The Trustees, a Massachusetts land conservation organization, operates a range of properties across the state, from gardens and beaches to historic homes and museums. Membership perks include free or reduced property admission, discounts on parking and campgrounds, and more.
Its annual online membership month campaign had been a top producer for many years, targeting members, lapsed members, donors, and acquisition files alike.
The campaign was typically slated for May to engage new and current members ahead of its properties’ busy summer season. But with the properties closed March-May 2020 due to the pandemic, we worried the May timing would not be very impactful.
So, we moved the campaign to late June, which allowed time for some of the properties to start opening.
And, instead of targeting nonmembers, lapsed members, and active members alike with one lump-sum goal and the traditional “join/renew/give” quick changes, we altered the goal itself slightly for each audience:
We also incorporated a lightbox, which was live on The Trustees website for the duration of the campaign and included GOAL #1 (welcoming 1,000 new members) and the June 30 deadline.
We targeted each segment with a direct and precise goal that highlighted how their individual gift would make a difference. Meanwhile, the messaging for the campaign was in constant flux as new information about property openings became available.
We also took stock of the kinds of techniques we’d relied on in the past to create urgency (countdown clocks, thermometer-like progress meters, and “last chance” language) as they just felt tone-deaf in the pandemic environment.
The 2020 membership month campaign generated 347% more revenue over the 2019 campaign and 656% over 2018’s.
The full campaign garnered 2,506 gifts with a 0.74% response rate
The emails brought in roughly $50,000 in revenue, but the biggest lift to the campaign came from the lightbox, which generated $170,739 over the 27 days it was live – more than $6,300 per day of passive revenue!
The campaign hit at the perfect time for The Trustees’ audience. In June 2020, when people were looking for ways to safely explore outdoors, Trustees properties were open (with new timed ticketing and other COVID-19 regulations in place), helping to drive an influx of new members.
When people landed on The Trustees website for more information, the lightbox was right there waiting for them with a clear and direct goal and path to membership.
The adjustments to timing, messaging, and techniques allowed what The Trustees’ properties have to offer – solace, nature, outdoor fun – to shine through in a time when people were in search of those very things.