FYI Blog

The Bottom Line: Find Your Workhorse Package

These case studies are solid examples of the workhorse package that continues to perform year after year.


First up: the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).


Objective: Avalon reignited a discontinued package that was popular with members, acknowledged their commitment — and provided a compelling vehicle to raise additional revenue for the Museum.

Strategy and Audience: The Museum’s mission was illustrated in vibrant colors through the array of world-class photos from the Museum’s collection and displayed in a unique calendar. This calendar reflected the broad variety of the Museum’s artifacts, which were truly meaningful to the greater membership and was considered a thoughtful keepsake.


The package’s 9 x 12 size stood out in the mail, and the four-color calendar premium was artfully designed. The two-page letter was refreshed every year, highlighting new Museum exhibitions and projects to entice members to continue their support. The Calendar Appeal was mailed to general members (HPC $15-$1,000) from 0-24 months and the Wellspring Society (sustainers).


Results: This stand-out package has seen continued success since Avalon re-launched it in 2010. The response rate increased each year – 3.98% in 2010, 4.40% in 2011, and 4.49% in 2012 – and is the highest response rate for all NMAI appeals in each respective year. The gross/thousand also increased from $1,579 in 2011 to $1,583 in 2013. The reach of the calendar device was broadened to strengthen renewals as a popular online engagement device. The four-email series, sent in the spring in advance of the calendar mail date, has proven tremendously successful.


Next up: the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights (RCRC)


Objective: Avalon created a strong appeal that brought in more revenue earlier in RCRC’s fiscal year, while increasing performance and keeping costs in check.

Strategy and Audience: Beginning in 2010, we designed an Action Plan appeal that highlighted the organizational goals for the year, and outlined RCRC’s plan of attack. All current RCRC members, plus one-year lapsed members were mailed.


The creative strategy of the letter was to focus on what made people join RCRC in the first place: its political and legislative agendas. By laying out the definitive strategic plan for the year, RCRC’s support has continued to increase year after year.


Results: The 2010 campaign improved over the 2009 campaign response by 40%. The net/thousand also increased by 60% over 2009. This strong campaign has continued to receive over a 7% response rate for the past three years. And, year after year, this hard-hitting appeal remains effective, with our highest average gift and net/thousand coming in 2012.