Kosanovich | Account Director

New USPS Savings Opportunity

The USPS recently announced a new “Earned Value Reply Mail” promotion that will run this spring, offering nonprofits and businesses a $.02 per piece savings on reply envelopes mailed between April 1 – June 30, 2013.

Here’s how it works:

1. Any time now until March 31, register your organization’s Mailer ID (MID) – that’s the permit number that can be found on your reply mail piece. Your TLC account manager would be happy to take care of this for you, just let him/her know you’re interested!

2. Any reply envelopes with Intelligent Mail Barcodes that are mailed using your organization’s Mailer ID between April 1 – June 30, 2013 will receive a $.02 credit. The credit can be redeemed for postage credit on future mailings of First-Class Mail Presort and Automation letters and cards and Standard Mail letters.

That’s it!

Timing of this promotion is perfect for those end of fiscal year responses that will roll in later this spring, so make sure to register for the promotion before March 31. And if you have any questions or want further clarification, feel free to contact your TLC account manager or Angela Struebing, VP, Client Services.

Planning for the Lingering Effects of Sandy

Our thoughts have been with our friends in the Northeast this past week. As residents begin to clean up and try to return to normalcy, TLC’s account and production teams have compiled some advice and suggested action items for all of our clients. Regardless of your organization’s mission and location, every fundraiser is affected by this storm, which comes at the start of the ever-important end of year season.

  • By now account teams have connected with clients who have been most effected by Sandy to work out pressing questions on the timing and messaging of upcoming communication. Our best advice is to be flexible as each situation is different. In some cases, we have found that holding mailing if the message isn’t timely is our best course of action and in others we have had to make major changes in copy before mailing.
  • Regarding copy, it’s important that language be sensitive to those who may be dealing with damaging effects of this storm.
  • If you need help determining which zip codes have been significantly impacted, please contact your account managers for advice as we’ve been updating our own lists based on USPS alerts and other news sources.
  • For clients who recently dropped mail in the effected areas, obviously we can expect delays in delivery as many there are widespread closures and power outages within the USPS. We’re advising clients to expect some short-term decline in results.
  • For organizations in the hardest hit areas, we suggest reaching out to your best donors just to check in. They’ll appreciate a personal connection – without an ask for their support.

We encourage clients to contact their account team with any questions or concerns about how to reexamine plans. We know that our clients in the New York and New Jersey areas have a long recovery road ahead, and we are here for each of you. 

The Lukens Company Takes Home Two MAXI Awards!

The Lukens Company received two MAXI awards at last week’s DMAW Bridge Conference at the Gaylord National Hotel. The Direct Marketing Association of Washington’s awards program honors outstanding achievements in the field of direct marketing and TLC is proud to have accepted many MAXIs over the years. Congratulations to the many team members who helped produce these two successful campaigns!

Silver Award – 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Special Appeals – Anniversary Tube Mailing

2011 marked not only the 10th Anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, but also the opening of the Memorial. With these circumstances in mind, the organization needed to develop an anniversary package with distinction.

In order to do this, TLC developed a tube package that contained a letter, reply, return envelope and 10 ½’ waver American Flag as a front end premium. The 13’ brown craft tube was large enough to draw attention in the mail, but small enough to fit in the average New York City mailbox. The copy reminded supporters to “Always Remember…Never Forget” what happened a decade earlier and thanked them for their generous and continuous contributions to the 9/11 Memorial. It also encouraged them to “proudly display the enclosed American Flag” and to give generously, not only in honor of the 10th Anniversary, but in order to open the 2nd portion of this momentous project – the 9/11 Museum. Donors who were able to make a contribution of $100 or more received a full-size 2’ x 3’ embroidered Commemorative American Flag that was “Made in the USA” as a special back end premium in honor of the role they played in building the Memorial. The package was mailed to a segment of the organization’s house file – the remainder received the #10 SLW statement package with the same back end premium offer.

The 10th Anniversary Tube Mailing response rate was more than double of the statement package and the average gift was the highest of any package mailed to date for the 9/11 Memorial.

Bronze Award – Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation

Special Appeals – Inline Poster Mailing

The Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial opened to the public in August 2011. In October 2011, a special post-dedication appeal was planned to remind donors that, even though the Memorial was open to the public, there was still over $3 million to be raised.

After the dedication ceremony scheduled for August 28 was postponed when Hurricane Irene threatened the Washington, D.C. area, many supporters could not make a second trip to attend the rescheduled dedication on October 16. This package mailed in early October, just before the rescheduled dedication.  The Foundation heard from many of their loyal supporters – a significant number of whom are an older demographic – that they would not be able to attend the dedication.  The Foundation wanted to honor the loyal support of their Founding Members with a front end premium poster of the Memorial, which was incorporated into this inline package. 

Enclosed was a letter from the Foundation’s President and CEO thanking members for their support and offering one of three commemorative back end premiums – a watercolor print of the completed Memorial, Stone of Hope miniature replica of the Memorial, or a full-color coffee table book showing the history of the Memorial.

The campaign was the highest grossing mailing for the Foundation post-opening of the Memorial!

TLC Pulse / 03.14.12

  • wrote a great article last week about how direct mail is “alive and kicking”. Among the reasons listed is that consumer surveys show that physical media – pieces that the consumer can physically interact with – leaves a deeper imprint on the brain, thereby increasing ROI.
  • The USPS revised its restructuring plan recently so that $20 billion in annual costs will be cut by 2015 and another $2 billion the following year. Among the cuts proposed that Congress will need to approve is an increase in First-Class stamps to 50 cents.
  • Tickets to see the new home of the Barnes Foundation go on sale tomorrow, amid news that membership has increased from 390 in March 2009 to 15,000 today.
  • The 340 ton rock destined to be turned into artwork, “Levitated Mass”, arrived at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Saturday!

TLC Pulse / 01.09.12

  • Direct Marketing IQ shared 12 tests for lifting direct mail responses fast. One that might sound surprising? Remove your brochure (or other insert). It’s true; sometimes you can overwhelm your constituents with too much information and you’ll get better results by scaling back.
  • Chronicle of Philanthropy wrote a growing trend in engaging donors and telling your organization’s story – infographics! Has your organization tried sharing data in this format?
  • Nonprofit Quarterly commented last week on perhaps the most talked about end-of-year campaign in 2011 – Wikipedia’s distinctive banner ads helped the nonprofit raise $20 million from one millions donors. The banner ads were simple with just a personal appeal and photo of the appeal author. 

How USPS Changes Will Affect Your Program

Headlines on the USPS’s debt and impending changes in service are downright gloomy. We know that many clients are trying to sort out fact from fiction while also determining how their organization’s programs will be affected by the changes, so we hope the memo below will help inform you.

Rate Increases for 2012

It’s no surprise that postal rates will increase in 2012. First-class mail rates will increase by one cent to 45 cents beginning January 22 and postcards will jump from 29 cents to 32 cents. The good news is that nonprofit rates will largely decrease by about 1.3% for mailers who utilize advanced presorting options. Another silver lining? First-class presort is now available for mail weighing up to 1.9 ounces (as opposed to only one ounce). This allows for additional inserts to your package at no additional cost!

Changes in Delivery

The big news last week was that next-day delivery for first-class mail will be eliminated beginning in January. Due to the closure of more than 250 processing centers, the USPS says that mail delivery will increase by two or three days. Although changes in nonprofit mail delivery time were not mentioned specifically, one would assume that the usual delivery time will likely slow down as a result, potentially inching closer to the three week delivery guarantee.

Thankfully, the USPS has yet to announce a move to a five-day delivery schedule, although this could be a potential next step for the USPS, which needs to cut $20 billion from the budget before 2015 in order to remain profitable. The day most likely to be cut would be Saturday.

The Bottom Line

• Your plan of action should not be to mail less, but rather to mail smarter!
• Rate increases mean that more than ever your mailing lists must be updated and clean. We have a number of data hygiene programs that can be run in addition to our normal data processing.
• Due to new delays in delivery time, you should plan further ahead for mailings – your account manager will help meet your target in-home date.
• Utilize the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) to carefully track your mail through the USPS. This will allow you to time email or phone follow-ups appropriately.
• And of course a true integrated multi-channel approach is critical to the success of your direct mail program. We’ve had a lot of success in reaching new audiences online and have found that our clients who advertise online garner a better response in direct mail when coordinated.

For further questions or concerns about the potential impact USPS changes will have on your program, please contact your account manager or Angela Struebing, VP Clients Services at