FYI Blog

Case Study: Pivoting Post-Election

The League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWV) needed to provide donors with a post-election update as quickly as possible after Election Day 2016—regardless of the election’s outcome.

OBJECTIVE: The League of Women Voters (LWV) Education Fund’s objective was to be in the mail within days after Election Day, to brief supporters on the political landscape and the implications for our democracy after such a watershed election. The League also wanted to help their supporters pivot from a contentious election cycle and refocus on the challenges ahead in 2017 and beyond.

STRATEGY AND AUDIENCE:  Our primary strategy was urgency and, to that end, Avalon designed an urgentgram format that would impart that hot-off-the-presses feel. To achieve this sense of urgency, the carrier was printed only in black. Two versions of the letter copy—Clinton wins, Trump wins— were finalized before Election Day, so we could go into production as soon as the votes were counted. We designed the letter/reply to be duplex-lasered so we could finalize and mail all components quickly.

The letter copy thanked donors for their previous support, giving them credit for enabling the League to reach one in five people in the US prior to Election Day in 2016. This was the first presidential election since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013

To keep League donors motivated post-election, we offered a 1:1 match while making the case that political operatives seeking to limit voting rights were already working behind the scenes. Their dangerous agenda—to protect the power of big money in politics and marginalize underrepresented voters—is designed to undermine equality and democracy. The message clearly established a link between the donor’s continued support and the League’s ability to defend democracy.

The mail audience consisted of 0-36 month donors with giving ranges from $10-$999.99, with a very small universe of $1,000+ donors.

RESULTS:  The appeal mailed on Friday, November 11, 2016—just three days after the election—and was a blockbuster. Despite mailing 8,775 fewer records than budgeted, this campaign surpassed the revenue goal by 52% thanks to a strong response rate (3.70% actual vs. 3.10% budgeted) and high average gift ($76.65 actual vs. $55.01 budgeted). Several strategies combined to make this appeal such a success: its arrival in mail boxes so soon after the election; increased donor concerns echoed in the copy; the League’s impact in reaching so many people prior to Election Day; and the lure of a matching gift. Several large gifts played a significant role in the tremendous result, including two $10,000 gifts, one $2,250 gift, three $2,000 gifts, two $1,500 gifts and 18 $1,000 gifts.